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ducing good wool, that no fine wool is any where produced but in cold climates; and that sheep, if carried to the Weft-Indies, or any other warm climate, do not produce wool, but a thin coat of a particular kind of hair, refembling that of goats.
In Spain, Perfia, and fome other warm countrics, he obferves, that from neceffity the inhabitants have been obliged to drive their flocks to the cool mountains in fummer, and down to the vallies in winter; by which means, without intending it, they have been enabled to improve the quality of their wool to the degree for which it has been long remarkable. That this in particular is the cafe with Spain, he infers from this circumftance, that there are theep in Andalufia, and fome of the fouthern provinces, which are never driven to the mountains in fummer; and that the wool of thefe is as coarfe as hair. But that the wool must be improved by this kind of migration, not only in Spain but in every other country where the fame practice prevails, he proves, in the most fatisfactory manner, by a feries of experiments and obfervations on the growth of wool, made by himself; in which he clearly demonftrates, that the thickness of every filament of wool that grows upon a fheep, is liable to be varied perpetually according to the variations in the temperature of the air at the time of its growth; that part of it which grows during warm weather being invariably coarfer than that which is produced during the cold feafon. Hence it happens that the tops of a fleece of full grown wool, or that part which the fummer produces, is always coarfer than the roots of it; or that part which grows during winter, the difference between the fineness of these parts of the fame filament being always exactly in proportion to the difference between the heat and cold of the climate, at different feafons, in the country where the sheep are kept. These facts are established beyond à poffibility of doubt, by a great variety of judicious experi
We doubt not, but this difcovery will be looked upon as a matter of curiofity by the lovers of natural hiftory, and that it will for the future be employed as one of the means of diftinguishing different claffes of animals from one another, and may befides be attended with other confequences that we do not at prefent forefee. Our Author however, does not stop to enquire into these matters, but proceeds to draw fome natural inferences from thence that cannot fail to be very agreeable to the inhabitants of Britain, because it proves that this inland enjoys a natural advantage over moft countries in Europe, with regard to the growth of wool, which must for ever give us a fuperiority over them in the woollen manufacture, if we take due pains to avail ourselves of it.
After having obferved that the worft fault in wool is that of a great inequality between the fize of the different parts of the fame filament, because it is impoffible to feparate these from one another, and if not separated, the coarse and fine parts do not unite kindly in any fort of work. A neceffary inference muft follow, viz. That those countries alone will be capable of producing wool of a fine quality, which are not only cold, upon the whole, but as uniformly fo, throughout the whole feafon as pcffible.
On this account we might expect, that the finest wool could be produced, with leaft trouble or care, upon the fides of very high mountains in the torrid zone; for as the heat in thefe latitudes is almost invariably of the fame degree throughout the whole year, if the fheep are confined at a fufficient height in the mountains, they will there experience an uniform degree of cold from one end of the year to the other, without farther trouble or care. But fmall as this degree of trouble is, it has never yet been bestowed: yet, even without this, the sheep that were carried from Spain to the Andes of America, continue to afford in fome places there, as fine, or perhaps finer wool, than that of old Spain; although they are not there an object of any concern to proprietors, except on account of their carcafe.
We would next expect to find wool of the best quality in mild uncultivated countries, where property was unfixed, and the inhabitants accustomed to an ambulatory life; as there they would always vary their habitations as the feafon required; afcending to the mountains in fummer, to enjoy the coolnefs, and fresh verdure, that these afforded, and retreating to the vallies in winter, that they may fhun the rigour of the feafon themfelves, and find abundance of food for their flocks. -Such is exactly the conduct of the inhabitants of Perfia, where the fine wool before mentioned is produced. And although the natives of Spain have for the most part fixed habitations, yet we have feen, that the sheep and their attendants follow the fame ambulatory life as in Perfia, and these sheep afford wool nearer approaching to that than any other country in Europe.
In northern climates, if property is much divided fo as to prevent thefe extenfive perambulations, little fine wool can be expected, except in fmall islands; and not even in these if they are in very high latitudes because the heat of fummer in northern countries becomes for a short time fo intenfe, as muft tend in a powerful manner to alter the quality of their wool in this refpect. It is from this caufe that the wool of the fheep in Iceland is extremely coarfe on the outfide of their fleece, while that part which adheres to their bodies is exceeding fine, as is remarked by Bufching, vol. i. p. 219. and other natural hiftorians.
For the fame reason we may expect, that the wool in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and other northern continental countries, will be ftill more fubjected to this inconvenience, unless the sheep be carefully driven to the mountains in fummer; as the heat is then in thefe Countries extremely intenfe.-Nor do we find that any fine wool has ever been produced in any of these regions.
We are as yet fo little acquainted with the internal state of Tartary, or the nature of things that are produced in it, that we have only room to conjecture what may be their fate in this refpect. But as the natives lead a wandering life, like many other Afiatic nations, and as the country is mountainous and cold for its latitude, we have reafon to think that they might produce wool of a very fine quality. I know not if you will or will not admit the following fact as tending to prove the probability of fome of the northern hordes having at prefent fine wool: but as it is curious, I doubt not but you will be pleafed to be informed of it,
When Earl Marifchal was laft in Scotland, a gentleman of my acquaintance who was on a very intimate footing with him, called on him one morning to breakfast; when he found his Lordship in his nightgown; which was lined with a kind of fur that catched the gentleman's attention. When the Earl perceived that he tock notice of the fur, he came up to him, and asked if he knew what kind of fur it was but the gentleman having told him that he had never feen any of that fort before, nor could conjecture to what animal it be. longed, his Lordship faid, that the gown had been fent to him in a pretent by his brother Marthal Keith when he was in the Ruffian fervice, who had informed him, that the fur with which it was lined was Siberian lamb fins. The gentleman was a good deal furprised at this account, and examined the fur with attention. It was, he faid, of a jetty black colour, and filky foftnefs, exceeding clote and warm; and was in his opinion the molt beautiful fur he ever beheld. I give you the story as I had it, and leave you to credit it or not as you fhall fee proper. I, for my own part, fhould not be much furprifed if fome of the Tartar hordes, who border on Siberia, and range through all the northern provinces of Afia, fhould have sheep of that fort, the fkins of which might fometimes find their way through Siberia to Ruffia.
But however this may be, it is certain, that the difference be. tween the heat of fummer and the cold in winter is far lefs confiderable in Great Britain than in any other country in Europe; which gives this ifland an undoubted fuperiority over all the neighbouring nations with regard to rearing of wool: a fuperiority of which we often vainly boaft, but in other refpects takes little heed how to improve to the utmoft: for which we are furely much to blame; as it is hardly to be doubted, that through carelefinefs the quality of our wool is gradually debafing, while that of cur neighbours, by an oppofite conduct, is as gradually improving.'
In the fucceeding letters, the Author goes on to fhew in what manner the quality of wool may be improved or debafed, independent of the influence of the climate. The chief circumftance in this attempt, he obferves, is a minute attention to the qualities of that particular variety of the animal employed to breed from. Thefe varieties, in compliance with common practice among farmers, he diftinguishes by the name of particular breeds. Thefe breeds he oblerves, in oppofition to Buffon and other naturalifts, are not cafual varieties whofe qualities may be attended by accidental circumftances, but are each of them a
diftinct and feparate race, poffeffing certain peculiar qualities in
Having thus fhewn, at great length, the improvements that may be made by a proper attention to the breed of sheep, and pointed out the difference between thefe improvements and the alterations that arife from a change of climate, it will follow that the finest wool can only be obtained in a favourable climate and from the finest breed of sheep. And as the inhabitants of every nation may, if they please, beftow an equal degree of attention to the selecting a proper breed of thefe creatures, one nation by a fuperior degree of attention to this circumstance, may render its wool better than that of another which enjoys a more favourable climate; but if they are both equally attentive to the improving their breed of theep, the advantage must be clearly in favour of the climate that is coldeft and leaft fubject to great variations. But having fhewn that Britain, in general, enjoys a climate more remarkable for thefe peculiarities than any other country in Europe, he now proves that Scotland and its ifles, are the most favourable parts of it for rearing fine wool, as the summer heats are there not only more moderate than in England, but the winter cold is likewife most intenfe: a circumftance more which fome will be difpofed to doubt, but which he clearly fhews is certainly the cafe. The natural inference from thence is that the climate of Scotland is more peculiarly favourable for producing fine wool than any other in Europe, on which account, and because it is not fo peculiarly favourable for the production of grain as many others, he warmly recommends to the gentlemen of that country an attention to the improvement of their breed of sheep, and proposes a plan by which that design may, at a very fmall expence, be effectually accomplished.
But before he ventures to advise, without referve, an attention to sheep in preference to cattle, he enquires, first whether cattle or fheep promise to be more immediately advantageous to the farmer, which he determines clearly in favour of sheep; and then he proceeds to enquire whether the country be well calculated for carrying on the woollen manufacture, at large. With a view to ascertain this question, he gives a sketch of the nature of the parish of Halifax in Yorkshire, diftinguishing those particularities which render it better adapted for the woollen manufacture than any other part of England, and which have occafioned that encreafe of its inhabitants for which it is fo juftly remarkable; after which he draws a parallel between that parish and the north highlands of Scotland, with a view to this manufacture. As we here meet with an entertaining account of a part of the country fcarcely at all known, we fhall lay it before our Readers.
• In most mountainous countries the hills rife gradually above one another to a great height as you recede from the fea, fo that the access to the internal parts of the country is every way fteep and difficult. But throughout the greater part of the North Highlands of Scotland, although the country may in ftrict propriety be called mountainous, nothing of that fort is obfervable. Like the deep feas in the bay of Biscay, or near the Cape of Good Hope, when agitated by a ftorm, although the furface, if confidered in one general view, may be called level; yet when viewed nearer, it is found to be fcooped out into immenfe cavities, or heaped up into innumerable ridges of ftupendous height, the alternate fucceffions of which fill the most daring mind with horror and affright.
Such, in fome meafure, is the fituation of thefe Highlands. It feems to be an immense plain, that has been by Nature, in fome of her wanton freaks, thrown up into large and irregular ridges of mountains, with wide and deep furrows between them, which run far backwards into the country, in a direction nearly horizontal.
Hence it happens, that although the mountains fometimes boldly advance into the fea, and with their towering tops bid defiance alike to the fury of the tempeft and the raging ocean; yet in other places thefe furrows are cut fo deep, and run in fuch a level direction, as to admit the fea to flow through them into the very heart of the country, although fkirted on every fide by hills fuddenly rearing their tops to a great height above them. These inlets are called by the Lowlanders friths or firths (fretæ) and by the inhabitants of the Highlands kiles.- But on the Weft coaft, where they are most numerous and extenfive, they have obtained the improper appellation of locks.
From thefe larger furrows there branch off many others, the bottom of which are only elevated to a small degree above the level of the fea, which run back into the more inland parts of the country; being denominated firaths; in the lowest part of which always flows a river of fome fort, with a gentle current towards the nearest frith, or arm of the fea. And at the back of the next ridge of moun