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Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland
The Agriculture of the County of Selkirk

By Alexander Macdonald, Sub-Editor, North British Agriculturist, Edinburgh.
[Premium—Twenty-Five Sovereigns.]


Selkirkshire, the most inland county in Scotland, lies between 55° 22' 20" and 50° 41' 54" N. lat., and between 2° 47' 40" and 3° 18' 46" W. long., and extends to 166,524 acres or 260 square miles—164,527 land and 1997 water. Its extreme length from the source of the Ettrick to the confluence of the Tweed and the Gala is 28 miles, and its width from Roberton Kirk to the point where Haystoun Burn leaves the county is 17½ miles. As regards size, Selkirkshire ranks twenty-sixth among the counties of Scotland, while in point of rental and population it is twenty-seventh. It is singularly irregular in form, and is bounded on the east and south-east by Roxburghshire, on the south-west by Dumfriesshire, on the west and north-west by Peeblesshire, and on the north by Mid-Lothian. Its surface is as whimsical as its outline is arbitrary and sinuous—one continuous succession of mountain, valley, and stream. Its numerous hills rise abruptly from the three lovely streams by which the county is mainly watered, roughly resembling in form the heavings of a turbulent sea. The unevenness of the surface may be further illustrated by the fact that the arable land of the county ranges in elevation from 300 to upwards of 1200 feet above sea-level, and that it embraces no fewer than 56 hills, varying in height from 744 feet in the case of Moat Hill, to 2433 feet in the case of Dun Rig. Several peaks, notably Stake Law, Blackhouse Heights, Deerlaw, Ettrick Pen, Hundleshop Heights, Birkscairn, Hermon Law, Bodesbeck Law, Capel Fell, and Wind Fell, exceed 2000 feet; while one might count on their fingers all that are under 1000 feet in height.

Of the ten parishes which constitute the county only three are wholly within its confines, viz., Kirkhope, Yarrow, and Ettrick. It contains something like eleven-twelfths of the parish of Selkirk, one-third of Galashiels, one-third of Roberton and Ashkirk parishes, scarcely so much of Stow, about one-fourth of Innerleithen, and a small corner comprising a moderate-sized grazing farm of the parish of Peebles. It has been truthfully observed that Selkirkshire, situated as it is in respect to its parishes—excepting Nairnshire, which has similar detachments—stands unique among the Scottish counties, if indeed not in the United Kingdom.

Like several other small counties in the south of Scotland, Selkirkshire is largely subdivided, there being only one or two estates within it that could be called extensive. In 1872—and since then no noteworthy change has occurred—there were 168 owners of land, extending from one acre upwards. Their united possessions amounted to 161,691 acres, of which the gross annual value was £87,501, 17s. Owners of lands less than one acre in extent were estimated to number 538, among whom 124 acres, worth about £15,527, 16s., were distributed. According to this computation 161,815 acres, or within 4709 of the entire county, was owned by 706 people, yielding a total revenue of £103,029, 13s. A similar estimate was made in. 1879, which exactly corroborated that of 1872. The Duke of Buccleuch's estate, by far the largest in the county, was computed at 60,428 acres, of which the rental was put down as £19,828. Six other owners held 42,868 acres amongst them, valued at £12,272; twelve held 35,964 acres, valued at £19,122; ten 14,923 acres, valued at £7777; six owned 5060 acres, worth £3031; and seven possessed 1684 acres, whose united rental was £2124.

There are few counties in Scotland more interesting historically than Selkirkshire. In early times it was the principal hunting ground of the Scottish kings, and was designated the Ettrick Forest. It was in a great measure covered with wood, scarcely a vestige of which now remains, and stocked with herds of deer. David I. is said to have delighted in the sylvan sport which its mountains afforded. Near the castle of Selkirk he built a church, where he first settled the community of monks whom he ultimately transferred to Kelso. Among the other monarchs who participated in the favourite recreation in "the Forest" (by which a certain portion of the county is still known) were William the Lion, Alexander II., Alexander III., and James V.; but the mission of the last-named autocrat was more the punishment of disloyal border chiefs than for the purpose of sport. King James ultimately converted "The Forest" into a sheep-walk, which he found more profitable than to have it confined to deer, and to His Majesty's enterprise at that particular time tradition attributes the introduction of blackfaced sheep into Scotland.

It may be regarded as no serious digression from my subject proper should I briefly refer to some of the other events which since the beginning of the fourteenth century have contributed to the historic interest and celebrity of the county. In 1462, says a writer, John Murray of Falahill became head-keeper to the Queen of James II., who had received in dowry the lands of, Deloraine and others in the Ettrick Forest. He was subsequently appointed custos of the royal hunting seat of Newark, and overseer of the Royal Forests, and acquired the lands of Philiphaugh and the forest steadings of Harehead, Hanging-shaw, and Lewinshope. His grandson John attempted to hold Newark against the king; but finding the Royal forces arrayed against him, he surrendered his possessions to the king, who sometime afterwards created him hereditary sheriff of the Forest. Philiphaugh and Harehead, it may be mentioned, are still in the hands of the descendants of the outlaw. The Battle of Philiphaugh occurred at the junction of the Yarrow and Ettrick in 1645, in which the Covenanters, commanded by General Leslie, defeated the forces of Charles I. under the command of the Marquis of Montrose. Those of the fugitives who retreated up the Yarrow were shot at the command of General Leslie; and it is said that Montrose and a few of his troops fled over Minch Moor, and never drew a bridle until they reached Traquair, a distance of 11 miles. Towards the latter end of the eighteenth century, Selkirkshire produced two of Scotland's most celebrated sons. James Hogg, better known as the "Ettrick Shepherd," and Mungo Park, the renowned African traveller, were born in successive years, the former in 1770 and the latter in 1771. Their birth-places still and will long remain objects of interest to visitors, and centres of pride for the native inhabitants. The building in which Hogg first saw the light of day has been demolished, but Mungo Park's birth cottage is still wonderfully well preserved.

The only towns in the county are Selkirk and part of Galashiels. The former is a royal burgh, and along with Hawick and Galashiels returns one member to Parliament. It is pleasantly situated on an eminence rising from 400 to 619 feet above sea-level, but until a comparatively recent date it presented a dull and decaying appearance, being chiefly inhabited by an indolent class of people known as "The Souters of Selkirk." During the past quarter of a century, however, it has become an important manufacturing town, and a large proportion of its inhabitants are now employed as mill-workers. The principal features of interest in the town are monuments erected to the memory of Sir Walter Scott, who was at one time sheriff of the county, and to Mungo Park. The population of the burgh in 1871 was 4640, and in 1881, 6090; while its valuation in 1851 was £9904; in 1876, £15,433; and in 1885, £22,898. Its parliamentary constituency is 900. Galashiels is divided by the Gala into two parts, the one section being in Selkirkshire and the other in the county of Roxburgh. For police and judicial purposes, however, the whole town is in the sheriffdom of Selkirkshire. Probably no other town in Scotland has increased so rapidly in size as Galashiels. The population of the town and parish inclusive, was only 780 in the year 1790 ; whereas the population of the burgh alone had risen to 12,435 in 1881, 2756 more than in 1871. Of the entire population 9140 inhabit the Selkirkshire division. The first factory was erected in 1794, and there are now upwards of twenty in the town devoted to the manufacture of tweeds, plaids, shawls, blankets, yarns, &c. Galashiels was one of the first towns in Scotland to adopt the Free Libraries Act. Though somewhat irregular in form, it has much improved in appearance of recent years. Its latest, and probably most adorning feature, is a new parish church surmounted by a tower, which for sculptural design and beauty is not surpassed by almost any other in the country. A plentiful supply of water was introduced into the town in 1878, at a cost of £50,000. The valuation of Galashiels in 1868 was £25,720; in 1879, £51,651 (including railways) ; and in 1885, £59,751 (including railways) ; and its present parliamentary constituency is 1865.

The villages and hamlets worthy of mention in the county are Clovenfords, part of Deanburnhaugh, Ettrick Bridge, Yarrow-Feus and Yarrow-Ford. The rapid development of these towns is largely due to the excellent railway communication which they have for many years enjoyed. The North British Railway from Edinburgh to Carlisle skirts the northeastern boundary of Selkirkshire for a distance of about five miles, with stations within the county at Bowland and Galashiels. A branch line 6 miles in length connects the Galashiels and Selkirk, and another branch runs up Tweedside to Innerleithen and Peebles, its Selkirkshire stations being Clovenford and Thornilee. No fewer than nine trains run daily between Edinburgh and Galashiels, and six between Edinburgh and Selkirk.

Three important rivers flow through the county, viz., the Tweed, the Ettrick, and the Yarrow ; while the Gala forms its eastern boundary for nearly five miles—from near Bowland to its junction with the Tweed. The Tweed, which is the principal river, and has a complete course of some 103 miles, flows for a distance of 10 miles across the northern part of Selkirkshire— from its confluence with the Gatehope Burn to its junction with the Gala. It divides the Selkirkshire portion of Stow and Innerleithen parishes and Galashiels parish from the parishes of Yarrow and Selkirk. Its tributaries are numerous ; it receives in Selkirkshire seven streams on the right and three on the left. The Ettrick and Yarrow flow diagonally through the county from south-west to north-east in parallel courses until they join at Carterhaugh, about a couple of miles above Selkirk, after which the river is named the Ettrick Water. The Yarrow which rises in the borders of Dumfriesshire, in its course of 25 miles, passes through the Loch of the Lowes and St Mary's Loch, and receives nearly forty rivulets. The Ettrick has its source on Capel Fell, and after a run of 32| miles flows into the Tweed below Sunderland Hall. It has eight affluents on the left bank and seven on the right. Next in importance is the Ale Water, which rises in Roberton parish, and flows through Alemoor Loch into Roxburghshire. The Tweed affords good salmon fishing, while the smaller rivers and burns are productive of very good trout.

Lochs, though numerous, are of little importance. St Marys, measuring 3 miles long and less than one mile in width, is the principal sheet of water. It is famous for the loveliness of its situation. It is embosomed by beautifully rounded green hills, which are splendidly mirrored in its peaceful water. Who has not read of the "Lone Saint Mary's silent lake"? It has been celebrated in verse by Wordsworth, Scott, and Hogg. A narrow strip separates St Mary's Loch from the Loch of the Lowes, which is one mile long and a quarter mile broad. Like its larger sister, this lake is famed for its stillness and the pastoral beauty of the surrounding scenery. At the northern end of the strip dividing the two lakes stands a monument to the immortal Ettrick Shepherd. Alemoor Loch is an expansion of the River Ale, measuring about two miles in circumference. In the same district there are several small lakes, some of which at one time afforded large supplies of marl for agricultural purposes. The chief of these are Hellmoor Loch, Kingside Loch, Crooked Loch, Shaws Lochs, and Akermoor Loch. The Haining Loch, until lately, supplied water for the town of Selkirk.

Adorned with so many beautiful streams and lochs and precipitous hills, and inseparably associated as it has been with poets of such renown as Wordsworth, Scott, and Hogg, we are not surprised at Selkirkshire being dubbed the "cradle of pastoral poetry." It would be difficult to find a more lovely scene than parts of the county presents when viewed from certain standpoints. From the centre of Yair Bridge, for instance, one of the prettiest scenic sights in Scotland is obtained, and one that would baffle the most imaginative artist to exaggerate. And there are other parts of the Tweed valley almost equally well-wooded and varied, while the Ettrick and Yarrow rivers have each been extolled in verse and song for their surpassing beauty. Indeed, no stream has listened to so many songs in its praise as the Yarrow. "The Ettrick," says a writer, "in the poetry of James Hogg and Henry Scott Riddell, possesses songs worthy of the minstrels whose lays, so fondly preserved in tradition by the natives of Ettrick, were saved from all risk of oblivion by the labours of Scott and Leyden." The Gala Water also shared largely in the poetic laudation of the last century. Sir Walter Scott resided at Ashiestiel, in the Vale of the Tweed, before he removed to Abbotsford, and there he composed some of his finest poems.

The chief seats in the county are Bowhill (Duke of Buccleuch), Broad Meadows, Elibank Cottage (Lord Elibank), Gala House, Glenmayne, Haining, Hangingshaw, Harewoodglen, Holylee, Laidlawstiel (Lord and Lady Reay), Philiphaugh, Sunderland Hall, Thirlestane (Lord Napier and Ettrick), Torwoodlee, and Yair.

The topographical appearance of the county is somewhat rare. Viewed from a commanding height, it seems crowded with hills and destitute of human habitations. It is largely cultivated in the lower district, however, while almost every valley and glen is more or less populous. Along the valleys in the higher parts arable farming is also carried on to a considerable extent, but all above the town of Selkirk is essentially a pastoral district. In fact, the whole county may be described as such— for sheep breeding and feeding is the rent-paying industry all over; but between Selkirk and Galashiels, and along the Water of Caddow, a large breadth of the hill sides has from time to time been brought under the plough; and, as shall subsequently be shown, much sterile heath has been converted into crop-growing soil within the past twenty-five or thirty years. Cultivation has been gradually creeping up the hill sides in some parts of the upper as well as the lower districts, but of late years the tendency has been in the opposite direction. Arable farming has been found unprofitable, and the farmers, who are generally industrious and intelligent, are to some extent abandoning crop growing; my remarks on this subject shall be reserved, however, for a subsequent chapter. The climate is variable, but generally healthy, and favourable to agriculture. The soil varies from stiff clay resting on retentive till to dry sandy soil superincumbent on a subsoil of gravel. The prevailing rocks consist of the Lower Silurian formation. On the tops of some of the hills and on the moors of the south-western division of the county marshy spots are to be seen.

There has not been much land put under wood within the past twenty or thirty years, but in the earlier part of the century a considerable breadth was planted. Hogg tells us that the late Duke Charles of Buccleuch. planted liberally, but confined his operations too exclusively to the vicinity of Bowhill, his favourite residence. The same informant, writing in 1832, says "the present Lord Napier no sooner came home to reside in Ettrick than he began planting with a liberal hand, and that too in the upper parts of the district, where wood was wanted. It is truly astonishing what his efforts have effected in so short a time. The fine old woods of Hangingshaw have likewise been well flanked with young ones by Johnstone of Alva. Boyd of Broad Meadows has done his part adjoining there; so have all the Pringles on their lands of very ancient inheritance in the eastern parts of the county." In 1871 there were 2973 acres covered by wood, and these figures were returned unaltered in 1878; but there are now 3228 acres under plantation. Besides these, one acre is under fruit trees, 6 acres used by market gardeners for growth of vegetables, and one acre used by nurserymen for the growth of trees and shrubs.

Extensive vineries, successfully managed for many years by the owner Mr William Thomson at Clovenfords, deserve to be mentioned as one of the industrial institutions of the' county. The average yield of grapes, which are chiefly consigned to the London market, is about 7 tons per annum.

Population.—The inhabitants of the county have greatly increased in number every decade since the first of the present century. This fact is borne out by the following statistics :— In 1801, 5388; 1811, 5889; 1821, 6637; 1831, 6838; 1841, 7990; 1851, 9809; 1861, 10,449; 1871, 14,005; and 1881, 25,564. Increase since 1801, 20,176. It will be seen the rise was pretty gradual previous to 1841, and that after that year the population increased by leaps and bounds. This circumstance is due in a large measure to great development of various industries pursued in the county during the past forty years. The strictly rural portion of the population has not multiplied so quickly nor so substantially as the inhabitants of towns, whose chief employment is mill-work. During last century there was no great increase or fluctuation in the number of people, as is shown by the fact that in 1755 there were only 4622 inhabitants, as compared with 4646 in 1793. In point of population, Selkirkshire ranks thirteenth among other Scottish counties, there being on an average 99 inhabitants to the square mile. Of the 25,564 people enumerated in 1881, 13,405 were females, and 11 Gaelic-speaking. The number of houses occupied in that year was 5082, while 264 were vacant and 86 in the course of erection. The parliamentary constituency of the county for the present year (1885) is 306.

Climate.—The climate, as might be expected from the extremely irregular surface of the county, is singularly variable. While clear and healthy atmosphere prevails in the lower portions, cold ungenial mists frequently enshroud the hills. But this circumstance is not peculiar to Selkirkshire. The climatic conditions of several other counties in Scotland are almost equally variable. It is well known that moors and lofty hills attract mists and rains, but nowhere perhaps is this fact more clearly illustrated than in Selkirkshire. In summer more rain visits the higher altitudes of the western than the vales of the eastern division, which is due to the clouds being largely robbed of their superabundant moisture in crossing the hills. It is this fact, together with the extreme elevation of the higher districts, that renders them less suitable for cultivation than the lower parts, and which intensifies the severity of the winter season. In winter, snowstorms are frequent there, and sometimes snow lies in deep ravines among the hills till far through the spring; while in the lower parts of the county winter is less rigorous, and the air is generally salubrious and pure. The cold vapours, so common in the upper districts, are often injurious to vegetation in spring, as well as to the maturing of crops in autumn, but in dry scorching seasons they have a very different effect. It is unfortunate, however, for the upland farmer, that in the majority of years his crops are retarded from ripening until harvest is practically over in the lower regions, and that he should nevertheless be the first to feel the iron grasp of winter. Meteorologically, winter sets in considerably earlier in the more mountainous parts than in the less elevated districts, and hill stocks, hardy though they be, sometimes require to have their food supplies augmented with hay or turnips, or to be removed to other quarters, while the flocks on the lower ground are faring moderately well on the pasture. Harvest operations are usually a full week earlier in the lower than in the upper district, and crops are generally more satisfactorily secured; but of recent years harvest operations all over the county have been a little later than formerly.

Through the kindness of Mr Buchan, Secretary of the Scottish Meteorological Society, we are enabled to give some very interesting figures showing in inches the pressure, temperature, and rainfall registered by careful observers at various places in the county during the past twenty-five years. The first statement shows the mean monthly and annual atmospheric pressure at Galashiels from 1867 to 1876, 10 years; and at Bowhill from 1857 to 1880, 24 years; and the temperature at the former from 1869 to 1880, 11 years; and at the latter from 1857 to 1880, 24 years, thus:—

be interesting, however, to hear what one of the most careful and experienced weather observers in the county has to say on the point. He says:—"Some of our most experienced farmers are of opinion that, in spite of the enormous sums spent on manures of all sorts, and improved implements for every purpose, the land of Great Britain, acre for acre, does not produce anything like the crops it did forty years ago. If this statement is well founded, it is difficult to disconnect it from climatal causes: thus the climate may be found to be almost the sole cause of the severe depression under which agriculture is at present suffering; and it is pleasant to think that this greatest of all interests is certain to revive to its wonted prosperity when the weather pendulum makes its return swing, as many expect, and we all hope, it will ere long. Nothing could be more disastrous for this country than that the weather should deteriorate by a few degrees."


Regarding the geology of Selkirkshire there is not much to be said. It affords little scope for research. Perhaps no other Scottish county is less varied geologically. Its stratified rocks belong almost exclusively to the Silurian formation. Large quantities of shale and flags are embedded in the strata, but there is really nothing of a geological nature deserving special notice. This chapter shall therefore be devoted chieflv to a description of the soil, which to the practical mind is infinitely more important than a harangue on technical geology. The arable land, bearing the proportion of about one-eighth of the entire acreage, unlike the geology of the county, is greatly diversified, and varies in quality according to its situation. Much of the more recently reclaimed land in the lower districts consists of retentive clay, in most cases resting on a hard tilly subsoil. This necessitates more extensive draining than is required on higher land, and after all, the soil is difficult to fertilise and to keep in heart. The soils of the haughs by the side of the river is in many cases light but not unfertile loam, composed of particles of earth washed down from the hills and high grounds in time of floods, and lying upon a subsoil of gravel and sand. The quality of the upper stratum of such land is observed to depend much upon that of the hills and higher grounds through which the streams pass before they reach these haughs, and upon the slowness and quickness of the current, as, according to these, the sediment which they deposit must be more or less rich and fertile. Near the sources of the streams the soil becomes more gravelly and less productive, being better adapted for pasture than tillage. There are spots of deep useful loam

to be met with apart from water deposits in the middle districts of the county, and these are most numerous on southern exposures. Soils skirting the hills are generally dry and friable. Moss land seldom occurs, but on hills overrun with heath it is sometimes observed. On the sides of hills productive of rushes and coarse grasses clay soils predominate. In short, the land of the whole county may be said to consist of clay and thin gravelly soil, with occasional interlays of fertile loam and unproductive till. One of its most remarkable features, especially in the lower districts, is the multiplicity of small stones which it contains. It is surprising to see land so largely intermixed with these subjected to regular rotation of cropping, and yielding so well as it does. It is frequently observed that moderately stony land is more productive than land from which the stones have been removed, but a superabundance of stones tends to hinder rather than help cultivation. Why moderately stony land should have excelled in productiveness, seems to have been a partial mystery to the farmers and agricultural writers of a century ago, but it is obvious to all who have studied the subject that stones exert a mechanical influence on the soil. They favour the admission of air to prepare plant food, help the soil to imbibe ammonia from the atmosphere, and thus increase its friability and capillary attraction. Fairly good crops of the ordinary cereals—excepting wheat and rye, which are seldom grown—are raised even in the higher districts of the county; while in a good year, several low-lying farms produce equally as good grain and green crop, both in respect of quantity and quality, as almost any other county in Scotland. Considering the steepness and undulating character of the land, it cannot be said that the soil generally is difficult to work. A hundred acres is a common allotment to a pair of good draught horses in the lower districts, but this is chiefly owing to the system of farming adopted, and the tendency to diminish cropping and increase the extent of permanent grass.

State of Agriculture prior to 1860.

All things are judged by comparison. Let us therefore briefly glance back upon the state of the agriculture of the county prior to 1860, in order to see as clearly as possible the progress of the past twenty-five years. It is needless to go back much further than the advent of the present century; we only require to go beyond that limit some thirty years to prove that the county has undergone a great revolution. About the corresponding period of the eighteenth century, the soil was in a much less productive state than it was either at the first of the present century or it is now. Between 1780 and 1800 the spirit of improvement developed, and from a better knowledge of the effects of manure and more extensive use of shell marl, farmers put, as it were, a new face upon their land. Before the introduction of turnip husbandry and summer fallow, farms were commonly under three divisions, viz., "croft," "outfield," and "pasture." The best land or croft was regularly tilled. It received all the dung made on the farm, and raised alternate crops of beans, pease, and oats. Very little, if any of it, was laid down with grass seeds. Except by folding the cattle, the "out-held" was seldom if ever dunged, and it was exhausted by repeated crops of oats, after which it produced little or no grass for a year or two, and lay in lea until nature to some extent restored it. So soon as it sent forth a fresh sward, it was again subjected to the same treatment; and so on. The cattle were folded on it by "feal" dike enclosures during night, and their manure mixed with the "feal" was spread on the portion to be tilled. This was followed by two fairly good crops, but the subsequent two were as poor as ever. As regards natural pasture grounds, there was not so much change until within forty or fifty years of the present day, but of course sheep and cattle, though hardier, were much inferior in quality and size to those reared in more modern times. Except around county gentlemen's residences and farms, there was little fencing erected prior to the first of the present century, and what was consisted of stone and earth—a dike of stones surmounted with a row or two of "feal" or sod. Draining as a rule was much needed and neglected, still a good deal of swampy ground was improved, both by open and narrow close drains, from 2 to 3 feet deep. The latter were filled with small stones below, and covered with straw or bent and earth above. Small open drains were executed for three farthings per rood of six yards, and one extensive farmer in the county made upwards of 8000 roods of them on his holding prior to 1800. Lime, in consequence of its distance from the principal part of the county, was little used; but there having been lime works at Mid-dleton, about 23½ miles from Selkirk, the northern part of the shire was better limed than the southern. It was generally applied to land under summer fallow or lea, and then ploughed down. From 30 to 50 bolls was the usual allowance per Scotch acre. The staple manure of the county at this early period was marl, which cost 7d. per cart-load of 2 bolls. From 50 to 60 bolls were considered an adequate supply per English acre for the lighter soils, but the heavier land got as many as 80 bolls. In the northern part of the county dung-mixture, composed of dung, earth, and lime in alternate layers, was extensively used. Towards the close of last century a great improvement was effected in the system of cropping. Farmers became alive to the importance of alternating the crops in order to avoid exhausting their soils. On the best soil the rotation was—(l) turnips and potatoes with dung, (2) barley with grass seeds, (3) hay, (4) pasture, (5) oats. Another system was—(1) turnips and potatoes dunged, (2) barley with grass seeds, (3) hay, (4) hay, (5) oats, (6) pease, (7) oats following turnips. A small quantity of wheat was grown on the strongest soil and warmest situation. Barley was sown on the best land, the seed allowed per Scotch acre being from 3 firlots to 14 pecks. The ordinary yield varied from 6 to 10 bolls. The best understood and most extensively cultivated cereal was oats, of which a boll was sown per Scotch acre, and from 4 to 8 bolls reaped. By this time turnips had begun to take the place of pease; but some thirty years previously, pease and tares were largely cultivated. When land was sown with grass seeds for one year's crop of hay, and had to be broken the year following, the quantity sown was usually from 12 to 15 lbs. of red clover and a bushel of English rye-grass per English acre. Along with a similar quantity of rye-grass, from 8 to 10 lbs. of white clover and 4 lbs. of red clover was sown for two or more years grass. Two hundred stones of hay were often produced per acre, the price varying from 4d. to 4½d. per stone when in the rick, and from 6d. to 8d. when old. The implements of husbandry were of a very primitive description. The old Scotch timber plough has only just begun to be superseded in some cases by an improved implement named Small's plough. Its mould board was cast metal. Previous to this time oxen were generally used for draught, and horses were not much employed except for driving coal and lime or grain until near the close of last century. The harrows consisted of four iron "bulls" or bars, jointed together by four thin "slots," and each "bull" contained five iron teeth or tynes. The rollers used were mostly made of wood. Thrashing mills were almost unknown. Farm servants were by no means scarce ninety or a hundred years ago, yet their wages increased greatly about that time. Ploughmen and others employed in husbandry received from £5 to £8, 8s, with their maintenance, yearly; women got from £3 to £4, with board; and day-labourers (men) received from 10d. to 1s. in winter, from 1s. to 1s. 4d. in summer, and 1s. 6d. in harvest; women in summer got from 6d. to 8d., and in harvest from 8d. to 9d., and their board. Hours were similar to those of to-day. Roads were ill-made and badly kept. A word as to the live stock of the county. The sheep-walks were first inhabited by the blackfaced breed, but Cheviots came into vogue, and it was about a hundred years ago that the "battle" blackfaced versus Cheviots, which still rages, began. Farmers had recourse from one breed to the other as circumstances suggested or demanded. Both are essentially hill breeds, and in consequence of the superiority of the Cheviot wool over that of the blackfaced, the former became and continued to be the dominant breed. From 7 to 8 fleeces of Cheviot wool made a stone of 16 lbs., for which the usual price was from 12s. to 16s.; a similar quantity and weight of wool from the blackfaced breed brought only from 6s. to 7s. 6d. The average weight of Cheviot ewes when fed upon common hill pasture was 9 lbs., and the wedders 11 lbs. per quarter ; but on rich pastures they were generally fed up to from 12 to 15 lbs. per quarter. The blackfaced when fed weighed from 9 to 14 lbs. per quarter. Ewes of this breed sold at from 11s. 6d. to 13s.; wedders, from 12s. to 13s. 6d.; hoggs, from 7s. 6d. to 8s.; lambs, 3s. 6d. to 5s.; and ewes with lamb, at from 10s. to 11s. 6d. Both breeds were smeared in the end of October with a mixture of tar and butter, the usual mixture being 1½ stones of butter and 10 pints of tar, which smeared from 60 to 70 sheep. One man smeared from 20 to 30 sheep per day, and the expense of smearing each sheep was about 4½d. The cattle generally kept in the higher districts were narrow-built, flat-ribbed animals, and weighed from 30 to 40 stones each when fed. Most of the cows were cross between the native cattle and the Holderness breed. In the lower parts of the county, where there was more fencing, cattle were superior to those in the uplands, and when fed off at three years old, weighing from 50 to 60 stones each, they realised from £15 to £17. Little attention was given to dairying. Horses were chiefly bought in from other counties ; few were bred in Selkirkshire. The prevailing breed were from 14 to 15 hands high, and were worth from £10 to £20 each.

Coming within the present century, we find that there was no exceptional enterprise shown for some considerable time after its advent. Nevertheless, the march of improvement started, as we have noticed, in the " fall " of last century, continued more or less manifest, and as time wore on the agriculture of the county became more active. During the first three decades of the present century creditable progress was made in the improvement of live stock, but the advancement made in other departments of the farm was less marked. Fresh blood was from time to time infused into the herds and flocks, and in some instances entirely new breeds introduced for crossing purposes. In the parish of Yarrow, for example, about 2000 Leicester sheep, in addition to the customary blackfaced and Cheviot breeds, were enumerated in 1830, and this breed was little known thirty or more years previously. The most noteworthy change effected, however, in the matter of stock breeding was the use of shorthorn and Ayrshire cattle. A cross between these breeds constituted a handsome hardy and useful animal, and of this blood-mixture there were about 3000 cattle in the county in 1831. Highland cattle too were introduced during the second or third decade, and were depastured on the sheep-walks with profit. The mixed system of grazing cattle and sheep together was found to do very well. I had an interview with an old farmer in the county, whose exceptional age and intelligence enables him to look back with familiarity upon the affairs of seventy or eighty years ago, and contrast them with those of to-day. He informed me "that the cattle of the county then were largely composed of Dutch cows. Blackfaced and Cheviot sheep covered the hills, the latter gaining ground on the former. They were greatly improved after the change of the breeds, the real Cheviots being hardy, healthy animals; but latterly they have got much softer and less adapted for the severe climate. At the May term of 1816, ewes and lambs cost 31s.; two years later they fell to 10s., and continued very low for a number of years. Horses were much lighter than they are now. Cattle were greatly increased in value and utility by the introduction of shorthorns. As regards labour, hind's wages were generally £12 in money, 65 stones of meal, potatoes, and keep for a cow; shepherd's wages usually took the shape of keep for 35 to 45 sheep, and a cow, and so much meal. With few exceptions, the principal farm implements consisted of a wooden plough, timber harrows, and sledges with shafts for the hill sides. Rents were all paid in money. Oats, bere, and small patches of pease were grown. Every farm had its own dairy, and in addition to the produce thereof most farmers made a few ewe cheeses every year, i.e., cheese from ewes' milk." As to the progress made agriculturally within the three decades intervening between 1830 and 1860, a good deal might be written. A great deal of good work was done in draining as well as reclaiming land, especially during the last decade of the three. Some planting was also performed on the different estates, and the appearance of the country was materially improved, while by the prudent use of manures its productiveness was substantially increased.

Progress of the Past Twenty-five Years.

Notwithstanding the large extent of land reclaimed between the years 1845 and 1860, the cultivated area of the county has handsomely increased within the past twenty-five. Since 1860 a large acreage of hill land has been converted into productive soil by of process of ploughing, draining, and liming, and in many cases the work of reclamation was very laborious and expensive. This arose from the fact that much of the land in its natural state was not only steep, but overrun with huge boulders, heather, and whins, while some of it was submerged by water. The removing of these obstacles involved great trouble and expense, and rendered the operation of improvement tedious and difficult to accomplish. Since 1860, vast improvements have been carried out in the direction of draining and re-draining old land and squaring up fields. In fencing too a great deal of good work has been done, while it would almost seem as if building had been continuously going on for many years. At any rate, numerous dwelling-houses and farm-steadings have been erected during the past twenty-five years, and the county is now well provided with these. The making of private roads and the introduction of water to farm-steadings have also to be mentioned as improvements of recent date.

The manuring of land, at one time so imperfectly understood, has been the object of no little investigation and study of recent years. On two large farms in the lower division of the county, Hollybush and Newhall, instructive experiments were conducted, well calculated to throw increased light upon the mysteries of land feeding. Their object was to determine whether phosphates, potash, or nitrogenous matter was most needed in the soil. For this purpose five adjacent ridges were selected in each case, and about fifty yards measured off and manured as follows:—Plot (1) phosphate alone; (2) phosphate and potash salts ; (3) phosphate, potash salts, and nitrate ; (4) potash salts and nitrate; and (5) nitrate alone. The phosphates were applied in two different forms—as superphosphate and as ground mineral phosphate. The latter was applied in the form of the finest flour, and the quantity of phosphate was exactly the same in both forms. In each case the superphosphate produced a heavier crop than the ground phosphate, but the increase in favour of the former was not very striking. Indeed the difference was trifling, and it is probable that if the two forms of phosphate had been applied on the basis of equal money value, the ground mineral would have held its own with the superphosphate. The results strikingly illustrated the peculiarly depressing effect of potash when applied to the turnip crop. This ingredient was more depressing in these two cases than it has been discovered to be in almost any other part of Scotland. The progress of the past twenty-five years in the improvement of land has obviously been eclipsed in the department of stock-breeding. The light-weighted horses of forty or fifty years ago are no longer to be met with; the ungainly ill-bred cattle of the same age have been superseded by stronger and more useful stock of shorthorn blood. The alteration in the existing breeds of sheep has not been so pronounced, but some of these have perceptibly benefited from the increased attention devoted to their management. We were told that the characteristics of the Cheviot breed have suffered from an attempt to increase the size and weight of the sheep; but judging from the quality of the present class of Cheviots, we are not disposed to attach much importance to this allegation. Whether it is true or not, there is no blinking the fact that Selkirkshire at the present day is capable of producing as good Cheviot, blackfaced, and half-bred sheep as almost any other county in the United Kingdom.

Before proceeding to detail the various systems of farm and estate management prevalent in the county, it may be of interest to show in figures the exact area under cultivation, and its increase during the past twenty-five years, thus:—Arable area in 1857, 14,441 acres; 1868, 2084; 1874, 22,456; 1880, 23,228 ; and 1885, 23,302. Increase since 1868, 2516 acres; 1874, 864; and 1880, 92. It may be explained that the returns for 1857, drawn up by the Highland and Agricultural Society, excluded all holdings under £10 of rent, and therefore the figures of that year bear no reliable comparison with those of 1885. It will be seen, however, that enfeebled though the spirit of improvement has been by a long succession of unfavourable seasons, the plough has been gradually extending its control. Spreading the increase over the seventeen years during which it has extended 2516 acres, the annual gain would be fully 142 acres; but, as the above figures clearly show, the acreage reclaimed during the past five years was scarcely two-thirds of that number.

Having thus exhibited the gradual development of the cultivated area, it may also be of interest to indicate the advance in the valuation of the several parishes and the two burghs within the county, at various periods since 1860. This is shown by the following statement, as well as the extent of the different parishes lying within the confines of Selkirkshire:—

Until this year it will be observed there has been a gradual rise in the valuation of every parish; but that, with exception of Stow, which has increased £196, 18s. 7d. since 1878, a considerable decline has taken place in the rural valuations for 1885. In the totals for the years mentioned, however, an increase occurs of £8901, 1s. 2d. from 1860 to 1865; £68,730, 8s. 4d. from 1865 to 1878; and £5476, 8s. 3d. from 1878 to 1885. The decrease of recent years in the valuation of the rural districts has been more than made up by the rapid growth of the burghs of Selkirk and Galashiels.

Systems of Farming.

Details of Improvements.—Having recently visited a number of the principal farms in the county, we are enabled to speak from personal observation regarding the various systems of farming pursued, and most of the improvements effected during the past twenty-five years. We have to acknowledge our gratitude, however, to the numerous farmers and landowners who, by letter, placed us in possession of so much valuable and interesting information concerning their farms and estates ; and, for brevity's sake, we have embraced the notes thus collected in detailing the information gleaned on our recent tour. We shall therefore describe the various farms in the order in which we visited them, starting at the extreme eastern point of the county. Amongst the more important lowland farms which cluster around the busy town of Galashiels is the carefully-managed farm of Nether Barns, tenanted by Mr Adam Brydone. It extends to 510 acres, 50 acres of which are under pasture. The soil is partly clayey and partly gravelly, the latter prevailing on the side of the farm skirted by the Tweed. Under the five-shift rotation crops do not bulk so largely on this farm as on some others, but they yield fairly well as to quantity and weight. Land for turnips, if not manured on the stubbles before being ploughed in autumn, is dunged in the drill, and gets a liberal supply of artificial stimulant besides. The value of the farm has been considerably enhanced since it came into Mr Brydone's possession, liberal outlay having been made in draining and liming, with satisfactory results. It carries crossbred shorthorn cattle and half-bred ewes. No cattle are bred on the farm, but from twenty-five to thirty are fed on turnips, hay, and cake, and are sold fat in spring, weighing from 50 to 60 stones. The ewes are kept for breeding purposes, and most of the lambs are sold during July and August, any remnant that is left being fattened. The horses are stylish short-legged Clydesdales, and work about 100 acres a pair. Mr Brydone calculates farm wages to have risen at least 3s. per week since 1859, and rents to have sprung from 15 to 30 per cent. in the same time, according to the nature of the soil.

The farm of Hollybush, extending to about 600 acres, is occupied by Mr Walter Elliot. It is nearly all arable, but a considerable extent has lain under pasture for a few years. The soil is chiefly formed of clay, and rests on a hard impervious subsoil of till. Under the five-course rotation—viz., oats, turnips, oats or barley, and two years' grass—however, it yields fairly well—oats from 4 to 4½ quarters per imperial acre, weighing from 42 to 44 lbs. per bushel, and barley about 4 quarters, weighing from 56 to 57 lbs. Very little wheat is grown, but this cereal was raised to the proportion of 26 bushels to the acre on a small patch of land in 1884. For turnips, land is ploughed heavily in the autumn, and allowed to lie under the action of the frost during winter. The spring work is greatly regulated by the condition of the land, whether foul or clean. If foul it is grubbed, and sometimes ploughed a second time, and harrowed repeatedly. At one time Mr Elliot dunged the stubbles before ploughing, but latterly he has put the bulk of the farm-yard manure on to lea, so that the turnip is the second crop to benefit by it. A small quantity is often spread in the drills on land that did not get manure when lea, and generally an allowance is made of from 5 to 6 cwt. of artificial manure to the acre. The artificial mixture consists of bones, guano, bone meal, and superphosphate. The cost of this manuring an acre is about 32s. The turnip crop is by far the most expensive on the farm. Some idea of its cost (including labour, manure, and seed) per acre, from the time the stubbles are ploughed until the crop is finally hoed, will be gathered from the following statement:— When the land is moderately clean, ploughing per acre costs about 10s., grabbing 2s., harrowing 2s. 6d., rolling or dragging 1s., drilling 5s., sowing manure 9d., sowing turnips 9d., seed per acre 1s. 9d., hoeing 5s. 6d., drill-harrowing 3s., and second hoeing 2s. 6d. = 35s. 5d.; total cost, including 32s. for manure, £3, 7s. 5d. Potatoes, which are only grown for home use, are similarly manured. Mr Elliot has greatly increased the extent of the arable land on the farm, as well as enriched the soil since he entered it in 1855. It was largely under heather, bog, whins, and water. Its rental was then only £197, and now it is £454; but in 1878 it was over £600. A large extent of the land reclaimed, which consisted of impervious tilly clay, was drained, principally with tiles, to the depth of 3 feet, the drains being 15 feet apart. The cost of this per acre was from £9 to £10. In its original state the land was overrun with huge boulders, and many of these had to be removed before the plough could set to work. After the first ploughing, which was a tedious process, lime was applied to the extent of 6 tons per acre. This was followed by cross-ploughing, and then oats, of which two successive crops wore taken. A great impediment to this enterprise was the superabundance of moisture and the number of old hedges to be removed. The total cost of reclamation is estimated as follows:—Ploughing and hedge and stone digging, £1100; draining, £3500; liming, £2160; and fencing, £900,—total cost, £7660. Average cost of reclaiming 530 acres, as nearly as possible, £14, 10s. In addition to this amount, a sum of £600 was spent in removing a small sheet of water from the centre of the farm. The landlord built an excellent farm-steading, a large extent of dykes, and advanced money for a considerable portion of the drainage works referred to. Mr Elliot keeps shorthorn cows, a few of which are bred on the farm. He feeds a fair number of cross bullocks, giving them from 56 to 84 lbs. of turnips per head per day, along with from 4 lbs. to 10 lbs. of an artificial food, combining linseed cake, decorticated nut cake, cotton cake, bean meal, and Paisley meal—the supply gradually increasing as the animals mature—and one feed of cut hay per day, from 8 to 10 lbs. Straw is supplied in abundance. It would be well if all farmers adopted Mr Elliot's plan of ascertaining the value of his stock before selling them. Every animal is weighed, and has been for many years, before being sent into the market. The farm is largely stocked with half-bred sheep, and there has also been a small flock of Oxford downs kept for the past eighteen years. Their food during summer consists solely of the grass they gather in the parks; but during winter and spring, if the weather is bad, half-bred sheep get turnips and hay, and sometimes a small quantity of artificial food. Mr Elliot estimates the cost of keeping half-bred ewes during a whole year at about 30s. a head on his farm, but they can be kept at a little less where there is a large run of rough pasture attached to the arable land. Hollybush is well supplied with the necessary buildings, and is one of the most skilfully managed farms in the county.

Mr John Riddell, one of the best farmers in the county, succeeded his father in the occupancy of the farm of Rink, which has an area of fully 500 acres, and is wrought under the five-shift rotation. When the late Mr Riddell entered it in 1848, the farm was largely under hill pasture, and even ten or twelve years later there was a considerable portion of it in the same condition. Now, however, it is wholly arable, but Mr Riddell's experience in crop-growing is similar to that of his neighbour Mr Brydone. The weight of crops per bushel is invariably good, but as a rule the returns bulk badly—often as low as 3 quarters per acre. Mr Riddell ploughs his stubbles as early as possible after harvest, and as a large proportion of the land, which consists chiefly of light gravel and cold clay, is very steep, it has to be ploughed with one furrow, the fur being from 10 to 12 inches deep. The land is all dunged when in lea before ploughing for the oat crop, and one-half of it at least gets another supply of farm-yard manure after it is drilled for turnips, along with 5 cwt. guano and bones per acre, an increased supply of the latter being given where there is no farm-yard manure put in the drill. Land for potatoes, of which only 5 or 6 acres are grown, is all dunged on the stubble, artificial manure being added before planting begins. At one time Mr Riddell fattened about 60 head of cattle annually; but, being within three miles of Galashiels, he latterly started a dairy, which is skilfully and successfully managed. I shall reserve my information regarding it, however, for a later and more appropriate place in my report. Few farms are better supplied with buildings than Rink. Some three years ago the landlord expended £1000 on buildings free of interest, and the farm-steading is one of the most commodious and convenient in the county. Besides the dairy herd, Mr Riddell keeps over 300 half-bred ewes, from which he raises nearly 500 lambs. From 100 to 200 of the latter are sold at St Boswell's Fair, and the rest are fattened during winter, and sold in February or March. The horses on the Rink are well-bred Clydesdales—eligible for entry in the stud book. Five pairs are found sufficient to work the farm under the five-shift rotation. Mr Riddell says " farm wages have nearly doubled since 1858."

One of the largest farms on the banks of the Caddon, and in the parish of Stow, is Caddonlee. It has an acreage of 850, of which 540 acres are arable, and is occupied by Mr William Lyal. Reclaimed from hill, the soil is very variable and lacks depth in many parts. None of it is very good. The present tenant entered the farm in 1870, after which he reclaimed about 150 acres. Since then, too, most of the farm has been limed, and substantial improvements have been effected in the shape of draining, road-making, and building. About £1800, chiefly Government money, was spent in draining, the landlord giving £500. In building houses and dykes the landlord spent about £1100, and paid half the cost of making new roads, the tenant bearing the other half. Mr Lyal farms under the five-course shift, as prescribed by his lease, keeping the farm as largely under grass as practicable. Crops have not yielded so well of recent years as previously; the average return is about 4 quarters barley, and from 4½ to 5 quarters oats, per acre. The system of preparing land for turnips is similar to that of the farms already described. Grubbing in spring is almost always required, and sometimes the land has to be ploughed a second time before it can be thoroughly cleaned. Dung is applied to the turnip break as far as it goes, artificial manure being also allowed to the value of about £2 per acre. Bones and superphosphates are more extensively used than guano. The cattle on the farm are shorthorn crosses, bought in when six quarters old. Part of them are fed off in winter, and part sent to the butcher off the grass in summer. They usually number from 30 to 40, and weigh from 50 to 60 stones when sold. The farm also carries about 400 half-bred ewes, half the lambs of which are sold at weaning time, and the remainder are fattened on the farm during winter. All the sheep get turnips during winter. Mr Lyal has a good stock of Clydesdale horses, the allowance to a pair being about 100 acres.

Though only a small portion of Stow lies within the county of Selkirk, it is the more important division of the parish from an agricultural point of view. It contains several extensive and energetically managed holdings, in addition to the farm of Cad-donlee just described. Of these I may mention Laidlawstiel, tenanted by Mr Dunn—to which a good deal has been added through reclamation since 1860—Torwoodlee, Kewhall, Black -haugh, Whitfield, and Crosslee. Torwoodlee, now occupied by Mr Gibson, has an area of 1000 acres, about 591 acres of which were reclaimed by the late Mr Elliot. Some 130 acres are under hill pasture, while close on 100 acres are covered by wood. The late Mr Elliot was one of the pioneers of agricultural improvement, and with scant proprietary assistance made a lasting impression on the land he occupied.

Mr Thomas Elliot is tenant of the farm of Blackhaugh and also of Meigle, the former extending to 1060 and the latter to 800 acres. Meigle is chiefly a pastoral farm, there being only some 300 acres arable, but as many as 600 acres are under cultivation on Blackhaugh. The land on Blackhaugh is thinish clay resting on a stiff retentive subsoil. Crops at one time were much heavier than they have been since 1874, and for two or three years back the yield has shown a marked decrease. This circumstance seems utterly unaccountable. All the dung made on the farm is given to the land, all that is prepared by autumn being spread on the stubbles before the plough is set to work, and the remainder in spring. Land thus treated for turnips is cross-ploughed in spring, or grubbed, as circumstances demand. When thoroughly cleaned it is drilled, and from 5 to 7 cwt. of bone meal and guano are allowed per acre. Since 1849 Mr Elliot—following up the footsteps of his exemplary father the late Mr Elliot, Torwoodlee—has reclaimed 535 acres of land from hill, in which operation he was partly assisted by Government money. The landlord fenced the farm with stone dykes 5 feet high, the tenant providing the stones. When mutually borne in this manner the dykes cost about 2s. 3d. per rood of six yards, but some walls cost 3s. The farm is stocked with shorthorn cross cattle, and about 900 sheep. Of the former from 20 to 30 are annually fattened, chiefly on turnip, cake, and ' meal. During the present year fewer cattle and more sheep have been fed than usual. No cattle are bred on the farm, but a large number of lambs are raised. These are partly sold at St Boswells, from 9th to 12th August, and the youngsters retained are as a rule grazed away from the farm during the winter season. Immediately after the lambs are weaned, the sheep are all dipped with Begg's patent dip, which is found to be sufficient for the whole year. The flock comprises half-breds, cross sheep, Cheviots, and blackfaced. The arable portion of the farm is worked on the five-shift rotation—viz., (1) corn, (2) turnips, (3) corn, and (4) and (5) two years grass—the allotment being 100 acres to the pair of horses.

In the immediate neighbourhood of Blackhaugh is the well-managed farm of Newhall, occupied by Mr Andrew Elliot. Some 400 acres in extent, Newhall is largely under Cheviot ewes. These are mated with a Leicester tup, and good cross lambs are obtained. The farm, which was formerly in possession of Mr Elliot's father, the late Mr Elliot of Torwoodlee, has been mostly all limed by the present tenant, while not a little of the land was drained, the drains being only 15 feet apart on some fields. The farm of Crosslee is situated in the extreme northern corner of the county, and has just been let to Mr Alston, better known as a Peeblesshire farmer. It was vacated last May by Mr Hall, by whom it was greatly enriched and improved.

The greater part of the land occupied by Lords A. and L. Cecil, Orchardmains, lies within the county of Peebles, but a portion of it extends into Selkirkshire. Their Lordships hold from 3000 to 4000 acres, some 800 acres of which are arable. The higher land is chiefly depastured by blackfaced sheep, which number over 400; while the lower is under Leicesters, Cheviots, and half-breds to the number of about 1400. We do not intend entering into the system of arable farming pursued on Orchardmains and Newhall, but it is worthy of mention that these farms carry a stud of from 70 to 80 horses of various sorts. The Clydesdale portion of it is well known for its show-yard success of recent years. It is not so generally known, however, that within the last year or two Lords A. and L. Cecil have turned their attention to the improvement of the admirable race of Highland ponies, which they, in common with many others, have seen are in the ordinary course fast deteriorating. With this purpose in view, they some two years ago, formed a pony-breeding stud by purchasing seven mares of the pure Iceland breed. These ponies stand 12 hands high, are exceedingly hardy, have strong legs and backs, and are noted for their endurance and sure-footedness. They have somewhat large heavy heads, and, though very fast, are deficient in style and action. But in the selections made great care was taken to secure animals with good shape, clean limbs, free movement, and sound constitution. They stand about two hands higher than the Shetland pony, and are thus better adapted for raising the class of animals most in demand for polo ponies, shooting ponies, &c.

Along the Vale of Yarrow, crop-growing is not so largely pursued as in the districts already noticed, the land being higher and in many cases less productive. In the neighbourhood of Selkirk lies the extensive farm of Philiphaugh, which has been tenanted for twenty-five years by Mr Scott. It is pretty level, being to some extent haughland, and has been greatly improved within the past twenty-five years. It is hemmed in on one side by the Ettrick, and can scarcely be classed in the Yarrow district. It was the first holding to arrest our attention, however, as we entered the Vale of Yarrow, and is specially noticeable from its peculiarly flat surface, its well laid-off fields, and magnificent farm-steading. The farm-steading is probably the best in the county.

A few miles north-west of Philiphaugh is the farm of Tinnis, tenanted by Mr George Elliot. It extends to 2312 acres, of which only 300 acres are arable. The soil is generally light and stony, but clay is also observed on some parts, the subsoil being cold and retentive. Mr Elliot adopts no specific rotation, but allows the land to lie as long under grass as practicable. Cereal crops are invariably light, and the braird sometimes suffers from frost and wet weather during spring. Oats, which is almost the only cereal grown, seldom weighs over 42 lbs. per bushel. Turnips yield fairly well, but are often irregular and depreciated by "finger-and-toe." The most difficult crop to cultivate, however, is grass, which is almost invariably too thin. Since 1876, 115 acres of hill land have been reclaimed. The landlord advanced money for draining and fencing at 5 per cent. interest, and the tenant provided the lime used. About 12 cattle are annually bred from cross and Ayrshire cows. The 300 arable acres are wrought with four horses, but the land is not regularly cropped. The feature of the farm is its stock of sheep, which number from 1800 to 2000, all Cheviots. The half of them are grazed on the hill portion of the holding all the year round, but the other half get turnips for about two months in spring. The turniped ewes are mated with a Leicester tup, but the purely hill sheep produce Cheviot lambs. The lambs are sold in August and the ewes in October. The ewes are kept until they are six years old, because hoggs are precarious to winter. Sometimes as many as 5 or 6 hoggs out of the score die of braxy between August and May. Lambing among the turniped ewes begins about the 5th April, and among the hill ewes about a fortnight later. Sheep are clipped from the 15th to 20th of June, and the average weight of wool runs from 3½ to 4 lbs. Dipping is performed in September and October, and sometimes also in February and March. The price of wool sold off this farm in 1876 was 32s. per stone of 24 lbs., and this year it only brought 18s. 6d. The average death-rate runs about 1½ to the score during the year ; but it varies from | to about 2 sheep according to the nature of the seasons. Most of the deaths are caused by braxy and louping-ill, and in some years sturdy is prevalent, especially in wet years. "The last ten years," says Mr Elliot, "have been very unfavourable for sheep farming—every good year having been followed by a bad—and it has almost been impossible to keep a Cheviot stock up to a proper standard of excellence." During the past ten years or so, prices have varied on Tinnis from 45s. to 18s. in the case of Cheviot ewes, 19s. to 9s. in the case of wedder lambs, and 21s. to 7s. in the case of ewe lambs.

Mr John V. Lindsay, who occupies the extensive farm of Whitehope on a lease of fourteen years, owns a flock of 3800 sheep, of the blackfaced and Cheviot breeds. The average death-rate on this farm is also estimated at 1½ to the score. The average yield of Cheviot wool (washed) is 3½ lbs., that of blackfaces (unwashed) being 4½ lbs. In dipping, which takes place in August and February, 1½ gallon of carbolic oil is used, costing 1s. per 100 sheep. During a severe snowstorm in winter sheep get hay, but at other times they get nothing-additional to what they gather for themselves. Lambs are sold in August, and cast ewes in October—at Hawick generally for Cheviots—at Peebles for blackfaces. The arable land is worked on the five-shift course, and is allowed on an average 6 cwt. per acre of artificial manure annually. All the oats grown are consumed on the farm, besides about 10 tons of cake per annum. On entering the farm Mr Lindsay got what new buildings were required ; all the fences were repaired, and tile drains sunk, and hay-sheds built, at 5 per cent. interest. Since then he has limed the arable portion of the farm at his own expense. The crops grown consist of oats, hay, and turnips. Mr Lindsay recently grazed more cattle than usual on the mountain pasture in place of sheep, as he found the former improved the pasture, and that they thrive better than sheep.

The farm of Mount Benger, of which 1300 of a total area of 1400 acres are under pasture, is occupied by Mr Linton, and is worked under the seven and eight shift rotation. When Mr Linton entered the farm in 1866 there were about 1300 roods of "sheep" or open drains in working order, and since then as many again have been cut. He has cleaned out the older drains three times, and has tile-drained 23 acres of hill ground. Some £500 worth of lime has been applied to the land since 1866. Land for turnips is ploughed in the fall, and either grubbed or ploughed a second time in spring. The farm-yard manure is chiefly spread on the stubbles, and artificial manure to the amount of from 5 to 6 cwt. sown in the drills just before the turnips are sawn. In the artificial mixture about 3 cwt. of bone meal, 2 cwt. superphosphate, and ¾ cwt. of nitrate of soda are given to the soil. Thirteen or fourteen calves are bred every year from cross cows and a shorthorn bull. The farm, . however, is mainly stocked by Cheviot sheep, of which a very large flock is kept. Most of them are summered and wintered on the hill, except during severe snowstorms, when they get meadow hay, but a portion are grazed in parks. These get a few turnips as well as hay during winter. All the lambs are sold in August, and the draft ewes are then drawn into parks and mated with a Leicester tup, the half-bred lambs being sold at St Boswells in August. The eild sheep are clipped about 25th of June, the wedder hoggs yielding on an average from 4¼ to 4½ lbs. of wool each. Ewes are clipped in the first week of July, and yield from 3½ to 3¾ lbs. wool. Mr Linton dips his sheep twice a year—in August and the first of March. The dipping operation is performed in a swimming bath, four men being required to carry on the work. The dip mainly consists of pitch oil, which costs 6d. a gallon, and a hundred sheep can easily be twice dipped at the moderate cost of 2s. The death-rate in the Mount Benger flock averages from 12 to 15 per cent. of young stock, and about 6 per cent. of old sheep.

Further up the vale still, and at an elevation of from 800 to 2300 feet, is the farm of Dryhope, tenanted by Mr J. Muir. Having a total acreage of about 3500, of which only 68 acres are arable, Dryhope is chiefly under sheep—two hirsels of blackfaces and one of Cheviots. Lambs and draft ewes are sold off from August to October. The arable land is of good medium quality, and is wrought by a pair of horses. The hill is partly covered by sprett and heather. Peat moss is abundant on the highest parts. Arable land is wrought under the five-shift rotation, and produces fairly good crops as a rule, but harvest is often late and grain light. Mr Muir keeps almost the only herd of shorthorn cattle, if not the only pedigree herd in the county. The bulls are sold when about one year old. Sometimes a few Highland cattle are wintered on the farm and fed off on grass during the summer. Of the unbroken pasture some 53 acres are enclosed.

The farm of Sandhope, tenanted by Mr Laidlaw, is also in the parish of Yarrow. It contains 140 acres arable, hard gravelly soil 20 acres permanent pasture, and about 2000 acres mountain land, and was rented at £768, 2s. 4d. in 1880. A lease of nineteen years expired in that year, when the tenant got a reduction of 24½ per cent. For the first fourteen years of the lease the tenant had full freedom of cropping, excepting in taking two white crops in succession. The last five years he was bound to cultivate on the five-shift rotation. No straw, fodder, or dung were allowed to be carried off the farm, except by rye-grass hay. Artificial manure is consumed annually on the farm to the extent of about 4 tons, and the quantity of feeding stuffs 5 tons. The cost of producing corn, turnips, and hay per acre on Sandhope were estimated in 1880 as follows:—Corn 20s. in rent, 3d. in rates and taxes, 20s. in seed, 27s. in cultivation and harvesting, 20s. in labour (including thrashing and marketing); turnips 20s. in rent, 3d. in rates and taxes, 3s. in seed, 40s. in manures, 40s. in cultivation, &c.; hay, 20s. in rent, 3d. in rates and taxes, 14s. in seed, and 14s. in cultivation, &c. The average return of hay-in 1878-79 was 2 tons per acre, amounting in value to £4. Of oats the average seeding per acre is from 6 to 10 bushels. The improvements executed on the farm during the recent lease consisted of the breaking up of some 70 acres of pasture, the building of a new straw and corn barn and stables, the construction of a new farm road and bridge, the total cost being £1450 Government money, for which the tenant paid interest at the rate of £6, 14s. per cent.

A farmer, writing from the higher reaches of the parish of Yarrow, says:—"I am interested in two farms with a combined acreage of over 6000 acres. They are purely pastoral holdings, and carry sheep in the proportion of one sheep to every 2 acres. Excepting about 600 Cheviots, the sheep are all of the blackfaced breed, but previous to 1860 I believe only Cheviots were kept. The change in the breeds was necessitated by the severity of the winter in 1860 and subsequent years. The holding is very high-lying, skirting the Blackhouse heights, and suffers very much from heavy and protracted snowstorms. Even last winter 800 of the sheep suffered severely for a period of about six weeks from snow, which, after a succession of thaw and frost, became firm and difficult to break. A considerable portion of the stock has had to be removed five times to the lower parts of the country to be fed on hay. I entered the farms in 1871. About 300 hoggs are regularly pastured elsewhere during the winter. Lambs for sale are disposed of in August and draft ewes in October."

Throughout the Ettrick and higher districts of the county the farming systems differ very little from those adopted in the Vale of Yarrow. The soil varies from tenacious clay to gravelly haugh land. Much of the clayey land is difficult to dry sufficiently, even though drains are closely put in. The wet seasons of late have seriously damaged the land in many cases, drains having been silted up and rendered useless. A great deal of land was broken up in the higher districts of the county, some fifteen or twenty years ago, and on some farms it has not been profitable. "Where it has been much cropped," writes an Ettrick farmer, "and not liberally manured, I consider it is in a worse and more unremunerative state than it was before being broken up, especially where the land was wet and needed extensive draining." The crops grown in these districts are chiefly oats and turnips. A great deal of the arable land was wrought for many years under the five-shift rotation, and that, in the opinion of an extensive upland farmer, "to the ruin of the county." Land should not be ploughed, he maintains, oftener than every six or eight years. Cheviot and blackfaced sheep are kept in the hills and half-breds on the arable land. Sheep-farming is the main industry, and cultivation is not so extensively practised as in the lower districts.

A farm with a total acreage of 1050, of which 772 acres are mountain pasture and 278 arable, is one of the most important, agriculturally, in the district. The soil is chiefly light, and is cropped thus:—Oats after lea, turnips following, third year sown with oats or rape, and then pastured for two years. Its rental in 1880 was £418, 11s., and in addition to this the farm was charged, in taxes, rates, and insurance, to the amount of £15, 6s. 7d. It carries on an average over 1000 animals, consisting of Clydesdale horses, shorthorn cross cattle, and half-bred and blackfaced sheep. About 70 half-breds are annually fattened on the farm, and the cattle are chiefly sold as store or breeding stock when two years old. Artificial manures are annually used on the farm to the extent of 14½ tons, or to the value of £137. Artificial feeding stuffs are also consumed to the value of £98, 12s. The cost per acre of producing each crop grown upon the farm has been approximately estimated thus:—Oats 25s. in rent, 1s. in taxes, 16s. 6d. in seed, 20s. in cost of cultivation and harvesting, 3s. in labour (including thrashing and marketing), 1s. in sundries (including tradesmen's bills); turnips 25s. in rent, 1s. in taxes, 2s. 6d. in seed, 60s. in manure, 24s. in cultivation, &c., 9s. in labour, &c, 1s. in sundries, &c. In 1875 the average yield of oats per acre was 4½ quarters, along with about 150 imperial stones of straw—the corn bringing 28s. per quarter, and the straw 8d. per stone of 22 lbs. In the following year the return of corn was rather higher, but straw less. The price of the corn, however, had fallen to 23s. 6d. per quarter. In 1878-79 oats yielded 4 quarters and 120 stones of straw, the price of the former being 21s. 1d. per quarter, and the latter 6d. per stone of 22 lbs. About an eighth of the seed sown is annually bought. In 1876 some 9 acres of moorland were reclaimed and added to the arable farm. The gross amount expended in labour on the farm during the year 1878-79 was £600, 4s., and for previous four years it was £1274, 12s. 2d. Amongst the most skilfully managed farms in the parish is that tenanted by Mr John M'Queen. Oakwood contains 1000 acres, and is attached to the sheep farm of Fauns, carrying about 28 score of blackfaced sheep. The rental of Oakwood when the farm was stocked was £750, and with interest on drains, &c, it is now rented at £833; the farm of Fauns, which only came into Mr M'Queen's possession some two years ago, is rented at £200. When Mr M'Queen entered Oakwood there were only about 500 acres arable ; since then he has broken up, limed, fenced, and improved 200 acres, about the half of which required draining. Some 60 acres of hill ground were drained at unusual depth, and limed on the surface with gratifying results. Of the land broken up 25 acres were converted into meadow, which is frequently top-dressed, while a portion of it has never been ploughed again. The farm is largely fenced with paling and wire fences, in the erection of which the tenant expended a good deal of money. Upwards of 1900 tons of lime have been spread on the farm by the present tenant, applied at the rate of 5 tons per acre. In consequence of its steepness, some of the land on the farm is difficult to cart, and the liming of such land was no easy task. Mr M'Queen says:—"At first, without knowing what results to expect, I limed several fields of old cropped land, poor, wet, and out of condition, and I might have as well put the lime down the river; it did no good whatever." A large dairy herd is kept on the farm, to which I will afterwards refer.

In 1881 Mr J. S. Howatson entered the farm of Ramsay-cleuch, of which the total rental is £400. Being essentially a sheep farm, no crops are raised, but it is well drained and fairly fenced. The stock consists of Cheviot sheep, from which the clip obtained last year was 4½ lbs. per sheep. Mr Howatson clips his sheep about the beginning of July, and dips them in October.

Another extensive upland holding is tenanted by Mr James Grieve. West Buccleuch is nearly all hill pasture, and extends to about 3100 acres. The rental per acre is 5s., which is nearly 18 per cent. higher than that of 1858. Within the past twenty-five years the land has been more closely drained than previously, the expense of which was mutually borne by the landlord and tenant. Enclosed land is all tile-drained, but pasture without the fence is dried by surface or "sheep" drains. About 2000 Cheviot sheep are kept on the holding, while a few cross calves are bred and sent down to Fairnalee, in the parish of Galashiels—occupied by Mr James Greive, junior—to be fed off as two-year olds. Mr Grieve says:—"The system of farming in the Ettrick district has undergone no change since 1858. The land is better surface-drained, however, and sheep are better provided with hay and stells during storms, but I think more might be done in the way of feeding sheep with artificial food in storms and during bleak cold springs."

The farm of Nether Phahope, occupied by Mr Charles Scott, is the highest in Selkirkshire but one. It is situated at the extreme western corner of the county, and carries about 48 score of sheep—at present one hirsel of Cheviots and the rest blackfaces and crosses. Previous to 1854, the rental was about £250 ; from 1855 to 1865, the rent was £300; from 1865 to 1874, £360; and from 1874 to 1884, £400. Last year the lease was renewed at a rental of £335. The farm affords good summer grazing, but owing to its height the climate is cold and stormy in winter. It is exclusively a sheep farm, and is rented at about 7s. per sheep.

The farming customs and the prevailing*soil in the parish of Kirkhope, which, previous to 1857 formed part of the parish of Yarrow, so strongly resemble those of the Yarrow and Ettrick districts, that no object can be served by entering into a description of individual farms within its boundaries. It is mostly devoted to the breeding and rearing of sheep, and is less extensively cropped than it was some years ago.

The Selkirkshire estate of His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch lies within the parishes of Selkirk, Kirkhope, Yarrow, Ettrick, and Roberton, and is mainly leased for sheep farming purposes. It contains some 5000 acres of enclosed arable land, 55,000 acres hill, and 1230 wood, and has a total rental of £17,000, including land in His Grace's own hands. In 1850 the rental was £13,000. The soil varies from friable haughland to clay resting on a tilly subsoil, but light soil predominates. It becomes poorer and thinner as the ground rises, and on the higher altitudes there is a good deal of till moorland and some peat moss. Farms range in size to over 4000 acres, twenty-seven being over 1000 acres, five from 500 to 1000 acres, four from 200 to 500 acres, sixteen from 20 to 50 acres, and nine from 5 to 20 acres. There are several small holdings in the Ettrick and Yarrow districts, some of which are held on lease, others from year to year. Their occupants in most cases have other trades and occupations, and where this is the case they make a good living. Improvements are continually going on, and if agreed upon at the commencement of a lease are executed without payment of interest by the tenants. Many houses have been built since 1860 and others renovated, while a considerable extent of march-fencing between hill farms has been erected. Ail-recently reclaimed land has also been enclosed. Considerable progress has been made in reclaiming land. Many fields have been brought under cultivation by the ordinary course of cropping and liming, and draining where required, within the past twenty-five years. Such land was formerly hill, worth say 6s. to 7s. per acre; it is now worth from 10s. to 15s. In some cases lately reclaimed land promises to become profitable, but in others prospects of remuneration are somewhat doubtful. Latterly all permanent improvements have been executed by the proprietor. Where any such were formerly done by the tenant, his expenditure was taken into account in fixing a new rent, or on his leaving, as the case happened. The prevailing lease is fifteen years, tenants entering their farms at Whitundsay; the out-going tenant is entitled to way-going white crops. Waygoing crops and payment for farm-yard manure are secured by the lease, also ploughing stubble by the custom of the country, The average rental per acre on the estate is about 15s. for arable land and 5s. for hill pasture. Rents were raised in 1866, but have been considerably reduced since 1881, and cases are still under consideration. They are all paid in money at Candlemas and Lammas. Farm servants are mostly married, and for the accommodation of these many handsome cottages have been built since 1860. As regards housing, they are now well provided. No special system of rotation is strictly laid down in letting or leasing of farms, but that usually followed is—(1) white crop, (2) green crop, (3) white crop sown out with grass. The cattle kept are mostly cross-bred. Not many are fattened, but those who prepare cattle for the fat market use a good deal of cake. Almost all are sheep farms, with some arable land attached, and are mostly stocked with Cheviot and blackfaced sheep, the former predominating. On several low-lying farms a number of half-bred lambs are reared. Beyond repairing old plantations, there has not been much planting since 1860. His Grace farms about 600 acres arable and 3400 hill land himself within the county.

Tushielaw is a small property in the parish of Ettrick, owned by Mr Benjamin T. Anderson. Extending in all to 2300 acres, the greater portion of the estate is under pasture. Only 150 acres are arable, and some 50 acres under wood. At one time the estate was divided into three farms, but is now consolidated, and occupied by one tenant. Several cottages have been built since 1862, and a new steading was erected in 1867. Permanent improvements have all been executed at the expense of the landlord. The farm is let on a lease of nineteen years, and wrought under the five-course shift. The cattle are chiefly crossbred, but a few Highlanders are also successfully grazed. Cheviot sheep constitute the principal hill stock. There are no crofters on the estate. About 20 acres have been planted since 1858.

The estate of Borthwickbrae, the property of Mr W. Elliot Lockhart, is situated in the parish of Roberton, on the southern side of the county. It extends to about 2658 acres, of which about 475 are arable and permanent grass, 2018 acres hill pasture, and 168 under wood. In 1858 the rental was £682, and in 1884-85 it had increased to £910. The character of the soil is variable, comprising some good medium haughland, some light sharp soil, and some till. The property is divided into three farms, viz., home farm of Borthwickbrae, Burnfoot, and Alemuir. The latter is the largest by some 652 acres, being a purely pastoral holding of 2018 acres. About 327 acres of the home farm and about 147 of Burnfoot are arable. All the farms are well fenced and provided with house accommodation. Since 1860 a few enclosures have been made, and hill march fences erected. Of the home farm about 20 acres have been reclaimed within the past twenty-five years, while 22 acres were added to Burnfoot. The new land was originally worth about 5s., and its present value cannot be estimated at much over 10s. to 15s. per acre. The reclamations have been fairly remunerative, however, to both landlord and tenant. A good deal of draining has been done since 1860, and portions of the estate liberally limed, the lime being partly ploughed in and applied partly as top-dressing. The duration of lease is either fifteen or nineteen years, with entry at Whitsunday, and separation of crop. Permanent improvements are executed by the proprietor. Rents, which are paid at Candlemas and Lammas, vary from 10s. to 40s. per acre for arable land, and 2s. 6d. to 7s. 6d. per acre for hill pasture. The farms were all re-valued in 1859 on a change of tenancy, which resulted in a rise in rent of about 30 per cent. Several handsome cottages have been built during the past twenty-five years, and the estate is now amply provided with these. The prevailing system of rotation is similar to that of the lower districts of the county, but the breaks are small, and grass is allowed to lie as long as practicable unbroken. On the home farm, Alderney and Ayrshire cows are kept for home and estate purposes. Calves are reared, but few animals are fattened. Cake is, therefore, only used to a limited extent. A few cross-bred cattle are kept on Burnfoot. The hill pastures, which consist of a mixture of heather and grass, are stocked with Cheviot sheep ; the low ground are pastured by half-breds and Leicesters. There are practically no crofters, but a blacksmith and stone-diker, each hold from year to year a few acres for their cows. Some re-planting has been performed since 1858, but no new plantations have been raised. The home farm is occupied by the proprietor, who also took possession of Burnfoot at Whitsunday 1885.

The estate of Sinton, the property of Mr Scott, is situated in a detached portion of the county, near the centre of the parish of Ashkirk. It comprises about 3000 acres, 1280 of which are arable, 1029 pasture, and 691 wood. The rental in 1858 was £2000, and in 1884 it had increased to £2130. The soil resembles that of the higher districts of the main body of the county. The estate is broken up into five farms, the respective acreages of which are 1000, 409, 280, 198, and 185. Some 230 acres are under grass parks, and 7 acres form the only croft on the property, which is occupied on a lease of five years by a labourer. The farm-steading and cottages, nearly all of which have been erected within the past fifteen years, are built of blue whinstone and freestone, and are convenient and commodious. Fences have all been renewed since 1860, while reclamation has been executed to the extent of 279 acres. All the new land required draining, and a large proportion of it was top-dressed with lime, In its original state the land was worth only about 5s. per acre, and it is now valued at from 10s. to 12s. The cost of reclamation was £15 per acre, for which the prospects of remuneration are not reassuring. About 360 acres of old land has been drained since 1860, some of which consisted of old pasture. The durations of lease are fifteen to nineteen years, and the dates of last entry to the different farms are 1865, 1873, 1882, and 1885. The landlord executed the building improvements, for which the tenants carted materials. The Agricultural Holdings Act now regulates the condition of improvements, but, owing to bad times, the cost of past ameliorations has been almost exclusively borne by the proprietor. The average rental over the estate is about £1 per acre, but as much as £2 per acre is charged for grass parks. In total rental the property has increased about £700 since 1858. The five-course shift prevails, and the farms are stocked with cross-bred shorthorn cattle chiefly bought in from other districts. As turnips are mostly consumed by sheep, very few cattle are fattened. They are usually bought in in November, and sold in February and March. Some farms use a good deal of cake in feeding, especially when straw is plentiful. The farms are all largely under sheep, and the pasture is moderately rich. Cheviots and half-breds are the dominant breeds. Some 39 acres have been planted since 1858.

Lord Napier and Ettrick, who recently presided over the Crofters' Commission in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, is the owner of a property situated partly in Ettrick and partly in Yarrow. This property is divided into seven farms, and also includes a few small holdings tenanted by independent labourers or rural mechanics. The farms being purely pastoral, and at a high elevation, have not been the scene of any conspicuous improvement; but since his Lordship's succession most of the buildings have been renewed or added to, and appropriate works of drainage and fencing have been undertaken, with the customary co-operation on the part of the tenants. The small holdings consist of a few acres of pasture and meadow attached to the habitations of the labouring people, so that every family occupies a decent dwelling, and is the possessor of at least one milch cow, a pig, and poultry ; while some possess a horse and other kinds of live-stock, paying rents rather higher than would be paid by farmers for the same area. The rent of the property, after sharing the general rise in the returns from land during the years of comparative prosperity, has recently suffered a reduction of nearly 20 per cent., which is approximately the case over the county at large.

Other generous and enterprising landlords within the county-could be mentioned, such, for instance, as Mr Scott of Gala, whose estate is approximately estimated at about 3500 acres, and roughly valued at £3000; Mrs Pringle Pattison of Haining; Mr Johnstone of Alva; and Lord Elibank, &c,—all of whom have increased the value of their respective possessions more or less since 1860.

Selkirkshire, in the words of a well-known farmer, has been blessed with good lairds, and it would almost seem, from the progress of the past twenty-five or thirty years, as if they vied with each other as to who would do most for the comfort and welfare of their tenants; and, on the other hand, the tenants have been ever ready to bear an active share of any work or outlay calculated to better their own or their lairds' position. Thus the utmost harmony and good feeling has long existed between landlords and tenants, and both classes have worked energetically for the improvement of the great and noble industry in which they are engaged.

The Agricultural Depression in Selkirkshire.

The deep-seated depression which has brooded over British agriculture for several years, has been, and is being, acutely felt in this as well as other Scottish counties. This fact is borne out by the leading farmers of the county, who were the first to suffer from its effects, and whose opinions were elicited by Mr Hope for the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the agricultural depression a few years ago. Mr Elliot, Hollybush, evidenced the existence of the depression by stating that farms which had of late years come into the market had been letting at greatly reduced rates. He knew many farmers who, but for restraining leases, would relinquish their farms, and it was needless to state that all of them had been losing money largely for a number of years. Mr William Lyal, Caddonlee, had a similar story to tell. He does not think the fall in the value of land let of recent years over-estimated at 30 per cent. The late Mr William Brown, Helmburn, exemplified the severity of the depression by the fact that his farm had not paid the expenses of working it for several years. Mr Elliot, Blackhaugh, observed symptoms of suffering among farmers almost every day. There had been little or no liming of land going on of late, and what draining had recently been done was to a large extent executed with Government money. And this was something new, for he did not know of any county where so much money had been expended upon the improvement of land by farmers, out of their own pockets, as in Selkirkshire. Numerous other opinions I could give, if further evidence were needed, to show the extent to which the agricultural interest of this county has been injured by the existing depression. The strictly pastoral parts of it did not suffer so readily as the crop-producing districts, but latterly there has also been a heavy drain of pastoral farmers' capital. In response to a query by Mr Hope for the Royal Commission in 1880, Mr Elliot, Blackhaugh, said there had been only two years—1874 and 1875—during the previous decade in which farmers had paid full rents; and, from the character of the seasons and the irregular and often unremunerative prices of farm produce since then, that statement may be regarded as applicable to the past fifteen years.

The causes of these unfortunate circumstances are various, though not altogether unaccountable. For some time after the Crimean war "famine" prices prevailed, and labour, manure, and feeding stuffs were comparatively cheap, and farming was in a prosperous state. Through repeated invasions of disease among herds and flocks, however, together with persistent rising of rent and cost of labour and manure, and an unhealthy demand for farms by non-practical men, times suddenly changed, and became as gloomy as they ever were bright. All these, aggravated as they have been by a succession of cold, wet, unfavourable seasons, have worked with combined force in bringing disaster to the door of almost every Selkirkshire farmer. The remedy or remedies for the depression are not so easily defined as its causes. Farmers hold that rents are too high in the majority of cases, and that a permanent reduction is absolutely necessary. They also indulge the belief that compensation for permanent improvements would go a long way in helping them out of their difficulties. They complain of foreign competition, and one prominent agriculturalist demurs to Americans taxing British wool, while they send so much of their farm produce to British markets, and insists upon the farmers of this country being placed on a more equal footing

On another farm, 1050 acres in extent—whose annual rental is £418, 11s.; consumpt of manure, £137 ; and of feeding stuffs, £98, 12s.—the loss reported (inclusive of interest on capital and personal management) is £550.

There is little need of further comment upon these statements. They substantiate what I have said regarding the effects of the agricultural depression in Selkirkshire, and demonstrate more clearly than words could show the unprofitable character of farming in recent years.

Rents—Leases—Rotation—Size of Farms

Rents.—Where soil is so variable as in Selkirkshire, it may be inferred as a natural consequence that farm rents are irregular. In the neighbourhood of the burghs of Galashiels and Selkirk, as much as 40s. and 50s. are given per acre for some good land; while rents generally throughout the county may be said to range from 30s. to 5s. per acre. There is not much land rented at 30s. per acre; nor would it need to be; the great proportion of the arable land of the county is not worth 20s. per acre. An intelligent farmer says, " the arable land between Selkirk and Galashiels may be termed useful pound-an-acre land," and we endorse his opinion; but it is a common experience that land even in these parts is too highly rented. A pound-an-acre is about the average rental in the parishes of Galashiels and Selkirk, but in Stow rents are cheaper, ranging from 10s. to 18s. In Yarrow the arable rental is about 15s., while that of hill pasture is about 8s. per sheep, or about 5s. per acre. This remark may be also said to apply to all the other pastoral districts of Selkirkshire. On the south side of the county there are exceptional cases of arable land being rented as high as 30s. and 40s., but generally speaking the average is under 20s.; while 20s. is about the average rental in the detached portion of Selkirk. An Ettrick farmer says, "grazing farms in this district, 'taken' from ten to fifteen years ago, range from 9s. to 10s. per acre, but those 'entered' within the past five years have fallen in rental to about 8s. per acre." It is true rents have been falling considerably over the whole county of recent years—that is to say, where leases have been renewed. On the Buccleuch estate, for instance, rents were raised in 1866, but considerably reduced in 1881. Since then, too, reductions have been given as opportunity afforded and circumstances demanded. We have heard of more cases than one in which the rent has been abated from 25 to 30 per cent. within the past few years. Rents, which are all paid in money, are usually collected at Candlemas and Lammas.

Leases.—As may be gathered from previous remarks, the duration of lease in Selkirkshire is more irregular than in many larger counties. On the Buccleuch estate the fifteen years' lease prevails, while on some other properties it varies from fourteen to nineteen years. Crofts are sometimes held from year to year; a few are let on short leases. In-coming tenants commonly take possession of their new holdings at Whitsunday, the out-going tenant in most cases being entitled to the way-going white crop.

Rotation.—As in the case of leases, the systems of rotation vary considerably. This, however, is always the case in hilly counties where mixed farming is carried on. Over the lower districts the five-course shift is adopted with few exceptions, but the past few years have tended to diminish the popularity of this system. In the parishes of Yarrow and Ettrick this rotation is also prevalent to some extent, but as no specific course is laid down by the regulations of some estates, including that of the Duke of Buccleuch, the six, seven, and eight courses are practised to some extent. The five-course shift, however, has long been a favourite, and may yet be termed the "county system;" but the unsatisfactory results of crop growing of recent years have led farmers to contemplate a change—to let their land lie longer under grass. Under the five-shift course the crops grown are—(1) white crop, (2) green crop, (3) white crop, (4) hay and grass, (5) grass. In the six, seven, and eight shifts the same crops are raised in the same order or sequence, but the land is allowed to lie longer in pasture.

Size of Farms.—There are fewer crofts in the county than there were some twenty-five years ago, but there are still some to be met with. Farms vary in size up to 1000 acres; several of the farmers occupy more than one holding. At present the farms of the county are classed (together with the acreage of each class) as follows:—

Less than ten years previously there were some 140 farms in the first class, and fewer than at present in the second class, which points to consolidation or extension of the larger holdings at a sacrifice of the smaller ones.

Buildings, Drains, Fences, and Roads.

Buildings.—The progress of the past twenty-five years is perhaps more strikingly illustrated in the improvement of farm-buildings than in any other respect. Be this as it may, the county is well provided with buildings of all descriptions, and many of them have been built from the foundation since 1860. Others have been repaired and extended, and the expense of improvement has generally been borne by the landlord, the tenants performing the cartage work. There are exceptional cases, however, in which tenants improved their buildings at their own expense, and where they are advanced money on interest for this purpose. One of the most noticeable features perhaps, to the casual visitor, is the general excellence of farmers' dwelling-houses and servants' cottages throughout Selkirkshire. Farm servants in particular are more comfortably housed than in almost any of the other counties in Scotland. Cottage accommodation is abundant on almost every farm, and it is as advantageous to all concerned as it is desirable to the class more directly benefited that it should be so. Some farm-steadings, too, would be difficult to surpass for accommodation and convenience, while old buildings are still being gradually superseded by new and improved steadings. Most of the more modern steadings comprise covered cattle courts, which are found of great advantage in the manufacture of farm-yard manure, as well as for the freedom and comfort of stock. As a whole, Selkirkshire is entitled to rank well forward amongst Scottish counties as regards farm buildings.

Drains.—The tenacious character of the soil and subsoil in many parts of the county has rendered extensive draining indispensable, and the operation of cutting drains expensive. Some twenty or twenty-five years ago, a great extent of land was drained with Government money, the drains being cut as deep as 4 feet, but this was subsequently found to be far too deep for the peculiar character of the soil. Further outlay was thus involved in securing a more thorough drainage, which might have been in a great measure averted had a more suitable depth been adopted at the outset. Where the soil is very retentive and tilly, 2½ feet is a common depth, while in lighter soils drains are often cut to the depth of about 3 feet. The cost of draining is in some cases exclusively defrayed by the landlord ; in others, the landlord performs the work, and charges the tenant 5 per cent. interest on the outlay. Government money has been a great aid to farmers of recent years in repairing drains, and perfecting their system of drainage. The close succession of wet seasons has had a disastrous effect on the drainage in some districts of the county, and drains are found to need cleaning out oftener than formerly. The pastures on some hill farms have in several instances been vastly improved by surface draining—i.e., open drains; and, while this system is found to answer the design for which it was adopted, it is less expensive and laborious than tile-draining, which only prevails on hill pasture to a limited extent.

Fences.—The enclosing and dividing of farms by fencing is much more complete now than it was twenty or thirty years ago. All the arable farms are thoroughly fenced, chiefly with stone walls or dykes, while not a little hill pasture has [been partially enclosed. Wire-fencing is not so extensively used as in most of the other counties of Scotland; nor is paling, stone dykes being as a rule considered preferable. They afford more shelter to stock, even including hedges, which though once pretty common, are now seldom to be seen, and are quite as durable. They vary in size, but from 4½ to 5 feet is a common height, and the cost of erection ranges from 4s. to 5s. per rood of 6 yards, exclusive of quarrying and carting. In the Yarrow and Ettrick districts wire-fencing is more largely used than in the eastern division of the county, and the work of extending or repairing enclosures on hill farms is almost constantly in progress.

Roads.—In respect of roads Selkirkshire is abundantly supplied. So late as 1788, however, there was not a single carriage road in it; and for many years thereafter roads were very defective, and bridges all but unknown. Indeed, as Hogg tells us, these were never put into anything like a complete state of repair until Lord Napier settled in the county; and to his perseverance Ettrick Forest is largely indebted for the excellence of its roads, as well as many other improvements. The county has long had a special Road Act for itself, and for many years its inhabitants have enjoyed excellently engineered and well-kept roads. The landlords bear the expense of constructing new roads and bridges, and the repairing of the latter, the roads being maintained at the mutual expense of landlords and tenants.

Grain Crops.

From its large pastoral interests Selkirkshire cannot be classified as one of the eleven " corn " counties of Scotland. Nor is it included in the agricultural returns as one of the six pastoral shires. We find it grouped amongst the sixteen mixed pastoral and corn counties of Scotland, which we consider to be its proper place. Generally speaking, the county is designated " a small pastoral shire in the south of Scotland," but this does not imply that it is exclusively devoted to pastoral farming. It is extensively cropped in the eastern district, and more or less also in the middle and western parts, but of recent years crop growing has been very unprofitable. Nevertheless, oats and barley, and occasionally a little wheat, are still raised in considerable quantities. The quality of the grain in good years is usually satisfactory, but it has been customary on a number of upland farms, where the greater part of the holdings are under pasture, to consume all the grain on the farm. The following table shows the acreage under the different corn crops in various years:—

A diminution is thus exhibited during the past twenty-five years in the extent of land devoted to the production of corn. By subtracting the acreage under white crop in 1885 from that of 1857, a falling off of 833 acres is discovered, while the decline of the past seven years represents an acreage of 410. Cereals are generally sown as soon after the 1st of March as weather permits, and the land can be prepared to receive the seed ; and harvest, as already indicated, extends from about the 25th of August to the end of the first week of October.

Wheat.—It will be seen from the foregoing table that this cereal has been rapidly losing ground since 1857; and there is no prospect of it being resuscitated to any appreciable extent. It has become unremunerative in other parts of the country better adapted for its growth than Selkirkshire, and, being a deep-rooting and expensive plant to cultivate, it is likely to be wholly abandoned in this county. Its usual yield was about 26 bushels per acre.

Barley.—Less than half a century ago, Scotch bere was cultivated to a considerable extent, but latterly it has been displaced by barley, which is practically an improved kind of bere. Since 1870 barley has also been on the wane. Though it has not declined so much as wheat, it has undergone a considerable diminution of recent years. It is usually seeded at the rate of 3 to 4 bushels per acre, the ordinary return being about 4½ quarters. In good years, barley weighs from 56 to 58 lbs. per bushel.

Oats.—This is the staple crop of the county. It has also decreased in extent somewhat since 1870, but it is certain to retain its hold of the county. Sown with an allowance of from 4 to 5 bushels of seed per acre, the yield varies from 3½ to 4½ quarters, the grain weighing from 42 to 44 lbs. per bushel.

Rye, Beans, and Pease.—Neither of these crops are cultivated so largely as they were ten or fifteen years ago. Rye and pease have increased of recent years, but beans seem to have entirely died out. The pease are used for feeding purposes in the "fall" of the year, and are generally ground before being supplied to stock.

The following are the fiars' prices of the county for various years since 1831:—

Hay, Grass, and Permanent Pasture.—Hay is raised in moderate quantities. It consists chiefly of a mixture of cock's-foot and Timothy grasses and clover, and is seeded at the rate of from\ to 2 bushels per acre. It is used in fattening cattle, feeding horses, and in bringing sheep stocks through severe snowstorms. It yields fairly well on the heavier soils.

I may here recapitulate that the farming tendency of recent-years has been in the direction of converting land previously cropped into permanent pasture. If there has been any change in the system of farming since 1860, it has been in the way of laying down land to pasture; but the terms of lease, upon which the majority of farms are held, have to some extent hindered this departure from regular rotation. The probability is, however, that the extent of permanent grass will be largely developed during the next few years. It seems to be the most suitable and profitable course to pursue, so long at least as continental or foreign producers can undersell British farmers in home grain markets.

The extent of grass and hay under rotation and permanent pasture since 1857 may be given thus :—

No great advance is indicated by these figures. Nor did we expect to find an enormous increase of recent years. Though the tendency has existed for several years, there are good reasons why no material alteration in the system of farming has as yet taken place. Apart from any restrictions inculcated by the terms of lease in many cases, farmers have, in common with their brother agriculturists in other parts of the country, not had sufficient security for their capital invested in the soil to induce them to attempt the expensive operation of laying land down to permanent grass on an extensive scale. And there is still another and probably more important obstacle in the way. Much of the land, as we have already hinted, will not grow grass for many years in succession, and this difficulty, if at all surmountable, must be got over by more liberal manuring, which means an increased expenditure of money.

Green Crops.—The following table shows the extent of land devoted to the culture of roots and green crops in the county in different years:—

Turnips.—There has been little variation in the extent of turnips since 1857. In 1878 there was a considerable increase, but since then the crop has been repeatedly injured by fly, "finger-and-toe," and other maladies. This, together with its' costliness, tended to diminish its cultivation, and to encourage the partial growth of substitutes, such as cabbages and rape. In preparing land for turnips, all the farm-yard manure made at the time of ploughing is ploughed in during autumn, and the land turned with a deep furrow, is allowed to lie intact until spring. It is observed to benefit from the pulverising agency of frost during winter when left in this open state, and to be more friable for spring tillage than land that is left unbroken until winter is over. In spring it is either ploughed a second time or grubbed on the majority of farms, and in some cases it is both ploughed and grubbed. It is then harrowed and sometimes "dragged" and after being reduced to a fine tilth and thoroughly cleaned, it is drilled. The remainder of the farm-yard manure is then applied to land that was not dunged in autumn, and the whole field gets an allowance of from 5 cwt. to 8 cwt. of artificial manure—the manure being almost wholly sown in the drills.

It may be observed that for a number of years several farmers have applied the farm-yard manure to lea instead of stubbles, and that the turnip was thus the second crop to participate in the stimulant. This system is supposed to enable the farmer to take better advantage of the manure than when it is incorporated with land laid out for the turnip break, but of course it entails an increased supply of artificial manure to the turnip crop.

The expense of cultivating turnips was alluded to in the description of the systems of farming pursued, and need not be repeated here. That it is the most costly crop grown is a well-known fact, and a very serious loss is sustained if roots are destroyed by disease or frost, or prevented from growing by unseasonable weather. Swedish turnips, which are not extensively grown, are sown as soon after the first week of May as possible, at the rate of from 3½ lbs. to 5 lbs. of seed per acre, and yellow turnips are sown immediately after the Swedes with 2½ to 3 lbs. of seed. Singling takes place from the 5th to the middle of June, and if it lingers longer than the 20th of that month it is considered late. Swedish turnips yield at the rate of from 16 to 20 tons per acre, and yellow turnips from 15 to 18 tons.

Potatoes.—It has never been the practice in Selkirkshire to grow potatoes for the market. They are grown on every farm for home use, but their cultivation receives comparatively little attention. They were introduced into the county about 1745, and were regarded as a luxury for many years. For a long period, however, they have been within reach of the poorer people, and now constitute an important item of diet among the working classes. A common allowance of seed is 20 bushels per acre, which generally yields from 3 to 6 tons.

Cabbages, Rape, and Vetches.—These have been regaining lost ground for a year or two. Cabbages are grown to a considerable extent in lowland farms for stock-feeding purposes, and have largely increased of late. They are a favourite feed with cattle and sheep, and are chiefly supplied to breeding ewes and store cattle in the fall of the year, when pastures require eking out. Rape is raised in the latter end of the year, for the support of hoggs, and is an important crop in the event of turnip failures. Vetches are used in the feeding of stock as a sort of connecting link between the summer and winter foods. They are nutritive when fresh, and are liberally supplied to store stock during the latter half of the autumn season.

Cattle.—The breeding and rearing of cattle is not so largely carried on as the nature of the county, from an agricultural point of view, might lead one to expect. Many farmers believe that more cattle might be bred with advantage. The other side of the question, too, has numerous supporters. The feeling is thus pretty equally divided ; but it is strongly governed by the well-known maxim of supply and demand. At present, for instance, cattle can be bought in at almost any age more profitably than they could be bred on the farm, and while this state of matters continues the attention devoted to breeding will naturally decrease. But an early recovery of prices to what may be called the remunerative or wonted level, would have an entirely different effect. Increased attention would undoubtedly be turned to stock-breeding, and we consider the greater part of Selkirkshire better adapted for the breeding than the fattening of cattle. We shall be better able to discuss the subject, however, after comparing present with past numbers of cattle, of different ages, thus:—

These figures show a larger increase in the class under two years old since 1857, than has actually taken place. The returns for that year comprise calves only, whereas those of the later years mentioned include all cattle under two years old But making due allowance for this, it is evident that there has been a step in the right direction within the past twenty-five years. The aggregate numbers, it will be seen, have not been largely swollen, still the fact that cows and young stock have increased, points to a change for the better.

A decided falling off has occurred in the number of non-breeding cattle, two-years old and upwards ; still more cattle are fattened now than thirty or forty years ago. This assertion sounds rather peculiar in presence of the fact that there has been a manifest decline in the number of cattle "of the feeding-age since 1857, but the inconsistency disappears when we consider what improved breeding and superior skill and management have done for the earlier maturing of stock.

That the cattle of the county have undergone great improvement during the past twenty-five years cannot be doubted They are with one or two exceptions entirely cross-bred stock, combining useful and popular strains, the exceptions referred to being a sprinkling of Highland cattle on some high-lying farms. Shorthorn blood has circulated freely for a long period, and this has contributed in no small degree to the obvious amelioration of stock.

Considering the nature of the district a good many cattle, are fattened west of the parish of Selkirk, while on almost every farm a few calves are reared. In the parishes of Galashiels, Stow, and Selkirk the number of bullocks fattened is much larger. Their main diet consists of turnips and hay or straw, but extraneous stuffs are also liberally used. In the western districts much less artificial food is consumed, still in a few cases some very good well-fed animals are brought out. Where cake and meals are used they are moderately fed at the outset, and increased as the animals mature. There is no special time of disposing of stock. Fattening cattle are sold as soon as they arrive at maturity, and they usually weigh from 6 to 8 cwt. before being consigned to the slaughter-house. Store cattle, as it were, ebb and flow as circumstances demand, but upland farmers who do not go in for fattening usually sell off their surplus stock during autumn.

Excepting the small herd of shorthorns already referred to on the farm of Dryhope in the parish of Yarrow, and bulls of the same breed kept by farmers for crossing purposes, no pedigree cattle are kept in the county.

Dairying.—Selkirkshire is not particularly well suited for dairy-farming; nevertheless this branch of industry is carried on to a wonderful extent. The two principal dairies are those on the farms of Rink and Oakwood, the former in the parish of Galashiels, and the latter in the parish of Selkirk.

On the farm of Rink, Mr Riddell used to fatten about 60 cattle annually, but for several years past he has kept a dairy herd of from 60 to 70 cows, from which he supplies the inhabitants of Galashiels—of which the farm is within three miles— with sweet milk, morning and evening. His dairy is conducted on the feeding-off principle; all the cows are sold off fat within the year in which they are bought. This practice of fattening incurs an enormous amount of expense and labour, and is difficult to manage. These, however, would not be grudged if this system of dairying were more remunerative. Mr Riddell has found it much less profitable of late than formerly, owing to the rise in the price of cows at calving, by which he augments his herd, and the fall in the value of fat cows. The whole of the produce of the herd is sold in sweet milk and butter. The cows are liberally fed with expensive food, and yield from 2½ to 3 gallons of milk per day. For sweet milk he gets from 9d. to 10d. per gallon the whole year round, while butter varies in price from 10d. to 15d. per lb.

On the farm of Oakwood, Mr M'Queen formed the first dairy herd in the county. There was not such a thing as a milk-cart in Selkirkshire when he started his dairy, and now, he says, there are from twelve to fourteen. At one time he kept 70 cows, but he has now only 50, the principal reason for reducing their number being that he was ploughing less land than formerly, and had not sufficient fodder to maintain the larger herd. For some years he had the cows in his own possession. Latterly, however, he let them to a bower—a west country dairyman—who carries on the dairy. Mr M'Queen provides grass and fodder, and the bower supplies all the necessary artificial food. Mr M'Queen used to get as much as 1s. a gallon for sweet milk, but the price has now dwindled to 9d. Butter, which is all made from sweet milk, brings 1s. 6d. per lb. all the year round, the butter milk being sold at from 3d. to 4d. per gallon. The produce of this dairy is also disposed of in the shape of sweet milk, butter, and buttermilk, the centres of consumpt being Selkirk and Galashiels. The cows used both at Rink and Oakwood are chiefly large-framed shorthorn crosses.

The fact that there are now twelve or fourteen milk carts in use in so small a county has a significant meaning. The inhabitants of towns are not only privileged with an abundant daily supply of milk and butter, but they have also the advantage of a strongly competitive supply, which means a reduction in the value of dairy produce.

Besides the county dairies, which supply Galashiels with milk and butter, some 200 cows are kept within that burgh.

Horses.—For its size and importance this county is possessed of an exceptionally fine class of agricultural horses. The old-fashioned types lingered long after the advent of the century, but have latterly been superseded by a much superior breed. Cross-bred horses are more numerous than pure bred animals in the upper districts; but from the persistent use of excellent Clydesdale stallions for a series of years, most of the farmers of the eastern division have reared studs of the latter sort. The improvement which has thus taken place originated from a paper read at Galashiels by Dr M'Dougall of Carlisle, some eighteen years ago. The paper was followed by a discussion which resulted in the formation of "The Galashiels District Society for the Improvement of Horses." This society began its laudable work by offering a premium of £40 for a horse to travel the district, and deputing a few of its members to attend the Glasgow Spring Show for the purpose of selecting a stallion. This system soon commended itself, and it has been most successfully carried on down to the present day. So pleased were the farmers of the district with the issue of the movement that the society gradually increased their premium until it has exactly doubled itself since 1868. Several of the many fine horses that have travelled the district during the past eighteen years proved themselves, by show-yard demonstration, the best stallions of their day, indeed it may safely be said that there was not an inferior animal amongst them. The first animal selected in 1868 was "Conqueror" (197), which was first prize stallion of his age at the Highland and Agricultural Society's Show in 1869. He was followed by "Rantin' Robin " (685), the only horse that ever broke the renowned "Prince of Wales" show-yard success. He accomplished this feat at Dumfries in 1870, and was subsequently sold to an Australian breeder at the long price of £1500. In 1870 the horse selected was "Prince Arthur" (621), which was first winner at the Royal English Show as a two-year old. Then came " Prince of Wales" (674), which was succeeded by "Sir Walter Scott" (799) in 1872. In 1873 "Young Surprise" (1034) was the premium winner, and he was followed by "Thumper," the only horse of English blood that has travelled the district since 1868. "Honest Davie" (386) found his way into Selkirkshire in 1875, while "Pride of Galloway" (601) was so impressive as to have borne the Selkirkshire banner for the two successive seasons of 1876 and 1877, and also of 1880. The descendants of this horse, not a few of which are still in use in the county, display exceptionally good quality. In 1878 the successful horse was "Victor" (895), which also left very good stock. "Springfield Laddie" (818) followed in 1879; while in 1881 the premium fell to "Tinwald" (1544), which was a prize winner at the Royal English Show at Kilburn. The hero of 1882 was "Up to Time" (2490), whose "shoes were filled" by "Gallant Lad" (2781), the Glasgow and Aberdeen champion of the present year. Three horses—viz., "Laird of Northglen" (2216), "The Clews" (3523), and "John Brown" (2886)—divided the season of 1884, and "Master of Blantyre" (2283) was chosen for the present year (1885). It will be seen from the stallions named that the society, which has an able secretary in Mr Andrew Elliot, New-hall, has been fortunate in obtaining the services of the best material in the country ever since its commencement. Consequently the effects, as already indicated, produced on the agricultural horses of the county have been very marked, notwithstanding that the stallions were often used to mares of only middling quality. A good number of foals are reared every year, and the Clydesdale type is likely to become predominant at no distant date. The number of horses in the county from time to time since 1857 was as follows:—In 1857, 763 ; 1870, 574; 1878, 584; and in 1885, 567. A considerable decrease appears to have occurred since 1857, but this is largely accounted for by the fact that fewer saddle horses are now kept than were in use twenty-five or thirty years ago.


In keeping with most of the other Scottish counties, Selkirkshire cannot be accredited with having developed the minor branches of its agriculture to anything approaching their fullest extent. Swine breeding has ever been neglected, and there is not much interest attaching to this department of the farm at the present day. There rule, one or two pigs about the larger farms, and occasionally a breeding sow, but their numbers might, we think, be considerably and profitably increased. The number of swine in 1857 was 474; in 1870, 381; in 1878, 418; and in 1885, 495. There are thus more pigs now than in 1857, or any of the intervening years mentioned; yet it is somewhat strange to relate that there are still nearer six than five farms for every pig in the county.

Poultry.—Every farm has its poultry yard and poultry, but this industry too would admit of greater development. According to the agricultural returns for the present year, there are only 7516 poultry in the county, which seems remarkably few. These are classified thus:—84 turkeys, 100 geese, 983 ducks, and 6347 fowls. Shepherds and hinds' wives eke out their husbands' earnings to a considerable extent by the breeding and selling of poultry, more attention being devoted to the poultry yard by these, than is the case on the great majority of farms.

Markets.—The principal farming business, excepting in grain, so far as marketing is concerned, is transacted without the county, i.e., the great bulk of the live stock is disposed of at St Boswells, Hawick, Kelso, and Peebles auction marts. The sheep of the lower districts are chiefly consigned to St Boswells, and those of the higher or western districts are sold at Hawick and Peebles. Weekly grain markets are held at Galashiels and Selkirk, the former on Tuesday and the latter on Wednesday, but they are generally poorly attended. The hiring fairs for the county are held in the burgh of Selkirk.

Labour.—It is no difficult task to account for the paucity of farm labourers in Selkirkshire, and the consequent advance of wages during the past twenty-five years. The many factories that have grown up within that time in the county have supplied employment to many people formerly engaged in agriculture, and more remunerative employment than farmers could afford to give. This has been the great cause of the scarcity of casual labour, which has occasioned so much inconvenience to farmers for some time past. The factory attractions have more noticeably affected the supply of female workers than that of male servants. The latter can still be had at good wages, but the former are very difficult to find. The great majority of the ploughmen and shepherds are married, and their families are frequently employed on the same farms as themselves. These are found very valuable at certain seasons. Wages, though not quite so high at present as they were a few years ago, are estimated by one farmer to have increased about 33 per cent. for men and 26 per cent. for women. Another lowland farmer says—"The wages of ploughmen varied from £16 to £18 in 1860, and now they average £22 in money per annum, besides a free house and garden, 1200 yards of potatoes, the milk of a cow, and coals driven free of charge." A well-informed Ettrick farmer says—"Ploughmen get £20 in money and a cow kept. If the ploughman cannot buy a cow, the master has to provide one, and the ploughman gets her produce in addition to 65 stones of oatmeal, 1200 yards of potatoes, 1 ton of coals, and £1 for harvest meat." Day labourers get from 1s. 3d. to 1s. 6d. per day, besides their food, while shepherds get from £8 to £10 more than hinds. Wages have risen quite 20 per cent. since 1860. A Yarrow farmer says—"Wages run from 15s. to 16s. per week, with free house and potatoes for ploughmen, and from 8s. to 9s. per week for workers by the day. Shepherds, paid in money, get about £30 per annum, keep for a cow, 1000 yards of potatoes, and 60 stones of oatmeal." In many cases, however, they are employed on other than money terms. In such cases they get keep for from 35 to 42 sheep and a cow, and are allowed potatoes and meal. During harvest and turnip hoeing the ordinary farm forces are largely augmented by Irishmen. Additional hands thus employed, besides their food, get from 6s. to 8s. a week for turnip singling, and from 14s. to 18s. pet-week in harvest. Their food consists usually of porridge and milk morning and evening, and a "bap" or one-third of a quarter loaf and a bottle of beer for dinner. At Selkirk half-yearly hiring fair in 1885 able-bodied ploughmen were engaged at from £10 to £12; younger and less experienced hands from £6 to £8; lads, £3 to £5; and young women, £7 to £9,—all for the half year, with board.

The working classes in this county are undoubtedly in a much better position now than they were twenty or thirty years ago. They have excellent cottage accommodation, and are better cared for in every way than formerly. Their fare is wholesome and good, they clothe themselves well, and with sure earnings they are in many cases more comfortably situated than their employers.

Sheep-Farming.—But for the fact that I have so often alluded in preceding pages to the systems of sheep management, &c, it would be necessary for me now to enlarge upon this subject—the right arm of the agriculture of the county. As it is, however, I have little fresh information to impart. The methods of management only vary with the breeds, and every breed has its peculiar demands upon the time, attention, and means of the farmer. On many farms, at least two different varieties of sheep are kept. The higher grounds are occupied by Cheviots and blackfaces, while cross-bred sheep with a sprinkling of Leicesters and Downs, inhabit the lower parts. It would be difficult to define the relative proportion which the different breeds bear to each other, or where one breed ends and another begins ; but it may be said that Cheviots are still greatly in the majority. Below Selkirk there are no blackfaced sheep, but of recent years they have been regaining lost ground in the upper reaches of the county. This fact arises from two important causes—(1) the great decline in the value of Cheviot wool, and (2) the hardier and better adapted nature of the black-faced breed to withstand the severity of the climate during untoward seasons.

That the blackfaced breed is destined to regain, at no distant date, its former pre-eminence, is contended by some reformers, but the movement in this direction has as yet been slow and doubtful. It is, therefore, impossible to speak with any degree of certainty as to the extent to which it may redeem the territory it surrendered to the Cheviot when the "battle" began. The flocks, both in the higher and lower districts, are largely breeding sheep, and being divided into hirsels, numbering from 28 to 40 scores each, are placed under the charge of careful shepherds. At one time smearing with tar and butter was practised, as in many other parts of the country, but this has been entirely abandoned, and dipping on many of the higher farms is only performed once a year. A large number of farmers, however, dip their sheep twice a year—in autumn and in spring. Hoggs depastured on low-lying land are almost always twice dipped, the favourite dips being Macdougall's and Bigg's compositions. A cheaper dip is used on some of the upland farms. It consists of pitch oil, costing only 6d. a gallon, which is found adequate for a hundred sheep. Carbolic oil is also used to some extent, 1½ gallon of which is allowed per hundred sheep. The cost of dipping in this case is about 1s. per hundred. Regarding the carbolic dip, a Yarrow farmer says—"This dip has been greatly used in recent years in this neighbourhood, and I prefer it to most other dips, not taking price into consideration." Almost every farm has its dipping trough, and the operation of dipping is usually performed by four men. The trough and its adjuncts are so constructed as to prevent the waste of dip, which the older systems of dipping extravagantly entailed.

The tups are generally put to the ewe stock about the 20th of October in the lower districts, and fully a month later on hill farms. Cheviot ewes are largely mated with Leicester tups. The lambs produced by this union are found not only to mature earlier than pure bred lambs, but to carry more mutton, while the latter commands good sale in the fat market. These, like blackfaced hoggs, are partly sold off at weaning time, but a considerable number are transferred from the higher pasture to the lower, and fattened on hay and cake, in addition to what they are able to provide for themselves.

The county has long been famous for its production of lambs. Referring to this fact, a farmer writes—"The lambs from this district, presented annually at St Boswells Fair, are the 'cracks' of Scotland, a fact due to the care exercised in the selection of tups and ewes from which to breed, and the superior management of their owners." The same farmer says—"As a rule, farms range from 500 to 800 acres in extent, the tenant resident, and the most made of everything; but with wool, mutton, and beef at 'zero,' they find it difficult, even under these favourable circumstances, to get ends to meet."

The yield of wool varies according to the nature and altitude of the pasture, and generally rims from 3½ to 4½ lbs. per head. Eild sheep are usually clipped about the third week of June, and ewes in the first week of July. Cast ewes, as a rule, are sold in the fall of the year, generally in October. The fall in the prices of all classes of sheep during the past two years— particularly within the past twelve months—has been enormous. The number of sheep in the county at present as compared with that of former years is as follows:—In 1857, 145,732; 1870, 152,418; 1878, 167,556; and in 1885, 164,314. Increase since 1857, 18,582; decrease since 1878, 3242.

Beyond a few instances of blackfaced sheep having been substituted for Cheviots, and the increased attention devoted to the fattening of lambs, little alteration has occurred in the systems of sheep-farming since 1860. Indeed, these, unless we include the improvement of the sheep themselves and the more liberal provision of shelter on exposed pastures, are the only noteworthy changes effected by the progress of the past twenty-five years. There has always been a comparatively heavy death-rate among the flocks in Selkirkshire, and the mortality has if anything increased of recent years. This, however, is not due to any lack of care or wisdom on the parts of either farmers or shepherds. The utmost care is bestowed on their flocks by both classes. Their busy times are the lambing, clipping, weaning, and dipping seasons, but the busiest and most anxious time of all is during the winter storms.

Agricultural Societies and Clubs.

That the agricultural clubs connected with the county of Selkirk have greatly encouraged the improvement of farm stock cannot be doubted. We have had an instance of what the society formed in 1868 has done for the improvement of horses, and it is frankly admitted that the Selkirk Pastoral Society, which is one of the oldest in the county, has given a powerful impetus to stock-breeding. This (venerable) institution, inaugurated, if we mistake not, at Thirlestane, by the father of the present Lord Napier and Ettrick, for a long period of its existence held its annual show alternately in Ettrick and Yarrow, but for some time past Selkirk has been the seat of the exhibition. The Selkirk Farmers' Club, which is distinct from the Pastoral Society, meets monthly in the town of Selkirk, for the purpose of discussing agricultural subjects. The annual show of the Galashiels Farmers' Club, which embraces the whole of Selkirkshire and the Gala Water district, in which there is also a farmers' club, has been growing in importance for many years, and, as regards horses and sheep, it may be classed as one of the best district shows in the eastern counties of Scotland.

Farming Implements.

The agricultural implements of the county have advanced with the times. The rude ploughs and harrows referred to in our "retrospective glance" are obsolete, and the most modern and approved instruments of tillage in vogue. Reapers are extensively used, especially in the lower districts of the county; still the scythe has not been entirely superseded. The use of the latter, however, is now largely confined to the smaller holdings of the upper districts; but the steepness of some of the land under cultivation obviates any risk of its total abandonment, even on lowland farms.

Industries, not Agricultural.

I now resume my reference to the non-agricultural industries of the county to which I briefly alluded in my introductory remarks. They are too important to be merely mentioned; they deserve more than a passing notice.

Galashiels was one of the first towns in Scotland to engage in the manufacture of wool. It does not seem to have made much progress, however, previous to the first of the present century. A charter, dated 1622, makes reference to certain waulk-mills, but in 1774 only some 170 cwt. of wool was used in Galashiels. It then contained three waulk-mills, whose united rental amounted to only £15. In 1790 the first carding machine in Scotland was erected at Galashiels. Several new mills were built during the following ten years, and the present century brought new life and prosperity to the town and trade. Gradual progress was thereafter made, increasing in speed as time rolled on. Till 1829 the chief fabrics produced were blankets and cloth of home-grown wool, with knitting yarns and flannels. For many years past, however, operations have been much more extensive, and the products of the present day are as various as they are famous and valuable. They include tweeds, yarns, blankets, plaids, shawls, tartans, narrow cloths, grey and mixed crumb-cloths, and blanket shawls of variegated patterns. There are now upwards of twenty woollen factories in the town which afford employment to several thousand of the inhabitants, and turn out an enormous quantity of goods during the year. Besides these factories, Galashiels contains four iron and brass foundries, and three engineering works, three dye-works, and the largest skinnery in Scotland.

Wool manufacture struck root in the burgh of Selkirk about 1836, and has been gradually growing in importance since then. Woollen goods have all along constituted the staple product of the town, and are now manufactured in large quantities. It is estimated that, less than twenty years ago, the number of power-looms in Selkirk was 181; hand-looms, 97; carding machines, 32 sets; spindles and self-acting mules, 15,612; in hand mules, 12,260; in throstles for twisting, 1726; and persons employed, 1032. From 860,000 to 870,000 lbs. of wool were supposed to be annually turned out; from £28,000 to £29,000 paid in wages; while the annual turnover was computed at £220,000. Very little of the native wool, however, is consumed in the county. Besides six large tweed factories in full work at present, there are four mills engaged in spinning woollen yarns. There are also other industrial establishments in the town, including a corn mill, a saw mill, and one engineering and millwright work. These factories, like those of Galashiels, employ a large number of the inhabitants of the town.

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