The English Herd Book of Jersey Cattle. Vol.I-1879 Next
I intend, in this paper, to give as much information respecting the Jersey breed of Cattle as I have been able to glean from the Authorities in this Country; and I shall add some facts ascertained, frem existing records and conversations with the oldest breeders, during a recent visit to the Island. I shall endeavour to show how the trade in these animals has grown from an annual export of 400 head at the beginning of this century to a record of above 2000 in 1878. In dealing with the evidence, I shall, as occasion requires, notice what I have found published, or written, by others.
It is not proposed to go into details of the management of the animals which I have observed in this country and in Jersey; for experience shows that, since soil and climate vary so much, it is a safer practice for every owner to feel his way by trials to the method which is the best fitted to his means and situation, rather than to accept any system which may have been elsewhere adopted by others, however succussful it may have been.
At the beginning, I would wish to bear testimony to the great and good influence which has been exercised by the Royal Jersey Agricultural Society. Although its funds are, even now, too meagre to permit a paid official, yet this Association seems to have, been one chief means of improving the general character of the breed, and of developing those valuable dairy qualities in which it now stands unsurpassed. The Society has indeed so successfully encouraged stock breeding and practical farming, that the cattle on the island have doubled in value; whilst the exports of them and of potatoes conjointly (from an area under 29.000 acres) realized, in 1879, the prodigious sum of upwards of (engelske pund) 350.000. The prosperity which such successful agriculture has induced, makes itself seen in the homes of the farmers and laboures. Nothing strikes a traveller in Jersey more than the great proportion of new dwellings and farm-buildings which are visible in every parish.
As far back as l789, the States of Jersey, which still retains its ancient privilege of self-government, passed a stringent law, prohibiting the importation of cattle frem France; but there has never been, until recently, any legal restriction against the introduction of cattle frem this country of frem Guernsey and the adjacent Islands. It is by the persistence with which the Jerseymen cling to their qwn breed that its purity has been sustained. Efforts to introduce animals of other breeds from this country, have invariably been rendered futile by the inhabitants. That the breed, at a remote period, has reached som distinction i proved by the passing of the Act of 1789. The objects of this were, no doubt, at once to keep the cattle from admixture, and to sustain their reputation, by preventing French animals being sold in England, as imports freom the island. The rev. Philip Falle, so far back as 1734, wrote that "the cattle of this island are superior to the French." He goes on to attribute the excellence of beasts and men to the natural productions of Jersey; and says: - "Could men be satisfied with the common drink of nature, water I mean, no people in the world are better supplied with that than we;" and, later, "though we are no great flesheaters, as in England, our shamble on a market-day is well provided with good og wholesome meat, beef, mutton, lamb, &c., whose sweet and tender flesh makes many prefer it to what is elsewhere both larger and fatter. This must be owing to the shortness of our grass and its not having the rankness of richer and deeper pastures. Hence also the peculiar goodness of our butter."
Regarding, however, the origin of the breed nothing definite appears to be known; nor has any thing, so far as I can ascertain, been written on the subject. Mr. P.Amy, late Herd Book Secretary, informed me that it was the impression of Col. Le Couteur (who closely studied the subject, as we shall hereafter see) that the Jersey breed took its rise on the adjacent coast. And any one may still observe the similarity that still exists between the races. Travelling recently frem St. Malo into the interior of Brittany, I was accompanied by Mr. E.J. Arnold, who is by far the largest exporter in Jersey. The small herds, which abound about Dinan, invariably contain two or three animals that resemble Jerseys; and these, Mr. Arnold assured me, would (if on the island) be readily purchased as second or third rate animals.
The system of mangement in Brittany* [*Blacks's Guide to Brittany for l873 says: -"At the fairs held at Dinan a great number of those small cows, commonly called in England Alderney cows, are sold; the price varies from £5 to £8."] seemed also somewhat similar to that practised on the Island. Yet there was wanting that excellence in the udder which is so conspicuous in the best Jersey cattle. The Brittany breed, particularly those exhibited at that magnificent show of cattle in Paris during the summer of l878, were a smaller race. They were black and white, in som respects resembling the Kerre cattle. These were all from the south coast of Brittany, where greater pains are taken to keep them pure. In the north, although many are black and white, a number are nevertheless of a fawn colour, and have yellowish black-tipped horns, with occasionally black noses and a white rim round the muzzle.
So far as I was able to ascertain, very few Jersey Cows had ever been sent to the neighbouring port of St. Malo: those that did arrive were mostly for the vicinity of Avranches and the interior of France. The larger Norman race, (or Cotentin breed, brownish red and occasionally brindled in colour, and generally with white faces) finds its way along the coast to the great Lent fair at Dinan as well to the large Thursday market there. An exceedingly fine herd of them - cows with immense wellplaced udders - is kept at the Lunatic Asylum at Dinan. The majority of steers shipped weekly to Jersey for beef from this coast are of the same race; though occasjonally smaller black and white cattle accompany them.
It is a singular fact that this small black and white breed abounds in all those places where the finest Druidical remains are found, and where the local dialects show many words of Celtic origin. There is an interesting Cromlech at Gorey on the east of the Island. In Mr. A. Durelle's herd near St. Heliers, which contains about 60 head, there were, at the close of l879, many cows quite black, that were considered good, but not rich, milkers. The best herds i Brittany are not far distant from the celebrated stones of Carnac. In Friesland, where there were anciently Druids, the cattle are black and white; and shorter legged and deeper in the body than those in the other provinces of Holland. In Ireland (where many Druidical remains still exist) the Kerry may justly be called the national breed. Youatt, writing of Anglesey, calls it the "peculiar sent of Druidical superstition", and says, too, "the cattle are small and black".*[Mr. R.B. Smith, of Penrhyn, North Wales, writes (l880) that the oldest inhabitants consider the original Anglesey cattle were black; in travelling over the Island the colours are all black, except in a very few places, where blue grey or black and white may be found, the result of crosses, but the native population hold to their own breed unadulterated. The cows are fair milkers, and good nurses of calves. In carnarvonshire the same colour prevails, but the animals are smaller in size; even when crossed with the Hereford the white face alone marks the cross.]
In Shetland (where other remains are found) the breed of cattle is small, and, though mainly black, is occaionally black and white. In Orkney the breed again is small, "their horns short and bending towards the forehead." The Highlanders, reared for their feeding properties, have doubtless varied in type according to the purpose for which, for generations, they have been selected. The Ayrshires and Jerseys, each breed reared for the same source of profit, are not, however, so very dissimilar in size and conformation, excepting in the horns, a point particularly studied by the Jerseymen. In Ayrshire, where many old monuments still exist, the cattle, as recently as l811, were described as being almost wholly black #, [See Report of the present state of Agriculture of Scotland, arranged under the auspices of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Edinburg, l878.] and the improvement in the breed is said to date back to 1750. Col. Fullarton, in his General View of the agriculture of Ayrshire, 1793, says, "in some parts the Galloway breed prevails, but they are generally black or brindled. In the northern parts a breed of cattle, called the Dunlop breed, has been established for a century; formerly black or brown, with white or fleshed faces and white streaks along their backs were the prevailing colours. But within these twenty years brown and white mottled cattle are generally preferred; these appear, however, to be of different origin from the former stock. Alderneys and Guernseys have also been occasionally introduced in order to give a richness and colour to the milk and butter, which they do in a degree superior to any other animal of the cow species"-
[ » Col. Le Couteur in his article on the Jersey Cow (R.A.S.E. Journal, vol, V l845), says: - "Field Marshal Conway, Governor of this sequestered isle, and Lieut. Gen. Andrew Gordon, who succeeded him nearly half a century back, both sent home of the best cattle to England and Scotland."]
Returning to the south of England; in Cornwall a great many Druidical remains still exist. Mr. William Trethewy, of Probus, thus writes (January l880) of the county stock: - "The original Cornish cattle were small, black and white, and some brindled, but larger than the Kerries of the present day. They were hardy and good milkers. I believe they are extinct; but occasionally you see some of the colours now amongst the cattle in the west of the country." Mr. Hosken, of Hayle, also informs me that the original Cornish cattle were small, black and white, brown, and brindle, with short legs. They were good milkers and seldom weighed over 3½ to 4 ewt. of 112 lbs. *[Mr. Trethewy and Mr. Hosken, for many years, have both given much attention to cattle, and possess two of the best herds of Shorthorns in the county of Cornwall.]
Youatt describes the cattle as "small, black, with horns rather coarse." The old blackish brown and white breed of Gloucestershire, still to be seen in Badminton Park, and the black and white accompanied the people who erected Stonehenge.As far back as l8l2 Mr. William Stevenson #[#See "General view of the Agriculture of the county of Dorset" (London, l8l2)] wrote: "There is no select breed in Dorsetshire; the dairy cows are a longhorned kind, rather short in the leg, with white backs and bellies, and darkspotted or brindled sides." In Wiltshire, Mr. Thomas Davis, of Longleat, says, in his view of the agriculture of the county (l811), that probably the old Gloucestershire breed was kept, a sort now almost extinct, or, as is now the case in Somersetshire
a mixture of all kinds; but the rage for upwards of twenty years past has been for the longhorned, or, as they are called, the North-country cows. The breeds in most of these districts, "improved away by the Shorthorn," are fast becoming things of the past; and it seems to me conclusive that as the Shorthorn, according to the late Rev. Jon Storer »[» "The Wild White Cattle of Great Britain: an account of their Origin and present State."by the late Rev. John Storer, M.A. (London, l879).] represents the improved type of the Bos Urus (the larger race of the original Wild Cattle), so the Jersey is the most improved type of the Bos Longifrons, or samller domesticated race.
No writer on Jersey has been more quoted than Thomas Quayle, who, in l812, wrote "The general view of the Agriculture and present state of the Islands on the Coast of Normandy for the consideration of the Board of Agriculture." He resided in the islands five months; and gave a very full account of the general state of property, building-land, cultivation, and rural and political economy. Of live stock, he considered the treatment of sheep and horses almost a disgrace to Jersey agriculture. "The treasure highest", said he, "in a Jersey man's estimation is his cow. She seems to be a constant object of his thoughts and attention; and that attention she certainly derserves." It is true that in summer she must "submit to be staked to the ground; but five or six times in the day her station is shifted. In winter she is warmly housed by night, and fed with the precious parsnip. When she calves, she is regaled with toast and with cider, the nectar of the island, to which powdered ginger is added." He considers the breed is "too much dispersed throughout Great Britain and too familiarly known under the appellation of Alderneys" to need description. Of its origin, he has no doubt that "the breed was derived from the contiguous continental coast, yet it is not known that in any part, the same bred is preserved in equal purity." His remarks, on the act of l789, conclude with the opinion that an imported French cow near calving might produce a bull calf and this calf escape the fate of its dam in being slaughtered; and adds, "There is, indeed, at present little danger of the occurrence of that evil which the Jerseyman so much deprecates. He will not speedily become a convert to any heretical opinions which he may happen to hear from an Englishman of the possible superior merit over this breed, in some points of view, of a Devon or a Hereford ox, of the improved Shorthorn, or, in the quantity of milk, of a polled Suffolk cow."
The remainder of Mr. Quayle's account is, however, so interesting and, with the exception of a few passages, so generally true, even now, that it may as well be here given in full, instead of in extracts as it has generally appeared:- "It may readily be concede that the breed in these islands, in one point of view, appears to have an advantage over any other, and that is in the quantity and quality of cream produced from the consumption of a given quantity of fodder; in the article of cheese, on the other hand, they might probably be found inferior; in fact, with the exception of som cheese made of cream in a few gentlemen's houses, of excellent quality indeed, but in very small quantities, none is made in the island. The oxen are distinguished by rising to a stature and bulk much superior to the female *[*There are few, if any, bull calves now castrated, and oxen used in Jersey for working purposes; though in Guernsey they may still be seen in use (l879).]
Persons who have not seen any other than Alderney cows, would be surprised to witness the size attained by some oxen of the same breed which may be seen in the Jersey carts.
"When destined to the butcher, the animal is usually fatted in the winter by means of parsnips or potatoes, with hay, and at the conclusion, occasionally bean and oatmeal mixed, called Pe'ture. Treated in this mode, cattle of this breed are disposed to fatten quickly and to fill up well in the choice points.The ordinary weight of an ox is from 8 cwt. to 9 cwt.; som attain 11 cwt., and it is asserted that one or two individuals have reached 12 cwt.; a cow, fatted, generally weighs but from 5 cwt to 6 cwt. No complaint is made of their not fatting quickly enough when failing for the use of the dairy.
"When fatted in the summer, the animal is merely grass-fed, staked and treated as the milch cows, with the exception, possibly, of having a preference, if there be any, in the field assigned. Soiling for fatting has not hitherto been practised; but it is probable that the mode introduced of fatting by means of the second cutting of lucerne, may become usual as the culture of that valuable grass becomes more extended. Fatting by means by turnips is also not practised. The beef of a parsnipfed ox is observed to have a yellowish hue, but no peculiarity in the taste. All the beef of this breed of cattle has, perhaps, a tendency to this colour.
"The oxen are broken into labour at the age of three years, and continue at labour to that of eight or ten before they are fatted. When at work in the summer, they receive during the day cut grass or clover, at night are staked out and treated as the cows.
"The colour is here commonly red, or red and white; occasionally what is called creamcoloured, or that colour mixed with white. Sometimes they are black, and black and white; some, like the north-west Highlanders, are black, with a dingy brownred ridge on the back; and about the nostrils of the same colour. They have all a good pile, generally are thinskinned, and fatten soon; if in any point they are universally deficient, it is in being narrow in the haunch. To view a Jersey ox from behind is not placing him favourably. Bulls are never harnessed; indeed they are seldom preserved in that state of their third year. By this erroneous practice, which is but too general in other countries, it becomes impossible to ascertain the merit of any individual, and consequently to preserve his progeny; were the treatment of horses similar, how speedily would they degene rate!
"The female propagates at an early period, generally at two years, or even younger. The month of March is preferred for cow calving. When the calf is destined for the butcher, it is also killed at a very early age: sometimes at three weeks, generally at four, and seldom is kept beyond six or seven. The greatest number of calves is usually slughtered on Easter-eve. In l8ll, 343 were killed on that day; in l8l2, 318; and in l8l3, 334. Veal fetches, at market, prices from 6d to 1s. 3d. per pound. When reared the calf is fed by hand, till able to drink alone; for about three weeks with new milk, then with skimmed, till put to grass, which is early in June.
"On milch-cows the principal attention is bestowed: in summer they are fed in the meadows, pastures , or orchards, being tethered to the ground, and shifted in succession over every part by means of a halter of the length of 12 or 14 feet attached to the head or foot, and having a swivel of two links in the middle. In apple orchards, when the fruit has attained a size, likely in swallowing to endanger the animal, the halter passing from the head by a noose round each fore foot, precludes her rasising her head to the boughs of the appletrees. When she is staked in spots, unsheltered from the sun, it is said that she is, or at least ever ought to be, removed to the homestall during the meridian heat. Though this precaution seems indespensable, with regard to an animal so impatient of heat and flies, yet instances there certainly are, and not infrequent, of its being neglected. On the sand of St. Aubins Bay, during the ebb, cows may often be seen lying on the bare sand in the hottest weather; thither the fly does not pursue them.
"It is not here admitted that a black and white cow is inferior for the dairy to a reddish or to a cream-coloured cow; indeed the opinion seems to incline the other way; the milk of a black cow is maintained by some to be the richeest: on hearing praises bestowed on particular cows, they generally, but not always, were found to have a black tinge.
"From the middle of April to the middle of July, the cow flush in milk are milked by those who most attend to dairying thrice in the day; during the remainder of the year twice; when thrice milked, it is observed that though the quantity is greater, that of the butter is not increased in proportion. The quantity of milk given, and its richness, varies essentially as in other breeds. Excluding extraordinary animals, and for a very short period of time, the greatest quantity given in 24 hours may be stated at twenty-two English quarts; the medium quantity at ten. From april to august, of the extraordinary cows above alluded to, instances are named of 14 lbs. of butter made in the week; instances of 12 lbs. are well attested. In summer nine quarts of milk (English ale measure) produce 1 lb. of butter; in the winter , when the cow i parsnip fed, seven quarts produce that quantity. This it is believed is the richest milk known. About 30 lbs. of parsnips are given in the 24 hours, with som deadow hay. The quantity of meadow hay daily consumed by the cow has not been ascertained; but probably obout two stone.
"An accurate practical farmer, Mr. Bertram of Grouville, calculates that the money received on each cow, the calf included, amounts, communibus annis, to £30, and that the expense of her keep is about £18. He allows two verge`es*[*An English acre is equal to 2 1/4 Jersey verge`es; a verge`e consists of 40 perches, and each perch of 22 square feet; 104 lbs. Jersey are equal to 112 lbs. English avoirdupois; 110 gallons Jersey are equal to 100 gallons imperial.] and a half of pasture to each cow; but his land is of very superior quality, and his farming in every respect (turnips excepted) most judicious.
"The destination of the milk being here almost entirely to butter, its manufacture receives the principal attention, and is well understood. In the dairy, vessels of metal or of wood are never employed; the preference is given to those of coarse unglazed earthenware of Norman manufacture, round, of about 12 inches in height, 7 inches diameter at bottom, and 9 inches at the top. These "crocs", as they are termed, are at present extremely scarce, and sought by good housewives with great avidity. The Staffordshire coarse pottery, in form somewhat resembling the French croc, being glazed, is on that account never employed. The milk stands to the height of obout 10 inches in the croc, till the cream be all risen, usually till the third day in the summer; in winter, to hasten its rising the croc is covered and placed on the hearth at bed-time.
"Skimming is consequently but once performed, and never till after the milk is coagulated. In this operation the dairymaid is careful, first detaching the cream at its edge from the vessel all round, and then raising it as much as possible together. By inclining the croc over that destined to receive the cream, sometimes nearly the whole slips off at once from the coagulated milk, the little that remains being removed by means of a scallop shell. At the bottom of the cream-croc is a small hole, stopped up by a peg, which is occasionally taken out in order to drain off the serous portion separating from the cream.
"If the cream be kept in summer five or six days before churning, the quality of the butter is affected; when the cow is fed in summer on lucerne or clover, or in winter on potatoes or turnips (though turnips for this purpose are here generally disapproved), the butter is of lighter colour, and considered of inferior quality to that produced when she is in natural pasture, or in winter when she is parsnip-fed. Jersey butter is of excellent quality; when salted and transported to warm climates it is said to remain untainted, preserving, as well as the best Irish butter, its good properties for a long period than english butter. Let it not be omitted that the Jersey butter-milk, as that of Ireland, is a grateful and refreshing draught, much preferable, whatever the reason may be, to the same liquid produced in the south-east part of England, and more in use as an article of human food. The present price of new milk is 5d. per pot of two quarts; skimmed milk 2d.; butter 1s. 4d 1s. 6d. per pound of 17 ounces and a fraction (the weight of one penny piece) avoirdupois; in harvest (l812), 2s.
"The price of Jersey cows, considering their size and small quantity of milk, is high in the home market. A handsome two- year old heifer, may be worth about £15. A. cow of four years old £21 to £25, if of good character. It should be observed, however, that it is not the prime milkers which are generally exported. After the young cow has borne a calf or two it is sometimes significantly remarked, qu'elle est bonne pour l'Angleterre, and she goes to the cow-jobber. In selecting individuals of this breed for exportation more strict attention is paid to the beauty of the coat; to the direction of the horn, which must be in a short curve, resembling a half ring, and not divergent; to the nose being slender; and to such points of fancied beauty, which are avowed to have no reference to the judgment formed on the quality of the cow for the pail; than is paid to those which in the dairying counties are deemed to indicate excellence; these, however, the Jersey cows do in general possess, and will be found, on their diminutive scale, and as milch cows, to be in many respects well modelled. If the palm can be contested with them by any, it will be by a breed little known in the south, the Dunlop or Ayrshire cattle, a cross between the Shorthorn and the Alderney.
"So long as the Jersey cow continues to command the present high price in England, and notwithstanding her tender frame and thinnes of hair, to be in the same request for gentlemen's dairies, the islanders will continue to act wisely in cherishing their own breed, in order to supply that market, at the same time that the draft ox is found at home extremely useful. Should the market in England become glutted, in consequence of the breeds being perpetuated or improved in any home district, or by becoming less fashionable, there is a grat probability, from the exuberant fertility of the pastures in the island and its favourable climate, that the Shorthorn race of cattle, which has recently attained such high perfection in the vale of Tyne, would, if transplanted hither, be found well suited to the spot. If a first-rate cow of that breed escaped being put to death and devoured on the spot, according to law, she would, on arriving here, be gazed at as a prodigy; but to talk of the enormous bulk and weight of Mr. Carr's heifer, for instance, would in these islands at present excite the smile of incredulity.
"The general purity of the breed is guarded by the rooted opinions of the inhabitants, rather better than by the sanction of law; but hitherto no persevering, systematical experimenter, has attempted , by a careful selection of individuals, and attention to their crosses, to improve this breed. From the narrow limits of each dairy farm, ands small quantity of pasture in the occupation of any one person, it is not likely that such an attempt will speedily be made. When the cow i famed as a good milker, her male progeny is preserved; but this is for a short period, and it is not known that any other measure whatever has been persevered in, to keep up the breed at its present standard. No complaints are made that horned cattle are subject to any particular malady."
Under the patronage of the Board of Agriculture, Mr. George Garrard published a description of the different varieties of Oxen common to the British Islands, with engravings, being the accompaniment to a set of models of the improved breeds of Cattle, in which the exact proportions of every point were preserved. Upon the success of these models Mr. Garrard had the honour to receive the congratulations and thanks of the Royal Academy. The bull illustrated is from Lord Howe's stock and the picture bears date of publication July 29, l801; it is of a smallish animal, straight and deep, with short hind quarters and short legs. In colour it is a reddish black and white; the white running along the top of the back, over the girth, around the flanks and down the legs. The cow is drawn from one in possession of Lord Stawell, and is dated November 20, l802. It shows a long animal, lighter than the bull, and of blackish red hue, with white along the back, belly, flanks, and legs; the horns spread upwards and outwards. The ox, dated April 1, l803, is from the Woburn Abbey stock, and was bred by Mr. Crook, Tytherton, Wilts. It is quite a different type to the bull and the cow. Regarding these animals, Mr. Garrard writes:- "Varieties of the short-horned cattle are spread over a great part of the North-west district of Europe, and have been brought into England under the various descriptions of the Holstein, Dutch, Flemish, Norman, and Alderney, the last of which is a breed of cattle imported from the islands of Guernsey and Jersey, few being obtained from the small island of Alderney from whence they derive their name. They may be considered as the high-bred cattle of the Short-horned class; being bred in a warmer climate than the rest, they have acquired a density of bone and other valuable qualities, which is exemplified in the richness of their milk, and all those properties attached to which is called highbred stock.
"In respect of size the cows seldom exceed four feet two, oxen four feet three to four feet seven. As to colour they are very distinct to all other cattle in England, and although in a general description we might say there are some red and white, and some black and white, and some in common with other cattle; yet upon nice obeservation it will be found that the colours are more brilliant and have a grater variety in examining the surface of the animal than is to be found in examining any other neat stock in Britain. We find them in all the variety of colour peculiar to the different sorts of fallow deer, and this breed of cattle also resembles the deer in the neatness and elegance of its limbs and genral form. The hide is stained nearly in the same manner as we find that of the fallow deer, but if white is anywhere discovered in an ox, it is always as the ground upon which the other colours are spread. In the deer tribe the white in spots upon a coloured ground.
"The cows exceel in the quality of their milk, of which they give from three to four gallons a day, and in one year the produce of a good cow in butter may be from 220 to 300 lbs., the pound being 2 ozs. heavier than the English *[*This is not quite corrwct, the proportion being 104 to 112 lbs. English weight.] Some cows in the seasons have given 14 lbs. a week. The calves fatten very well and the veal is execellent, best at 5 weeks old; the average weight per quarter is at one month 12 to 15 lbs.; two months 18 to 24 lbs.; three months 24 to 36 lbs. The usual weight of a heifer is 350 lbs., hide 36 lbs; of a cow 500 lbs., hide 50 lbs; and an ox 1000 lbs, hide 90 lbs.,; hides sold in 1799 at 6d. per lb.
"The cattle are healthy and subject to no particular disease, though in England they bear the strongest winter out of doors; yet from custom they are always in the islands and fed upon straw. They are easily fattened at any age, best at four or five years old; for this purpose parsnips are generally cultivated, though with time they may equally improve on turnips, potatoes, or any of the methods usually practised, as they are not very dainty. Price in l799, a good cow and calf £15; dry cow £10; calf one year £4; good ox for yoke £18.
"The Alderney resembles in appearance much the Norman cows of the coast, but differs in quality; cows there not exceeding 8 lbs. of butter a week in the best season, nor is their butter of so fine a flavour or colour as that of Jersey and Guernsey."
Others writers in the beginning of the century have left but scanty records of the Channel Islands Cattle. Mr W.Plees, for many years a resident on the Island, wrote an account of it in l817. "The cows", he remarks," are of that breed known in England by the name of Alderney cows; the far greater number, however, if not all, are now sent from Jersey. They are smaller and more delicately formed than the English cows, and yet the oxen are sometimes very large and strongly limbed. They were, doubtless, brought originaly to Jersey from Normandy, as the same breed is common in the latter province. It is, however, probable, that the first cows imported into England from these islands were sent from Alderney, and that the name has been continued to prevent any supposed diminution in their value."
Mr. Henry D. Inglis published in l834 a work on the Channel Islands, after a two year's residence; he quotes Quayle and adds:- "I have heard of three cows on one property yielding from 16 to 18 quarts per day during May and June, and of 36 lbs. of butter being made weekly from their milk. I have heard, indeed, of one cow yielding 22 quarts. The general average produce may be stated at 10 quarts of milk per day and 7 lbs. of butter per week. The price of Jersey cows has considerably fallen during the last fifteen years; a good one may now be purchased for £12; a prime milker will fetch £15, and the average may be stated from £8 to £10. Notwithstanding the attention bestowed upon the Jersey cow, and the purity of its breed, guarded as it is both by law and rooted opinion, it has nevertheless deteriorated. I was present at the inaugurational meeting of the Agricultural Society for Jersey, at which many facts illustrative of this truth were by the Secretary." Mr. Inglis considered greater attention had been bestowed on the breed of cattle in Guernsey than in Jersey, and his notions of the Alderney were disappointed. "I found it, however",said he, "everywhere admitted that there is but little distinction between the Alderney and the best specimens of the Jersey cow; the Guernsey cow, though of the same breed, is a larger animal." He had been told he would find the true Alderney black and white, but found the people of Alderney did not adopt this eriterion of purity of breed; red and white and brown and white he found equally common. The short curved horn and the prominent sparkling eye were more looked to than the color. The Govenor of Alderney showed him a cow which yielding 25 quarts of milk per day; but his inquiries did not waarant him in asserting that the cow met with in Alderney was in any way superior as a milker to the cows of Jersey and Guernsey.
That amusing chronicler Mr. J. Stead, who wrote his own epitaph "Here lie the remains of an Englishman," in a series of letters describing his voyage and travels in Jersey, l809, said, "The cows are of that choice breed known in England by the name of Normandy and Alderney cows, in such high request for the richness and quantity of their milk. The sheep are small, but when fat of most exquisite flavour." Another (nameless) writer, in his Brief description and historical notices of Jersey, l826, remarks:- "The cows are so generally sought after, and are held in such high estimation, that they require but little to be said in therir praise; by a singular misnomer they are almost universally described in England as Alderney cows. The breed on both islands is similar."
Even Professor Low's celebrated work on Domesticated Animals, l845, gives more a history and describtion of the Island and its people, than of its Cattle; from his remarks he evidently read Quayle's work. He considers the breeds of the islands essentially the same, althoug that of Guernsey deviates from the common type and presents a greater affinity with the races of Normandy. The true Alderney, however, he concludes, has a great resemblance to certain breeds of Norway, and adds: -"The cows are imported into England in considerable numbers, and are esteemed beyond those of any other race for the richness of the milk, and the deep yellow tinge of the butter. Hence they are in demand by the more opulent classes for the domestic dairy, and regarded as a kind of appendage of the park and rural villa. They are introduced likewise into the regular butter dairies, chifly of Dorsetshire and Hampshire, and they are mingled in blood with the native races, especially the Devon and its varieties. To supply these sources of demand , the importation from the island is regular, and forms a considerable branch of their commerce.
"The catte of this race are small and ill-formed, when regarded as animals to be fattened. The cow is greatly below the male in strength and stature, in which respect she resembles the cows of the Devon and its kindred breeds. Her neck is thin, her shoulder light, and her chest narrow, and the belly large. The limbs are slender, the pelvic bones prominent; the lumbar region is deep, the croup short and drooping, and the udder large. The muzzle is narrow, the horns are short and slender, and curving inwards. The color is usually of a light red or fawn, mixed with white; but frequently individuals are black, mixed with white or dun, and sometimes cream-coloured. The skin is thin and of a rich orange-yellow, and the fat as well as the milk and butter is tinged with the same colour. The animals in size, the milk they yield is likewise small in quantity, although fully in proportion to their bulk of body; and it is viscid, and rich in cream. In their native country, the bullocks are used for labour *[*This evidently refers to Guernsey. Mr. Le Cornu informs me that bullocks would not have been found in use in Jersey, even as far back as l845.] to which they are better adapted than, from the slender form of the dam, might be inferred."
Having shown what had been published regarding the breed by those who had personally visited the Island up to l845, I purpose now to point out the means adopted by the Royal Jersey Agricultural Society for the improvement of their native breed of cattle. The origin of this Society is somewhat obscure. Few men now living remember much of its early history. Although its minute books record its early transactions somewhat imperfectly, yet, from these and the annual published reports, much may be gleaned to show the indefatigable efforts of the Committee, whose noble aims were not only to improve the native breed of cattle, but also to encourage agriculture and ameliorate the condition of the small farmer and cottager.
The history of Mr. Michael Fowler and of his sons will be given hereafter. It may not, however, be out of place here to mention that, from his natural love of stock (being a Yorkshireman), his large and varied experience in England, and his frequent journeys to the Island, he was, indirectly, one of the means of establishing the Society. It is said that he was one of the first to draw attention to the great cattle shows held, not only in his own county, but by the Bath and West of England Society and local farmer's associations. An opinion also prevailed that the Island cattle had retrogarded during the first quarter of the century; and that, as Agriculture Societies had done much towards improving tho breed of cattle in England, something similar might be effected by establishing a Society in Jersey.
At last, on the 26th August l833, a meeting was held in St. Heliers for the purpose of taking into consideration the propriety of forming an Agricultural and Horticultural Society. The Lieut.-Govenor, Major-Gen. William Thornton, occupied the chair, and twenty-five gentlemen and farmeres were present. Three days later, rules and regulations were agreed to, among which was the offer of premiums, directed to the improvement of agriculture and breeding of cattle; no person was to complete unless a member or subscriber. On the 7th September a public meeting was held. To this Col. Le couteur acted as secretary; and the first resolution carried was to the effect that the encouragement of agricultural and horticultural improvements and improving the breed of cattle would conduce to the general welfare of the Island.
On the 5th October the Act of l826, prohibiting the importation of cattle from France was recorded on the books, "to preserve the original breed from all mixture, and to preserve a trade that had hitherto proved of so much advantage to the Island".
This seems a fitting opportunity to give further information regarding these Acts. A spirit of independence, not unmixed with a sense of jealousy towards France, seems to have actuated the mind of the Jerseyman since the days of the Conqueror.
On the 16th July, l763, at the proposition of the Deputy Attorney General, an Act was made forbidding all persons whatsoever to import from France any cattle, sheep, hogs, fowls, eggs, meat of any kind, butter, fat, under pain of confiscation of the vessel and cargo to the king* [*See an a uthentic narrative of the oppression of the Islanders of Jersey. London, l771] This Act continued in force for some years, and, on the 8th August l789, that celebrated law, the spirit of which is in force to this day, was enacted+[+I am indebted to Mr. Jon. Smith of St. Heliers, for the translation of these Acts from the French.]
Act of the States of Jersey.
August 8, l789
The fraudulent importation of Cows, Heifers, Calves and Bulls from France having become a matter most alarming to the country, in that it not only contributes to raise butcher's meat to an exorbitant price, but that it also menaces with total ruin one of the most profitable branches of the commerce of this Island with England, the states have judged it necessary to enact-
Article 1. - That whoever shall introduce into this Island, be it Cow, Heifer, Calf or Bull from France, shall be subject to a fine of two hundred pounds for each head of Cattle so introduced, besides the confiscation of the Cattle and of the Boat and its appurtenances: and every sailor employed at the time on board the said boat shall be obliged to declare this, within twenty-four hours at the latest after its arrival, to the Constable or to one of the Centeniers of the Parish where the Cattle shall have been disembarked, under a penalty of fifty pounds for each contravention: such fines and confiscation to be applied - ont third to the King, and the other two thirds to the benefit of the poor of the Parish: he (Whether Master or Sailor) who is found insolvent under these circumstances, shall be punished by imprisonment for six months.
Article 2. - That the Master of every Vessel who imports bullocks into this Island shall be found to land them in the harbour, either of St. Helier or St. Aubin, and nowhere else; and shall be obliged before landing them to give notice to the Constable, or, in his absence, to one of the Centeniers of the Parish where he is lying, under pain of confiscation of the said Cattle, Vessel and appurtenances: being forbidden to disembark them in any other part of the Island under the same penalties.
Article 3. - That the Master of every Vessel having on board, be it Cow, Heifer, Calf, or Bull from the adjacent Islands subject to His Britannic Majesty, shall be obliged, under the penalties named by the second Article, to observe the regulations established by that Article, being further bound to produce to the Constable (or in his absence to one of the Centeniers) of either of the two Parishes where disembarking is permitted, an affidavit that the said Cattle is the production and breed of the Island from which it is pretended to be brought.
Article 4. - That every Cow, Heifer, Calf, or Bull coming from France which shall be confiscated, shall be killed on the spot, and the meat shall be distributed or sold for the benefit of the poor of the Parish where it shall be seized.
Article 5. - That whenever the Master of a Ship shall have on board, be it Cow, Heifer, Calf, or Bull for exportation to England or elsewhere, he shall be liable before obtaining a passport, to give under his seal to his Excellency the Govenor a List which shall particularise the Cattle, the name and the Parish of the vendor of the said Cattle, under a penalty upon the Master of a ship who shall be convicted of having given a false Report, or of having used any fraud respecting it, of one thousand pounds, applicable one third to the King, and the two other thirds to the General Hospital.
Article 6. - That the Master of every Vessel who shall transport, be it Cow, Heifer, Calf, or Bull out of this Island, shall be bound to produce to the Govenor a Certificate signed by the person who has sold such Cattle, specifying that such Cow, Heifer, Calf, or Bull is of his breeding, or otherwise of whom he has had them, and of what age, and if he has had them as being of the breed of this Island. Every person who shall give a false Certificate in selling or disposing of such Cattle shall be subject to a penalty of one hundred pounds, applicable in the same manner as the penalties of the 5th Article.
Article 7. - That the Master of every Vessel who shall transport, be it Cow, Heifer, Calf, or Bull out of this Island, shall be bound to enter into an obligation with the Governor, under the penalty of one hundred pounds for each head of cattle, that he will produce to the said Govenor, on his return from the same voyage a Certificate or discharge, signed by the Customs' Officer of the place where such cattle shall have disembarked written on the back of the Passport itself and nowhere else, that such a number of cattle and not more has been disembarked: in default of such Master producing the said passport with the Certificate on the back, the penalty above mentioned shall be adjudged against such Master, and shall be applied in the same way as the penalties of the 5th Article.
Article 8. - That the Master of every Vessel who shall export, be it Cow, Heifer, Calf, or Bull out of this Island by the Harbours of St. Helier or St. Aubin, shall be bound to produce to the Harbour Master immidiately before leaving the passport of the Govenor containing the list of the Cattle he is about to transport, under a penalty of One Thousand Pounds, applicable as in Article 5; and the Harbour Master shall be bound to assure himself that the same number and quality of cattle is on board as is contained in the said Passport: if he find more or less, to prevent such vessel leaving, and immidiately inform the Govenorg of it: and if such vessel leave any other part of the Island than the said Harbours of St. Helier and St. Aubin, then the Master of such vessel shall address himself to the Constable or one of the Centeniers of the Parish whence the vessel intends to sail, under the same penalty: and the Police Officer of that Parish shall fulfil in this case the duty above imposed on the Harbour Masters.
Finally, the States have ordained that the above-named Articles shall be published immidiately, as well in the ordinary place, the Market, as in each of the Parishes of this Island, to the end that no one pretend to be ignorant of the same.
The tenor of this law, some years after, was partially laid aside, for, owing to the war, meat for the increased garrison could not be obtained from England. That led to the Act of l826.
Act of the States of Jersey
March 18, l826
The export of Cows from this Island into England being a branch of commerce advantageous to the country, and the superiority of their quality to those of France having shown the necessity of preserving the original breed, of avoiding any foreign admixture, and of preventing, the frauds which might be practised by introducing into England French cows as being cows of this Island: The States have believed it hteir duty to that end to establish the following regulations:-
Article 1. - The importation of Cows, Heifers, and Bulls from France is prohibited. Whoever shall be convicted of having introduced any into this Island, or of having assisted or participated in it, shall be subject to a fine of one thousand pounds for each head of cattle so introduced; and such cattle shall be confiscated, as well the ship or boat which shall have imported it, will its rigging and appurtenances.
Article 2.- Whoever shall have assisted in landing such cattle so prohibited, or favoured it, or lent a hand in any manner in introducing such cattle, or brought it ashore, or hid, or received it on his premises, knowing it for cattle so prihibited, shall be considered an accomplice and subject to the same fine.
Article 3.- All cows, heifers, and bulls from France which shall be found on board a ship or boat at a distance from this Island of less than two leagues shall be confiscated, as well as the ship or boat with its rigging and appurtenances, and the Master of such ship or boat shall be subject to the fine named in the 1st Article of these Regulations; and all persons are authorised to seize such ship or boat with the said cattle and bring it to land, and shall be bound to give information of it on their arrival to the Constable, or Chief of Police, of the Parish, who will take the necessary measures to adjudge the fine and confiscation.
Article 4.- Whoever shall own or have in this possession cattle suspected of having been introduced fraudulently, shall be bound to give proof that such cattle is of the breed of this Island, or that it has been introduced from England, or from some other non-prohibited place, or that it was in this Island before the publication of the present Regulation, or that he had been in possession of it more than six months; in default of which, such cattle shall be declared to have been fraudently introduced and shall be confiscated; and the person who shall have owned it, or shall be in possession of it shall be subject to the fine named in the first Article of this Regulation. Article 5.- The Master of every ship or boat who shall import, be it bullocks, cows, heifers, or bulls from the islands of Guernsey, Alderney , or Sark, or their dependencies, shall be bound to disembark them in the Harbours of St. Helier, St. Aubin, or Mount Orgueil, and nowhere else; and shall be obliged before landing them to give notice to the Constable or Harbour Master, and produce to him an affidavit that such cattle is orginally from the island whence it is said to be brought, under pain of confiscation of the said ship or boat, rigging and appurtenances; it being forbidden to disembark them in any other part of the island than at the ports above named under the same penalties.
Article 6.- The Master of every ship or boat who shall introduce bullocks from France into this Island shall be bound to disembark them in the Harbours of St. Helier, St. Aubin, or Mount Orgueil, and nowhere else; and shall be obliged before landing them to give information of it to the Constable or Harbour Master, under the penalties declared in the preceding Article; it being forbidden to disembark them in any other part of the Island than the Ports above mentioned under the same penalties.
Article 7. The Master of every ship or boat who shall export, be it bullocks, cows, heifers, or bulls out of this Island, shall be bound before embarking them to produce to the Harbour Master an affadavit of the person who has sold such cattle, specifying that such bullocks, cows, heifers, or bulls are of his breeding, or otherwise of whom he has had them, and of what age, and if he has had them as being of the breed of this Island, under a penalty of one thousand pounds on the Master of such ship or boat.
Article 8. When the Master of a ship or boat shall have on board be it bullocks, cows, heifers , or bulls for exportation to England or elsewhere, he shall be bound before obtaining a passport, to produce to his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor a list certified by the Harbour Master, who shall specify the cattle, the name and the Parish of the vendor of the said cattle under the penalty given in Article 7 of this Regulation.
Article 9.- The Master of every ship or boat, who shall export be it bullocks, cows, heifers, or bulls out of this Island by the harbours of St. Helier, St. Aubin, or Mount Orgueil, shall be bound to produce to the Harbour Master immmediately before leaving, the passport of his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor under a penalty of one thousand pounds; and the Harbour Master shall be bound to assure himself that the number of cattle on board such ship or boat is in conformity with the affidavits which have been put into his hand by the said Master of the ship or boat; and if he finds more or less of them to prevent such vessel from leaving, and immediately inform His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor of it. And if such ship or boat sail from any other part of the Island than the said harbours of St. Helier, St. Aubin, or Mount Orgueil, then the Master of such ship or boat shall address himself to the Constable or to one of the Centeniers of the Parish whence the ship or boat intends to sail, under the same penalty; and the Police Officer of such Parish shall in this case fulfil the duty imposed as above on the Harbour Masters.
Article 10.- The Harbour Master shall receive four pence for each head of cattle that he shall have seen and examined, which shall be paid him by the Master of the ship or boat when he shall have made the examination; and each Harbour Master shall keep a register of the cattle so embarked, in order that the same may be produced to the Greffier as is hereafter ordered.
Article 11.- The Harbour Masters shall deliver to the Greffier every quarter, or more often if he require it, their respective Register of the cattle that they have examined and seen embark, as before said; and they will deliver to him at the same time the lists and affidavits above-mentioned, under pain of a fine of two hundred pounds for each contravention.
Article 12.- The cattle which shall be confiscated in virtue of this Regulation shall be sold before the Sheriff, who shall be bound to assure himself that the said cattle are killed immediately after the sale.
Article 13.- The fines and penalties contained in this Regulation are in lawful money (of the king) and shall be applied, as well as the amount of the confiscations, one third to the King and the two other thirds to the informer; and in the case of the insolvency of the persons upon whom the said fines or penalties shall be adjudged, they shall be imprisoned for a period not exceeding one year, and not less than six months; and the causes shall be tried before the Royal Court, whether during term or in the interim.
The general desire for free trade about 1861 between Great Britain and France caused some people to wish for an extension of the treaty, and the States met to consider what changes should take place relative to the entry of foreign cattle. The Society drew up certain suggestions for preserving the purity of the breed, which was then valued at an annual export of £20.000 for an average of 1800 head exported; viz. no Jersey cattle to be allowed to be shipped or transhipped, except at St. Heliers; oxen to remain under the same regulations; all bull calves and heifers intended for importation or transhipment to be distinctly branded; all other cattle, save oxen, to be kept in a separate enclosure, and that none be removed or allowed to leave except for transhipment or slaughter; any calves dropped to come under this law; an officer to be appointed to enforce the law. The effect of this was the Act of 1864.
Act of the States of Jersey.
September 8, 1864
Considering that it is to the interest of commerce that this Island be included in the Treaties concluded and signed between the United Kongdom and France; considering that to this effect it is necessary to modify certain prohibitive regulations of the commercial legislation of the Island, in order to put this legislation in harmony with the fundamental principle of those Treaties; considering always that it is to be the interest of agriculture to maintain the purity of the bovine race, and consequently necessary to establish a regulation to that effect, - the States have decided, subject to the sanction of Her Most Excellent Majesty in Counsil, to adopt the following Law, to have force of law as long as this Island shall participate in the advantages of the Treaty of Commerce:-
Article 1.- Provides that French wines and spirits shall pay no more duty than those of the most favoured country.
Article 2.- Permits the importation of French and other apples, pears, and cider, which were before prohibited.
Article 3.- The Law of the 18th March, 1826, confirmed the 14th March 1827, so far as concerns its dispositions prohibiting the introduction of cows, heifers, calves, and bulls from France is also abrogated. For the future foreign cattle may be introduced into the Island, be it for consumption, be it in transit for re-exportation.
Article 4.- Foreign cows, heifers, calves, and bulls cannot be employed for reproduction in this Island. To ensure the execution of this regulation, the introduction of these animals, whether for consumption or re-exportation, shall be subject to the following conditions.
Article 5.- The cattle indicated in Articles 3 and 4 can only be landed in the Port of St. Helier under pain of the fine named i Article 10.
Article 6.- The Master of every vessel importing cattle mentioned in Articles 3 and 4 shall be bound, before landing the same, to give written notice of it to the Agent to be named. The consignee of the cattle shall equally be bound within 24 hours of the disembarkation to remit to the said Agent a declaration containing the number and kind of cattle so introduced, and the name of the vessel which has brought them.
Article 7.- The Harbours Committee shall provide a place where the cattle indicated in Articles 3 and 4 shall be taken directly from the place of landing.
Article 8.- The cows, heifers, bulls, and calves imported shall be branded on their arrival at the above place on the right quarter or on the forehead, at the choice of the importer, with the letter F three inches square, the said letter to be stamped with a red-hot iron. The said animals must remain in the above place in the keeping of the Agent provided for that purpose; and can only be withdrawn from it for slaughter in the Public Slaughter-house, or for re-embarkment if they are consigned for re-exportation, and this under the surveillance of the said Agent.
Article 9.- The owner of the cattle brought here in transit must obtain from the Agent a permit to ship them, such permit specifying the number and kind of animals that he proposes to export. He must obtain from the Master of the vessel a receipt containing the same particulars, which he shall be bound to remit to the Agent. The Master of every vessel is forbidden to receive foreign cattle on board his vessel without the production of the above-named permit.
Article 10.-Every person convicted of having infringed, or of having aided or assisted in infringing any of the dispositions of this Law, shall be condemned to pay a fine to Her Majesty of ten ponds sterling for each head of cattle. Where there is an informer, he shall receive one third of the said fine. If unable to pay, the delinquent shall be punished by imprisonment for six months. All foreing cattle found, in contravention of this Law, in the possession of any person shall be sequestrated by the Constable or by one of the Centeniers fo the Parish where such cattle shall have been found, and shall be immediately slaughtered for the use of the General Hospital without prejudice to the fine incurred.
Article 11.- The States will name an Agent who shall have the surveillance of the place mentioned above and the care of the cattle which shall be taken there, and shall be charged to watch over the execution of the other dispositions of the law as above mentioned. The Harbours`Committee shall establish such a tariff as shall seem just to levy to defray the expenses necessitated by the present Law.
Article 12.- The present Law rescinds none of the dispositions of the Law of 18th March 1826, relative to the importation of foreign bullocks; and the bullocks, cows, heifers, calves and bulls from the Islands of Guernsey, ALderney, Sark, and their dependencies; and the duties of the Harbour Masters. The tax of sixpence per head hitherto levied on cattle exported from this Island is abolished.
A further Act was passed on the 19th September, 1878, for sanitary purposes only, the preamble of which runs "Considering that it would be advantageous, while taking precautions to preserve the bovine race of this Island against all danger of contagious malady, to be able to import cattle for provisioning the island from the ports of Normandy and Brittany and other countries not included amongst prohibited places."
This arose on account of the restrictions enforced for the suppression of the rinderpest or cattle plague; and in October a clause was added, giving power to the veterinary inspector to slaughter any animal from any port whatsoever. Two attempts were made to land some Shorthorn cows frm Weymouth; but they were promptly arrested by Mr. Henry E. Poole, the Government veterinary, and were at once slaughtered. This act was sanctioned and approved by the Harbours` Committee; and Mr. Poole was requested to follow the same course in any future attempt to land bulls or cows on the Island. This is not the first time Shorthorn cattle have been brought to Jersey. Mr. Revans, about 1845, introduced some "Durhams", as they were then termed; but Mr. Falla informed me they were not succesful; and, on being sold by auction some time afterwards, were bought by butchers to be killed. Some Ayrshires were also introduced into St. Martins`s parish by Col. Godfray; but these, after a time, shared the same fate as the Shorthorns.*
[* Mr. C.P. Le Cornu writes on this subject as follows:- "It appears that many years ago, when Col. James Godfray farmed his estate at St. Martins, he introduced a few Shorthorns for the purpose of trying crosses with his own Jersey stock. This he tried, and becoming very soon tired of the results gave up the idea, and got rid of his animals by selling them to the butcher. He next tried Ayrshires, but not being satisfied and seeing no improvement in his stock, he ultimately got rid of the whole in the same way. As regards the effect produced on the quality of the milk, Col. Godfray says it got of such thin substance that his foreman would not think of continuing. In this respect the Ayrshires gave more satisfaction than the Shorthorns, but he gladly returned to his original stock."]