Compiled from the Society`s Records, by H.G. Shepard, Secretary
A quarter of a century had gone by when the Annual Report for 1858 was presented. In its recapitulation of work accomplished and comparisons with conditions obtaining in 1833, this Report could bear reprinting in extenso. Portions of it a least cannot be omitted. Here is a picture of the Jersey cow and her habitation a century ago!
Let us bring to our remembrance the Jersey farm as it stood some thirty years ago, stocked with ill-fed and ill-shaped beasts, that knew not the taste of mangolds, carrots or swedes, nor scarcely that of hay, whose winter food consisted chiefly of straw and a few watery turnips, and also the wretched stabling in which they were confined, without ventilation or drainage, where what is now appreciated as a valuable manure was allowed to waste away, or to remain stagnant till it became productive of disease; further, the tillage of the soil carried on in the most primitive manner, without the least regard to order, cleanliness or appearance, where the hoe was unknown, and the broad hedge-row, abounding in brambles, served as a nursery for all manner of weeds, the seeds of which in general, being allowed to ripen, fell, and flourished where should have been the clean crop.
To-day`s Jeremiahs of the potato trade are not the first of their line and the misdeeds of growers and the question of marketing were subjects of discussion then as now, as witness:
The potato, once the principal export of this Island, has now dwindled to a mere nominal item. Is this solely attributable to the universal degeneration of the plant, or has not some local cause considerably influenced this great diminution? All are aware that in former years, when the yield was threefold more than at present, a ready sale and a fair price could always be obtained; but this is not now the case: our market is dull, and stands low in the estimation of buyers. Has this Island, then, been more severely tried by disease than other parts of the world? If not, why does not our produce maintain its standard as formerly? It is because the farmer has introduced and propogated varieties of inferior quality, calculated rather to give a heavy produce per perch than a good return for the pocket. The pink eye, and many other worthless sorts, grown for quantity of produce only, might be mentioned as having greatly injured the reputation of the Jersey potato. Nevertheless year after year, we see them cultivated by our Agriculturists heedless of the loss which they sustain. Far better would it prove if they studied more the wants of Covent-Garden rather than grow for foreign and other markets; for the nature of our soil and the temperature of our climate are such as are peculiarly adapted to the culture of the earliest sorts of potatoes. We, therefore, should pay more attention to this than we have done -we should exterminate the bad and plant the good sorts; and time and care would prove that this Island can produce potatoes surpassed by none.
On February 6th, 1858, it was resolved "That a Committee to have the management of the Markets on the days of Exhibitions, the following undermentioned gentlemen were named.
Messrs. E.G. Marett, Thomas Falle, Joshua Brayn, P. Marett, Thomas Hayley and the Honorary Secretaries.
This may be cited as the first Show Committee - now a permanent Sub-Committee of the Department.
In the following year the Germantown Telegraph, of Germantown, Pa. U.S.A. attributed to one Professor Gibson the statement that Jersey cattle were so little esteemed in Guernsey that their imporation was forbidden - a form of "boosting" the Guernsey presumably. The Society being made aware of this by the Mr. Taintor already referred to, soon issued a rejoinder from which the following extract is taken:
To say that the Jersey COw is inferior in quantity of quality of produce to that of Guernsey, is untrue, and moreover that Jersey Cattle are so little valued by Guernsey farmers, as not to be found in that Island, is a proof that the writer is unacquainted with the fact, that a great number are annually purchased and imported into Guernsey from the Sister Island, whereas on the other hand, few if any Guernsey Cows are to be found in Jersey; a few were tried by one of our large Dairy Farmers, but not found to answer, owing to a propensity to fatten, rather than for Butyraceous properties.
"Butyraceous" though a genuine dictionary word is rather a pedantic way of referring to the productive qualities of a cow.
In 1859, owing to the hot Summer the date of the Autumn Fruit Show was advanced by two weeks, as also happened in the Centenary Year of 1933.
The Annual General Meeting held on January 7th, 1860 (some years previously the Society`s year was altered to terminate in December instead of August) adopted a revised set of Rules and Regulations. The effect of these was to separate more definitely the two Departments of the Society. The Board of Management, instead of being elected from the Subscribers of One Pound, was composed of all such Subscribers. Besides the Board thus constituted, two Committees were elected, one for each Department. In addition, a Finance Committee was provided for, with a Sub-Committee of three Members from each section "to assist the Finance Committee at the respective exhibitions of the Society." Subscriptions could be allocated, at the Member`s desire, to either Department or to the General Fund. These Rules were, however, modified the following year, ten shilling members being made eligible to sit on the Committees, while i was laid down more explicitly that a separate fund and a distinct account be kept for each Department. It must be admitted that the system adopted, i.e. of a Board of Management and Committees (the latter undertaking the whole detail business of the Society) was cumbersome and it is not surprising that, as will be seen later, it was not in operation for many years.
7. - Happenings in the early "sixties".
Opinions often differ as to whether the marketing of the potato crop now takes place sooner than in the early days of the industry. It is therefore interesting to note that in 1859 the first basket was sent to Covent Garden on April 18th, while a fortnight later (that is to say, early in May) the produce came in so fast that
the Steam Packets which perform the General Service on the South-western Station were found inadequate to transport the goods. In consequence the Company was oblged to have an extra vessel on the line for upwards of two months. This is besides what was shipped by the Weymouth and Channel Islands` Company.
However, in 1860, the season did not commence until the end of May, when produce had to compete with that from Holland, Lisbon and Cornwall; consequently the season was a poor one.
It is the old story, ever new, that Jersey Potatoes, to be remunerative should come on the market ahead of foreign competitors -who even then existed.
At the Spring Show of 1860 the then President offered a Special Prize for the Best Cow in milk. This is not unusual, but some of the special conditions for that Competition are. Here are two of these conditions.
The Judges shall examine and pronounce upon the merits of the Cows presented for exhibtion, not according to the sclae of points -which is the Society`s standard of merit -but in a general way, and consistently with their own judgment as to the bona fide superiority or inferiority of each, due preference being shown to those animals which shall possess the more peculiarly distinctive marks of the true Jersey breed.
The milk of the best cows, when selected from the general lot, shall be tested by means of lactometers, and its quality, together with the form of the udder, shall be considered points of great weight and importance.
They mark, firstly, a departure from the rigid observance of a scale of points, the cattle to be judged rather in the same way as now and, secondly, an early effort to test the productive qualities of the animals in conjunction with their show type.
Members , when passing the Don Monument in the Parade, may like to recall that the Board of Management met specially in November 1860, to consider the advisability of its erection and favourably entertained the proposal. Actually the Monument was not unveiled until 25 years later. nother decision taken about that time was that the accounts should in future be kept in British and not Jersey Currency. Until then the list of Subscriptions, for instance, showed items of £1 1 8 and 10/10. No doubt the change was considered almost reactionary by the conservative element of the Society which, farmers being noted for their conservatism, must have been large.
From 1833 to 1861 the Rules laid it down that the President was not eligible for re-election from year to year, but must remain out of office for at least twelve months. This was altered in 1861 and Rev. W. Lemprière, elected President for 1862, remained in office for six years, serving another term of three years from 1873 to 1875. Strangely enough, among the occupants of the Presidential chair in subsequent years who had long terms of office were two other clerics, viz. Canon Luce, seven years, and Rev. G.P. Balleine, thirteen years.
Was flax generally grown on the Island at that time? The question is prompted by the record in the Spring Flower Show Award List of 1860 of an Honorary Card awarded to Mrs. Lemprière for "two pieces of Huckaback or towelling manufactured from flax grown at Rozel." At Rozel, too, in those days Bananas in Fruit could be seen, under glass, no doubt, while lemon trees and oragne trees in fruit were not infrequently displayed at the Shows.
8.- The Importation of Cattle and the cultication of Apples.
So much has at different times been written about the laws governing the importation of cattle into the Island that the following extracts from the Report for 1861 are wel worth inclusion here -they were written when the Acts of the States were still fresh in many peoples` memory and the benefits conferred thereby were becoming more and more apparent as the cattle breeding industry progressed.
Your Committee feel desirous of bringing to your notice certain changes which have been effected by the Local Legislature on the law respecting the introduction of Foreign Bulls, Cows and Heifers; as well as on that which regards the entry into the Island of apples, pears, cider and perry - concerning which this Society is necessarily interested.
We find that in the year 1789 an Act was passed by the States, by which the importation to Jersey of any cow, heifer, calf or bull, was prohibited under the penalty of 200 livres, and with forfeitur of boat ,tackle etc.; and that a fine of 50 livres was to be imposed on every sailor on board who did not give information of the attempt; moreover, there were other clauses of stringent nature which directed that in order to prevent fraud, cattle, when exported from the Island, were to be accompanied by Certificates stating that such were natives of Jersey, and on the vessel`s return Certificates were also required to show that the same identical number, and no more, had actually been landed. Subsequently to this, however, it appears that the tenor of the law was to some extent laid aside, as it became indispensable to obtain meat from England for the requirements of an increased garrison which the war with France had called for; but this was under surveillance, so that in reality the objects which the framers of the law had in view were by no means impaired. At a later period, the subject became once more a matter for the consideration of the States. In 1826, then, considering that the exportation of cattle from this Island into Britain formed a branch of commerce advantageous to the community - deeming also the superiority of the insular breed necessitated that measures should be taken to preserve its purity, and moreover considering that any fraud which might arise from introducing French cows into England under pretence of their being natives of the Island should be checked, the States resolved to pass certain enactments bearing upon these considerations. This they did, andin the following year they were confirmed by an Order in Council, so that from that time to this they have held the force of law in the Island. If, under any circumstance, a law has been passed by the States with the view of upholding the Jersey Farmer, assuredly the one above quoted is of all others that which has most supported his special interests. It has been not only the channel through which an original race of cattle has been handed down to us unblemished in either of its remarkable properties, but, moreover, from the tenacity with which this law has at all times been adhered to, as well as from the constant attention which the Society has ever paid to the development of the breed, it has long since reached that highly prominent and elevated position among the herds of the kingdom which it is acknowledged to deserve. The importance of the law before us cannot therefore be overrated; it has been the foundation of undoubted prosperity to an immense body of this Island, an original source of wealth which is being daily reaped to a certain extent by the whole community. It, therefore, when the repeal of this law lately mooted, it was viewed with apprehension by the county people, it is not to be wondered at, for they justly esteem its value, and appreciate the good which it has done. At a moment when a general wish for free trade existed throughout Great Britain and France, and that a treaty was made by the government of both nations wheriein it was stipulated that hereafter no duties should be levied on the produce exchanged in internation commerce, some of our local authorities thought it advisable to seek an extension of the treaty to this Island, considering that if such did not take place our mercantile business would be seriously damaged. On this plea, therefore, the States have met, and have considered, among other matters, what chaanges should take place relative to the entry of foreign cattle into the Island. The importance of this subject was at once felt by your committee, who, being the representatives of a numerous Agricultural Association, considered it their duty to devise what steps should be taken to prevail upon the Committe of the States to weigh seriously the importance of the existing law. Having so done, they respectfully submitted to that body certain suggestions for their consideration. The Committee felt that if once the purity of the breed was insecure, then would immediately be lost the established prestige of the Jersey Cow, a loss irreparable, and which one and all of us would deeply regret, the more so as a fatal blow would be struck at the work which this Society has ever had in view, and which it has so materially advanced.
The Report then proceeds to refer to the annulment of an Act of the States prohibiting the entry of apples, pears, cider etc. In recent years he possibilities of fuit growing have been much in evidence, therefore the remarks and the quotations from older authorities on the one-time general culture of fruit trees are particularly apposite.
With regard to the annulment of the Acts of the States prohibiting the entry of apples, cider, pears etc., your Committee trust that this will not seriously interfere with either the sale or the value of this important produce. At the time when the ordinance in question was passed, we are told that "one fourth part of the arable land was occupied by apple-trees (though certainly, not to the exclusion of other crops), and that it was probable that in the Island a greater quantity of cider was made han in any other spot of equal extent, and that then the orcharding was still evidently on the increase". The Rev. F.Le Couteur, Rector of Grouville, informs us, in his "Apercu sur la culture des pommes", that, on the average, the annual quantity of cider produced in the Island amounted from 30,000 to 35,000 hogsheads of 60 gallons each. Even the Legislature appears to have been, in fact, apprehensive that the cultivation of the apple-tree was impeding the progress of Agriculture. For they passed certain rules, by whichthe amount of land which each family could appropriate as orchards was specifically laid down, but this law became a dead letter, and long before its repeal in 1819 whole ffarms in the Eastern district are said to have consisted entirely of apple-trees. We, therefore, can unerstand the motives which induced the States to prohibit the entry of apples, pears, cider and perry. It was at a time when the principal revenue of the landed proprietor depended on the sale of this produce, and also when the Clegy derived their income in a very great measure from the tithes due thereon. Since then great changes have operated on the face of the Island, insomuch that what in former days may have appeared an absolute necessity, has gradually died away into disuse. The large orchards of olden times have given way before the plough, and in innumerable places where once flourished the apple-tree, now are grown other crops, more necessary, no doubt, to meet the wants of the present day, but, nevertheless, this we maintain, that it is to be regretted that the culture of the apple-tree has been much neglected, for undoubtedly it is a source of great profit to the farmer, and even at the present time, when orchards may besaid to be comparatively few, we may compute the expots alone, at a rough estimate, to amount to something like £10,000 to £12,000 per annum. This is computing the fruit at (/ - or 9/ - per quarter. There are at this moment many spots over the Island, by far more appropriate for orchards, and which would answer best as such, that are left in a bad condition of rotary culture, and there are also wellsheltered cotils in their natural state, too steep perhaps for ordinary cultivation, but whereon apple-trees might be planted advantageously.
The report goes on to lament "that an apathetic feeling seems to have existed in the minds of those who from their position and positive interest might have been expected to support equally by their presence, as well as by their subscriptions, the meetins of this institution", and continuing the pessimistic note says
When this Society was first established, like most other novelties, it became atractive. Country gentlemen came forward and joined it, they took a part in its practical work - the members met several times during the year to discuss matters connected with their calling - they resolved to make trials on thei homesteads in various ways, and to make known the results of their experiments - numerous farms and crops were visited, not only those belonging immediately to the gentleman farmer, but also such as were conducted specially by the working man, - new ideas were diffused, observations were made by the one which were unknown to the other - and in this way the fruits of "Practice and Science" were collectively gathered. This was the true system to work upon.
In particular, are no these remarks applicable to the Horticultural Department in its present state?
The following resolution was adopted in June, 1861.
Mr. Browning proposed and Mr. P. Le Feuvre seconded
That a registry be kept of all cattle belonging to members of this Society.
The motion having been fully discussed was carried unanimously.
The following gentlemen were appointed a Committe to consider the propostions necessary out the objects above stated,
Here follow the names of 25 members including Col. Le Couteur, C.P. Le Cornu, EsQ, A. Le Galais, Esq. And Rev. Lempriere.
There is no indication that this Committe presented a report unless it be that the formation of the Jersey Herd Book five years later was the aoutcome of what seems to have been a first step in that direction.
Some means of verifying the ages of cattle was badly needed, as throughout the minute book many were the cases brought to the Board`s notice where the age and breeding of prizeewinning animals was challenged and there was difficulty in finding proof on one sider or the other.
No one will be found to assert that the Cattle Judges never make mistakes (in fact some cynics might say this is all they do) for being fallible human beings their decisions do not always receive entire approval from the ringside. Yet it is a thing to be thankful for that every dissatisfied exhibitor does not express his opinion through the medium of the press, as Mr. Watts did in his manner:
"La Davisonnerie Farm"
April 7th, 1862.
Mr. B. Watts desires to invite the attention of all who may be interested in improving the breed of cattle to the fact that it is the strongly expressed opinion of many first rate Judges of cattle (as it is also his own) that the Bull to which the First Prize has been awrded at the Last Agricultural Show, can bear no caomparison with the one he exhibited, and Mr. Watts ventures to assert that, to cattle breeders, his Bull should be worth the value of any two such as the one that has had the Island Prize. Mr. Watts, therefore, considers there must have been an error somewhere in the judgement that was given.
The Bull may be seen at the Farm by any person who may wish to inspect it. This bit of publicity, however, cost Mr. Watts the sum of One Pound under Rule 41.
9. - Further activities in the "eighteen sixties".
While the Report for 1862 does not, to quote its own words, " present any feature demanding special notice", the temptation to include one paragraphcannot be overcome, for its references to the rental of land and the gradual appearance of the French tenent farmer-
The Committe conclude that had it not been for the exportation of cattle, which has this year exceeded the ordinary figure, the profits arising from our Agriculture would have been below the usual rates. To the inexperienced in our mode of cultivation the principles which we follow may at first sight appear erroneous, and in fact have frequently been denounced as such, but those who have attempted to farm land when the rent ranged from £5 to £8 per acre, must have felt at times a difficulty to make both ends meet, and greater still the realisation of a living therefrom. Nothing but the greatest assiduity to be calling, combined with strict economy in its various branches can for a moment guarantee the slightest prsperity to any one. Among the tenant farmers we are struck with the increasing number of French people who settle here apparently at first with very little means at their command; nevertheless it is equally surprising to see what they achieve simply by avoiding any habit tending to luxury, and by devoting their whole attention and moments strictly to their business. It is quite clear that this class is gaining ground in every sense of the phrase.
In many ways those French farmers, thrifty and hard working, ahve been an asset to the agricultural community and inf act their descendants among us, seventy years later, have been absorbed into the native population and are to all intents and purposes, Jerseymen.
The formation of a Farmers`s Club for St. Martin and Trinity (the Comice Agricole du Nord) is recorded at this time, while n 1863 two innovations were introduced - the imposition of entry fees (sixpence per head) on stock entered for the Shows and the issue of a Stamped Certificate to the owners of Prizewinning animals.
A letter from a prominent member was addressed to the Committee in April 1863, and contained this paragraph:
"One of the Judges for awarding the Prizes to the bulls did not confine himself to the duty of judging the cattle but went so far as to place some of the animals as they came in, and enquired of one of our men from what Parish the bull had come. As a rule I consider that the Judges should not be present in the Show Yard while the cattle are being led in either by the Farmers themselves or by servants, some of whom by constantly attending the Society`s Shows are well known to the Judges who cannot be supposed to exercise the same strict impartiality in their awards as if they were totally unaquainted with the cattle and their owners".
A sequed to this was the appointment of the Chairman of the Agricultural Committee to wait on the Judges at the Board Room on May 20th following and conduct them to the Exhibition. Can we visualise on a May morning of 1934 a procession of Judges, solemnly escorted from Mulcaster Street to Springfield by one of the Vice-Presidents, for all the world like the Jurry at the Assizes?
In 1862 and early in 1863 correspondence was exchanged with the Acclimatisation Society of London regarding the formation of a branch of the Society in the Island. The object of this Society was to forward, as its name implies, the acclimatization of Plants, Animals and Fish in England and elsewhere and it was thought that the Channel Islands would be most suitable as a "half-way house" for rearing specimens from sub-tropical parts. It is said in one letter that peas from Jamaica and American Oysters were being sent to Guernsey for trial. Appended to one of the letters is a long list of plants acclimatized in Jersey" chiefly by the late Samuel Curtis, Esq., " and including Tea Plants, Eucalyptus, Orange Trees, Yuccas, Bamboo, etc. Some of these may possibly still be found in the grounds of La Chaire.
The Annual Report for 1863 has little to say on the then state of agriculture but what had been said in previous reports, with the exception perhaps of this paragraph which is prophetic as to the competition from the neighbouring country, a competition which extended to the Island`s produce on English markets.
"It is obvious that we must be prepared to meet changes which the progress of the age has effected. The wonderful development of trade, the immense facilities of transport, the rapid and regular communication from one country to the other must necessarily influence our situation greatly. We must expect increased competition, particularly from our French neighbours, who with equal advantage of soil and climate will undoubtedly compete for the entire supply of our wants. Indeed for some years past the introduction of French provisions has gained considerably, and these now include almost all the varieties of vegetable produce which are to be found in our markets. This is not attributable to any particular falling off in the culture practised here, but simply that in Brittany and Normandy both the value of land and the price of labour are considerably below our insular standard, and consequently produce may be grown at a price to admit of expotation from those provinces to the Island".
The important question of the entry of foreign stock into the Island is also, dealt with; in fact this a subject which kept the Society on a perpetual "qui vive", as legislation thereon was in the melting-pot. During the year under review an allegation was made that a shipload of cattle had been brought here from France and re-embarked for England as "Cattle from Jersey". This was clearly a violation of the law of 1827 and two Board Meetings, fully reported in the Press, were held to discuss the position. For the reason that a new law was awaiting sanction, no action was apparently taken. In 1864 the new law came into force and owing to its stringent nature prevented a recurrence of such an event. French Butter was, however, reported as being introduced into England, via Jersey, marked as "prime Jersey".
An interchange of visits between the officers of the Jersey and Guernsey Societies took place in the Autumn of that year (1863), the representatives of the former Society being "struck with the general order and well to do appearance of the Guernsey farms". A suggestion for an exchange of Judges was even made and welcomed, though such an exchange, had it taken place, would hardly have given satisfaction in either Island.
A digression may not be out of place at this point on the subject of Channel Islands Cattle at English Shows. It has been recorded that at the Southampton "Royal" of 1844, Jersey cattle were successful in winning prizes, the Classes being for "Channel Islands Breeds". At the Great Show at Windsor in 1851, a separate classification was again made for these, where in the intervening years they had had to compete, if at all with stock of any breed. At Windsor, Jersey Cattle, as such do not seem to have been successful, some described as "Alderneys" taking prizes. It was not until the Battersea Show of 1862 that Jerseys came into their own, the Classes being for "Jersey, commonly called Alderney cattle". Col. Le Couteur was one of the Judges, and cattle exhibited by Mr. Albert Le Gallais, Mr. B. Watts, Mr. C.P. Le Cornu and Rev. Lempriere were in the Prize list. From 1864 (Newcastle on Tyne) the Royal agricultural Society of England regularly scheduled Classes for Channel Islands cattle, Jerseys and Guernseys having to compete together and Jerseys, in many cases sent from the Island (for they were then allowed to return), obtained substantial successes. Messrs. M. Givaut and C.P. Le Cornu judged on several occasions. At last in 1871, at the Wolverhampton Show, separate Classes were made for each of the Channel Island breeds, after representations had been made to the R.A.S.E. The Bath and West Society followwed suit in 1872.
10.- The Two Departments separate.
This disgression ended, the history of the Society can be taken up again, at the end of 1864, and at a time when decisions of great importance were shortly to be taken. The Annual Report of the Horticultural Committee for that year was presented to the Annual General Meeting on January 14th, 1865 and, in the absence of the Hon. Secretary of that Department, read by the Rev. P.A. Le Feuvre. Parenthetically it may be noted that in an otherwise complete file of the Reports of the Society, that of the Horticultural Department for 1864 (including Prize Lists and Schedules) is missing. Under the circumstances then existing it is just possible that none was printed. The report above referred to embodied the following:
"In presenting to the Annual General Meeting of this Society their Report for last year your Committe had occasion to remark that "unless the Members of the Society would one an all personally exert themselves, this useful and fruitful source of amusement, namely the Horticultural Department of this Society, would be lost,not only to themselves but also to the whole Island". The matter was deemed of sufficient importance to be seriously discussed and suggestions were made by several members, with the object of recruiting the falling funds of this Department. The importance was felt of rendering the Society`s Shows as attractive as possible by offering not only more prizes but prizes also more worthy of competition. To do this, however, without more ample funds or in other words without an increase of subscription money, was clearly impracticable. The question which presented itself and which your Committee deeply regret to add, still presents itself for solution was, and is, by what means the amount of subscriptions can augmented, or perhaps, whether there are any means at all of accomplishing so desirable an object.
The true source of the present unsatisfactory condition of this Department is, in your Committee`s opinion, to be found in the union of the Horticultural and Agricultural Departments in one Society".
The Horticultural Department was again, and not for the last time, a cause of anxiety. The meeting had, previously to hearing the report, but after passing the accounts resolved
"That the subject of accounts together with the method of keeping them be referred to the Finance Committee to report thereon at the next General Meeting". Having carried out its duties the Finance Committee reported inter alia to the General Meeting
This deficit your Committee attributes to the large amount given away in prizes during the year and the small amount received as entrance money at the July Show.
Your Committee beg to recommend th dificit may be met by retrenchment both in the Agricultural and Horticultural Departments, more particularly in the latter and your Committee propose that the Agricultural Committee be restricted to award Prizes are not to exceed £43 as in 1861 which will cause a saving of about £15 and your Committee propose that the Horticultural Committee, by whom the greater part of the deficit has been incured, be requested to strike out the July Exhibition for 1865 and that they be restricted to award prizes not exceeding £40 for the May and October Exhibitions which will effect a saving of from £30 to £40.
Your Committee cannot too strongly impress on the Horticultural Committee the mischievous practice of awarding extra Prizes.
Arising therefrom it was resolved "that for the future the business of the Society should be arried on by two Departments, totally distinct and in every respect independent the one of the other except their incorporation under one common head as heretofore". The change was not unpremeditated as one or two abortive attempts were made in the preceding decade to bring about a division. Each Department was provided with a new set of Rules and thenceforward each went its own way, publishing its own report, arranging its own Shows and electing its separate Officers and Committees. The Agricultural Department continued its Committee of One Pound Subscribers, from whicj a smaller Committe was elected to "run the Department". The Horticultural Section also retained its Committee of 20/- members on which10/- members were entitled to sit. The only link joining the two Departments was and is still, the President elected annually at the General Meeting of Membes of the whole Society. On other occasions where an expression of the Society`s opinion is desirable, however, a similar General Meeting is held. Though thus divided the two sections continued to work together, joining forces for Shows etc., and at the present time the friendly relationship is stronger than it has ever been. The Horticultural Department on its rejuvenation held grand Floral Fêtes as Rozel Manor in 1865 and at Government House in 1866. These were successful enough to wipe out the deficit with which the Department had started its separate existence. In 1867 the first Rose Show and the first Chrysanthemum Show were held, the Prize Money for each being raised by means of Special Funds. At the former Show an additional attraction was provided in the shape of "the celebrated piping bullfinch from London". Let us hope that the success of the "turn" was in inverse ratio to the size of the performer.
These Special Shows were carried out in conformity with a resolution of the General Meetings as follows.
"It shall be competent for the Sub-Committee to associatte with themselves Subscribers of Five Shillings and upwards, for the purpose of promoting any Exhibition which they may deem advantageous to the interests of Horticulture in this Island - such Exhibition to be under the management of the Sub-Committee, who shall have power to add to their number from among such Subscribers".
This method of allowing connoisseurs of particular flowers to hold their Shows within the jurisdiction of the Society, while laudable, had a certain danger, which is recorded in the Committee`s Report for 1868.
"It is moreover satisfactory to them to be able to inform their members that a threatening crisis is now satisfactorily tided over by the amalgation of the Rose and Chrysanthemum Societies, which had been sources of anxiety to your Committee, as they might have served for nuclei for forming an opposition Society, than which no greater evil could arise".
During the year the States appointed a Committee to ascertain what necessity there existed for assisting the Society (Department?) From lack of evidence to the contrary it is presumed that the Committee (if it met) found no such necissity.
It is recorded that the States of Guernsey voted £60 a year to the Society in that Island, and the large entries made at the Shoows of the Royal Guernsey Horticultural Society are compared with those at the Jersey Shows, to the latter`s disadvantage.
Taking its duties very seriously the Department named a Committee in 1867 which produced a Report on the present state of Horticulture in the Island. Though mainly concerned with the condition of the gardens attached to the principal residences (which were all apparently in the best of order and which are dealt with in some detail) the ubiquitous potato cannot be kept out of the picture and this interesting paragraph occurs:
"This leads to the consideration of a topic which cannot be overlocked by your Committee, viz., the growth and return during the past season of the early potatoe crop. In one instance which has come under their notice, the yield has been 6 Tons per acre and ahs been sold for £25 per Ton, giving a total return of £150 per Acre, besides the availability of the land for a second crop. On making enquiries your Committee learnt that the total quantity exported during the past season has amounted to 3,920 Tons which at £8 would give a return of £31,360 from this branch of Island produce alone. This crop, though not heavy, is quite an average one, and, with the high price realised may be said to have given good returns for outlay. But it is feared the store varieties will prove much diseased and yield a poor crop".
The Report draws to a close with the recommendation that attention should be paid to the selection of choice varieties of apples.
In 1866 the Department became affiliated to the Royal Horticultural Society, by which members enjoyed several privileges. This affiliation, however, oaccasionally lapsed when the Department was passing through bad times.
11.- The Jersey Herd Book is founded.
Having thus gone some distance with the Horticultural Department it is expedient to retrace steps to 1865 again. Allusion is sometimes made to a practice that was said to be prevalent "in the old days" i.e. the cutting of the throat of a bull in order to remove coarseness. An allegation that this had occurred occupied the attention of the Committee after the Bull Show of 1865. It was admitted that such an operation ahd been performed, but this had been necessitated by an accident which had befallen the animal. The ultimate decision was that the owner was entitled to the disputed prize. Ten years later a similar allegation was investigated. This time the culprit admitted that the operation had been performed in order to improve the bull`s appearance, but that it was done in ignorance of there being anything wrong in the practice. "This being the first case of the sort brought before the Committee`s notice" the case was dismissed. The Committee`s memory was short!
In 1865, 1866 and 1867 the mainland was visited by a disastrous cattle epidemic - "rinderpest" - which carried off animals by thousands. In fact no "Royal Show" could be held in 1866 and no cattle were exhibited at the 1867 Show.
Naturally, as when foot and mouth disease is prevalent today, the cattle export trade from the Island suffered a lot, but the authorities took precautions, which were happily successful, to keep the Island free from infection.
On January 13th, 1866,, the Annual General Meeting had before it a letter from John Vaudin, Esq., proposing that the pedigree points be eliminated from the Scales of Points for Judging stock. These "pedigree points" it should be explained were allowed to each animal if its sire and /or its dam had obtained prizes or decoration at the Society`s Shows, one point being allotted on the male side and one on the female side. The mover of the proposition gave as his reason that the pedigree points were "nuisible à la prosperité de l`Association". What followed the presentation of the letter can best be told by quoting from the minutes of that meeting.
Mr. J. Vaudin`s letter having been read and that gentleman having stated his reasons for moving the proposition contained in the same.
After a series of remarks made by the following gentlemen, Col. Le Couteur, Ph. Le Feuvre, Esq., Messrs. J. Le Brocq, J. Vaudin, H. Le Feuvre, and the Hon. Secretary having spoken in favour of the institution of a "herd book" and having suggested the formation of the same to the members present
It was resolved - on the motion of Col. Le Couteur, that the Hon. Secretary be hereby invited to open and to carry on a "herrd book" in which the pedigree of bulls, cows and heifers shall be entered for reference to all the members of the Society and that a Committee of Mr. H. Le Feuvre, J, Vaudin, A. Le Gallais, J. Le Brocq, Col. Le Couteur and the Officers be empowered to assist the Hon. Secretary.
It was proposed by Mr. J.P. Marett, seconded by Mr. J. Le Sueur - That Mr. Vaudin`s motion be carried.
It was proposed by Ph. Le feuvre, Esq., seconded by J. Le Brocq, Esq - That Col. Le Couteur`s motion be carried - The latter gentleman`s proposition was carried by a large majority.
Thus, though Mr. Vaudin did not succeed in carrying his proposition then, he can reflect with pride that indirectly it was the means of bringing into existence the Jersey Herd Book, an offshoot of the Society, but an offshoot whose girth is as great or greater than the parent stem.. Actually a resolution was passed at a Special General Meeting a couple of months later that "No pedigree points shall be hereafter given except to animals duly entered in the Herd Book as the offspring of approved parents". The Sub-Committee appointed on January 13th drew up Rules and Regulations embodying the principle of preliminary registration and subsequent qualification, a system ideal for a restricted area such as is the Island and a system, too, which has been tested now for well over sixty years and been found successful. Today it is being imitated to a certain extent in the U.S.A. and in New Zealand. The Rules were submitted to and adopted by delegates from the local Farmers`Clubs and operations commenced forthwith. For many years the Herd Book was carried on by a Committee elected by the "supporters" of the system (with the officers of the Department). This rather indefinite connection with the Society was eventually superseded and the Herd Book declared as belonging to and forming part of the agricultural Department, R.J.A. & H.S. Quite naturally the Report for 1866 has something to say about the new venture and here is its own account of the inception and advantage of the Herd Book.
The Committee would in the first instance, draw the attention of members to a question involving considerable importance which was brought forward in the early part of the year and which created much discussion at the General Annual Meeting,namely - the discontinuance of the pedigree points as allowed in the adopted scale for the examination of cattle. The motives given by the supporters of the motion were, that under the present system it was impossible to prevent a fraudulent practice which was said to exist - that of making false declarations in the entries of cattle for exhibition. On the other hand it was unanimously admitted that the points referred to were of the greatest value and importance, if proper means were taken to ensure faithful entries; therefore it became necessary to consider by what measures this could be best attained. Several influential and numerously attended meetings were held on the subject, and finally it was resolved to adopt a new system of registration, to be hereafter known as the "Jersey Herd Book"; and in order to carry out this successfully, it was deemed expedient to invite the General co-operation of the different Farmers`s Clubs throughout the Island, and these without exception having favourably entertained the project, a series of resolutions were adopted. While commenting upon this question, the Committee would feel desirous to offer some observations on the value to be attached to pedigree. It may be alleged by some that as in this Island there is only one and thoroughly distinct race of cattle, and which has been so preserved in its integrity for numberless generations, there can be no necessity for taking into such particular consideration the question of pedigree, that in short the cattle comprising, the whole of the Island stock, being of native birth, and the produce of parents of one and the same race, it must follow that they are all of equal value as regards blood. If on first consideration such an argument as this could in any way be entertained theoretically, it certainly could not be maintained for one moment when pratically applied; for , whilst admitting that the whole cattle in the Island are without the slightest cross with foreign stock, nevertheless in the number there are many different strains, or it may be said different families, which vary immensely in some of the most important features of type and character. It cannot therefore be gainsayed that, although the whole may one common race, stilll there is a vast and most important difference in the value of the various strains which arre comprised in it. Thus it is why the careful and intelligent breeder sees the necessity of avoiding what is bad, and equally of selecting what is best in order to maintain his stock without alloy, and of preventing as much as possible degeneracy in the qualities of the strain which he has adopted as his particular stock. The question now arises, How is this to be attained? We answer, by strict attention to pedigree. Among breeders the value of this has frequently been a vexed question; careful, observing, and skilful men have frequently come to different conclusions; some affecting to consider blood more slightly than others, who, perhaps, relying altogether on blood, paid too little regard to physical appearance. But there is one established rule in nature which experience has taught us- that a family of cattle which has been bred closely together, acquire a fixed type and possess a wonderful power of communicating their peculiarities to their progeny. You will see the same form, the same colour, the same propensities, and frequently the same features transmitted with fidelity; and as by this rule blood communicates its valuable properties, it also carries with it its defects, and therefore even before admitting a stock-getter, however pure in blood that animal may be, he should be thoroughly examined, and if he does not possess all the requirements of his family type and character he should be carefully avoided, otherwise degeneracy must most undoubtedly follow. To obtain the best results we must breed from the best animals, of the best blood, and form; and from the product we must again select with the greatest care those possessing the most valuable qualities and the fewest defects.
These are only extracts from the several pages devoted to the subject. They have their message for the breeders of 1933 no less than for those of 1866.
Through the coutesy of Mr. Ralph Mollet (Secretary to the Bailiff) the writer has been enabled to extract particulars from the States`Roll of a census of stock taken in that important year, 1866.
The Island then supported 12,037 head of cattle, of which 611 were bulls, and no fewer than 6,322 pigs and 517 sheep. This was before the mototr age and 3,227 horses were kept, St. Helier being responsible for 888.
The passing years have seen the disappearance, one after the other, of commodities which formed the bulk of the export trade of the Island. Oysters, cider, apples, wheat were all at one time shipped in quantity to the mainland. To these must be added butter. In 1867 it is recorded that "first class Jersey butter now commands in London prices equal to the best English made butter", farmers being reminded to pay most attention to its making or they would lose those advantages in the face of competition from France. In the same year one agent alone, Mr. Le Bas, is said to have shipped no fewer than 2041 head of cattle, representing a value of £29,000 - it follows that if the numbers were high the prices were not. The cattle trade had evidently recovered from the depression of the previous years due to the Cattle Plague in England.
The Society never hesiteated to petition the States if any injustice or hindrance to local agriculture was apprehended. In 1866 the Home Government had produced legislation re the importation of cattle with a view to preventing the introduction of contagious disease. A memorial was addressed to the States Assembly praying that steps be taken to place Jersey on the same footing as Ireland as regards freedom to import into England. That the representation had effect is apparent from the Export figures quoted above.
In 1869, a year which was marked by great and sudden changes of temperature and by fearful gales, prize-winning cattle were sold for exportation to America at what were then considered fabulous prices. A first prize year old heifer was sold for £60 for instance and 31 head of stock realised £995.
More important than this, however, is the fact that in 1869 for the first time prizes were awarded at the Society`s Shows for Herd Book Stock Cattle. These prizes were given by the Department, but in 1871 the Herd Book itself gave £6 for the purpose, a sum which was greatly increased as time went on. Then came the time when the Herd Book prize money was about equal to that offered by the Department, and though the former`s contribution was for Herd Book stock, generally the prize-winners took both Departmental and Herd Book prizes. Eventually, the Herd Book stock having ceased to appear in show rings. It is worthy of note that at the Spring Cattle Show of 1869, Mr. J.P. Marett, one of the pioneers of the Herd Book, won Col. Le Couteur`s prize for the "richest cow in the show yard".
In 1869 also, the official announcement of the formation of the American Jersey Cattle Club conveyed to the members of the Board and it was proposed that the Rules of the newly formed association be entered in the Society`s Journal. They were in fact not so entered, but a printed copy is loosely affixed to the minute book. At the same meeting (Oct. 16th) the following decision was taken.
The Members then proceeded to read the returns sent in by the several Parishes of the corn and root crops grown in the Island this year when it was suggested that a statistical table with the computed acreage be drawn up and duly enterd in this Journal.
This arose from a resolution taken a few months before that "a visit of the farms take place to ascertain the progress made in farming, the average yield of wheat this year, and that the Hon. Secretaries of the local clubs be invited to co-operate with the Society in furthering its views". Unfortunately, what should have been some very interesting figures do not appear to have been "entered in the Journal" nor recorded elsewhere.
The inspection of the various farms competing which at one time had provided the Visiting Committees with many days` labour, had gradually fallen into abeyance owing to lack of entries and from this time prizes for crops ceased to be offered.
Early in 1870, Mr. T.J. Hand, Treasurer of the American Jersey Cattle Club addressed a long letter to Mr. Albert Le Gallais, the Secretary, of which the following extract bears quotation and will probably interest many members of the American Jersey Cattle Club should they chance to read it:
"I had hoped ere this to have the pleasure of sending you our first Number of Herd egister, but our researches have been adttended with so much difficulty in tracing the genealogy of some animals and of obtaining satizfactory evidence, on account of the negligence of those making the early importations to keep records and of the same carelessness in others breeding from such animals and their descendants, that our prgress has been necessarily slow.
The rule established by the club was that every animal to be entitled to entry must be imported from the Island or descended from such imported animals. This rule, unless hereafter modified by the appointment of a committee of Judges, with authority to receive animals upon their own merits -judged by the Jersey scale of points (together with such evidence as their owners may be able to furnish of their purity) will be detrimental, as it excludes many really valuable animals about the purity of whose breeding no one entertains a doubt, but which lacks about the purity of whose breeding no one entertains a doubt, but which lacks proof, and on the other hand, it admits animals without question as to their personal qualifications only provided they bring proof of being imported from the Island, or undoubtedly bred from imported ancestors. Thus we might be required to receive animals which your Judges would unhesitatingly reject for Foundation Stock, and our Register would be no standard of excellence. It is my intention to press the importance of this matter upon the consideration of the Club at the next annual meeting ain April, and I would be exceedingly obliged to you for any suggestions you can give me. We labor under diffulties here that you can hardly appreciate unless you knew the number of animals so far refused by us and again a great number are known to have a crop of Guernsey in them - good animals, but called indiscriminately "Alderney". Indeed it is only since the establishment of our Club that the name "Jersey" is become generally recognised. Some local Societies had adopted it, but it was exceptional. Now we want to take our Register the acknowledged standard, so that our State Agricultural Societies will require that all animals shown for competition shall be registered. To secure this position, we must have the confidence of not only the breeders of Jerseys, but of the men of influence in such Societies and of the Agricultural publlic generally. We must avoid making enemies by captious causes of rejection and avoid the loss of character for a standard of quality by admitting anything because of pure descent.
Mr. Hand goes on to ask the Secretary to verify certain particulars of animals purporting to be Jersey bred (according to sales advertisements enclosed) whose purchasers wished to enten them in the American Herd Book. A committee was appointed to make the researches and it reported that
The Cattle mentioned in the circulars and intended to be offered for sale as Jersey Pedigree Stock are not registered in the Jersey Herd Book and are consequently unknown in the Island as Pedigree Stock.
The Pedigree given in the Circulars ins without the slightest authority no other authority being recognised by the Royal Jersey Agricltural and Horticultural Society, tha the Entries duly made and registered in the Jersey Herd Book, duplicates of which can only be obtained from the Hon. Secretary.
That this Meeting considers the advertisements referred to as gross impositions, alike dishonourable to the perpetrator as they are injurious to breeders and to the Purchasers of the Pedigree Cattle of this Island.
That jealousy for such it must be called, of the purity of Jersey Cattle existed in the other Islands is very evident by the following taken from the minutes of March 12th, 1870.
The Hon. Secretary having placed before the Members the following Certificate which appeared in a Philidelphia paper called "The Practical Farmer".
Island of Alderney, Sept. 7, 1869
The Animal alluded to in the above Certificate is purely Alderbred bred, as no Jersey Cattle would be allowed to land on our shores; their Breed is not pure, being a French mixed breed.
(Signed) Philip Mesny
Secretary of the Agricultural Society and Magistrate of the Court of Alderney.
Proposed by Mr. A.A: Le Gros and seconded by Mr. Vausin.
That the Secretary be requested to write to the Editor of "The Practical Farmer" to refute Mr. Mesny`s declaration, to give an account of the law prohibiting the Importation of French cows in Jersey and supply statistics of number of animals exported from Jersey, Guernsey, Sark and Alderney.
12.- The Franco-Prussian War and the C.I. Exhibition.
The suggestion has been made in recent years that a permanent record should be made of prize-winning animals by means of official photographs. The idea is not new, for in 1870, Mr. J.K. Haire and Mr. J. Vaudin gave the Committee a report of was referred to the Secretaries of the Department and of the Herd Book and no more is heard of it. The Board Room and Offices are graced with pictures of former prize-winners, some of which may have been taken under the scheme of 1870, but a complete "portrait gallery" of the male and female champions at each show throughout the years would have a value both sentimental and educational. One could see the types which succeeded in reaching the standards set by the judges of that day.
Catalogues are now so much a part of a Show that those whose duty it is to prepare them and those who pay the sixpence demanded cannot imagine a time when no such guide existed for the spectator. At the Spring Show of 1870, the first catalogue was on sale, at the modest sum of one penny and containing a list of animals and names of owners. To be sure, the arrival of the Jersey Herd Book on the scene gave the opportunity to publish the pedigree of the exlibits, information which ere this was not authentic.
Echoes of events which were taking place in the world beyond the Island find their way from time to time into the recrds of the Society. Thus, at the Annual General Meeting of 1870, Mr. W.R.F. Godley made an appeal for contributions of seeds to be sent to the parts of France ravaged by the (Franco-Prussian) war. The newspaper report of the meeting thus refers to the subject.
Mr. Godley referred to the war and said theey could all imagine that it had brought and was bringing misery upon many once happy homes and upon the inncent victims of the savage invaders. Let them join one with another in streching out assistance to the sufferers. The President of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, the Earl of Powis, had been in communication with M. Drouyn de Lhuys, president of the French Chamber of Agriculture upon the subject of contributing agriculturl seeds to the distressedpeasantry of France. If England acted thus with her usual generosity, why should not Jersey contribute her quota of raid? He should be happy to give his own share of seeds, and he would propose that their President, who was foremost in every good work, should be requested to communicate with M. Drouyn de Lhuys, so that the contributions might be forwarded to the poor French peasantry. He felt sure that the seed would not be sown in barren soil, but that in after years, when the present war and its author had passed away, England and France would be again united as allies and in the bonds of friendship more forward as the pioneers of civilisation in Western Europe.
The proposition of Mr. Godley was well received, and ultimately a resolution was passed as follows:
"That a list be opened and left with Miss Langelier to receive subscriptions of corn and seed for the relief of the French peasantry, and that Mr. Godley be requested to act as secretary in the matter".
What success the appeal obtained we do not know, but over forty years later the same cry came from the devastated parts of France and it was answered nobly.
Note the words, "left with Miss Langelier". At some time during 1865, though no mention of the change appears anywhere in the books of teh Society, the Board Room was removed from 19. Halkett Place, where it had been almost from the beginning, to 19, Bath Street. The ground floor was occupied by Miss Llangelier`s seed shop - still in the hands of the family - and over the seed shop the seat of Government remained until 1899, when a move was made to more commodious premises in Church Street.
The Channel Islands Exhibition of 1871 can be accounted as the greatest event in the social life of the Island in the nineteenth century. It was held in the Grounds and buildings of Victoria College and was open for ten days from June 28th to July 8th. Agriculture, Horticulture, Poultry, Dogs, Machinery, Implements, Natural Products and a Loan Collection, conjoined to make a display the like of which had never been seen in the Island. In the way of entertainment, there were orchestral and vocal concerts. Jersey alone was not drawn upon to provide the exhibits, else the title "Channel Islands" would have been a misnomer. Cattle and butter came from Guernsey, too, as well as many entries in the Classes for Natural Products and articles in the Loan Exhibition. The Cattle Show was held on the first day only, the Horticultural Show lasting until July 4th, while complementary to the Exhibition field trials of new and improved Agricultural Machinery took place.
It is with pride that it can be recorded that this most successful undertaking originated with the Royal Jersey Agricultural & Hoorticultural Society, as the following minute of June 4th, 1870 shows:
The President (C.P. Le Cornu, Esq.) having proposed that a Chanel Islands Exhibition of Stock. Flowers, Poultry and Farming Implements be held in 1871, the Committee unanimously approved of this proposed Show, and requested the President to solicit the co-operation of the Horticultural Department.
Though as its scope widened, it was nescessary to go outside the Society for assistance, the President of the Exhibition was the Society`s President, Col. C.P. Le Cornu, and the Vice-Presidents, Committee and Officers were prominent members of the Executive.
Financially the C.I. Exhibition was successful enough to leave a heritage sufficient to form a Trust Fund. This is administrated by the Bailiff, the Attorney General and others, among whom are the President of the Society and a Vice-President of each Department. Grants from this fund are made for any object of benefit to the Agricultural and Commercial Community. Under the former heading the Prize Money offered in the Agricultural Science Examinations has been voted by the Trustees in recent years.
The success of the Channel Islands Exhibitions encouraged the Society to promote a joint Agricultural and Horticultural Show in June the following year, giving up the Spring Show and the Bull Show. In regard to the Bulls, however, the same procedure was followed as in 1871, namely that a preliminary examination was held in the month of April of Bulls intended to be shown in June, and only those which appeared at that "examination" could be exhibited two months later.
From 1870 onwards the proceedings at Joint General Meetings of both Departments are recorded in a separate minute book. From this book is gleaned the information that in 1871, Mons. Drouyn de Lhuys, President de la Société des Agriculteurs de France, presented the Society with his bust "for the assistance it has afforded his countrymen" Mons. De Lhuys was made an Honorary Member of the Society, but his bust, large or small, is not among its reasures.
At the Annual Meeting to elect a President for 1872, a proposal was made that each Department should elect a President, and that each President should preside in alternate years at General Meetings. Needless to say, the proposal was not adopted.
It is rather unusual to find a few years later in the same minute Book the record that a member "opined" that the Annual Dinner was held too