Compiled from the Society`s Records, by H.G. Shepard, Secretary
For many years the Society had been preoccupied with the question of retaining on the Island bulls which, by having taken prizes, were considered likely to improve the breed, and it was felt, too, that the Prize Money which the Society was able to offer was not tempting enough. Applications for State assistance had been made or mooted at different times, and it was with satisfaction that in 1871 the intimation was received that the States had voted 350 solely as premiums for bulls. This enabled the Prize Money to be on a more generous scale than before (the first prize Yearling received £15) and the nescessary proviso was made that Prize Bulls had to remain in the Island for 18,12 or 6 months, under pain of forfeiture of the prize. Therefore with the possibility of forfeiture a large amount, the owner of a prize-winning bull was not encouraged to jump at any but the most tempting prices for export. The States also voted £10 to each of the existing Parish Agricultural Societies with the same object.
13.- Little about the Horticultural Department.
Meanwhile the Horticultural Department had pursued the not very exiting course of its existence. It published in 1869, a second on the state of Horticulture in the Islland, dealing with the Eastern District. After referring to such "Show Places" as La Chaire, Rosel Manor, Gouray Lodge etc, it says, in summing up, "that the production of fruit, vegetables and even flowers is fast developing itself into a most important trade" and that whereas four or five years previously, there was only one fruit producing establishment on the Island, there were now four or five. The concluding paragraphs are as follows:
Notwithstanding the foregoing conclusion, your Committee are of opinion that your Societe has reason to be proud of the result of its labours; for it is selfevident that the annually recurring competitions at the Shows of your Society have produced a spirit of rivalry in the growth of Fruits, Vegetables and Flowers, so very general, that it has materially tended to change the general appearance of the Island. Your Committee, in recommending your Society to continue in its present course, maintaining the high reputation it has justly acquired for fairness in the competitions, and urging you to continue the good work, results of which have been made so apparent to them this day, cannot refrain from a few words of recommendation; for if much has been done, there is still much left undone. Your Committee, therefore, recommend that a list of such Fruits and Vegetables as are known to you to be the best of their kind be published, to serve as a guide to Amateurs, Farmers and Cottagers; for it is evident that for want of such a list, many trees of inferior varieties are planted annually, which eventually are a source of discouragement and loss to the grower.
Again your Committee would urge on your Society the necessity for encouraging the introduction and acclimatization of new plants, than which no other place in the world gives such facilities, both of soil and climate.
The Report is signed by Capt. H. Howell, who, after first declining the office, was elected Hon. Secretary in 1869 and held the position for the prolonged period of 22 years.
The report of that Department for 1872, very like its predecessors and successors in its references to the various shows, also mentions the fact that a trial of lawn mowers was conducted in that war. "Green`s Patent", exhibited by Messrs. Le Masurier and Vibert, was found to be the best. One suggestion is made which, even now, is worth considering, namely, that a deposit should be given by exhibitors to be forfeited if their entries do not materialize. Very often, well-filled class in the book turns out to contain only one exhibit on show day. Seeing that no entry fees are charged, the suggestion, it may be repeated, is worth considering. The Shows (of which there were five, Spring, June and Summer Shows and one each for Fruit and Chrysanthemums) were usually held in the Imperial Hotel, now and for many years past, the Maison St. Louis. There is mention of a Public Ball to bee held, under the suspices of the Society in June 1872, in connection with the Summer Show, so that the Society, long before the days of the Agricultural Hall, was a patron of the terpsichorean art. A local Fruit Committee was also set up, in connection with he Royal Horticultural society to encourage the introduction of new and improved varieties of Fruits and Vegtables. This Committee existed for a number of years, though it does not seem to have had much to do, for it is stated that, in 1871, only one exhibitor brought any fruit before it for notice. It languished but was revived as a Fruit and Floral Committee in 1889.
14.- The Scale of Points, Colour Fads, and, of course Potatoes.
As already mentioned the two Departments joined forces in a Summer Show in 1872 held in the grounds of the Imperial Hotel. For purposes of comparison, here are the numbers of cattle shown:
|Yearling heifers || 60|
| Two Year Old|| 59|
| Heifers in Milk|| 10 |
| Cows, 3 to 5 years old|| 43|
| Aged Cows|| 32|
| Yearling Bulls|| 25|
| Two Year Old|| 7|
| making a total of || 236|
While that total has been exceeded many times, especially during the present century, it is he class totals which are interesting. Only ten heifers in a class which, nowadays, is usually the largest, is particularly surprising.
Besides this joint Show, the sister Department combined in the Autumn, when the Agricultural Show of Corn, Hay, Roots etc., coincided with the Fruit Show, this amalgation continuing until the early eighties.
A prize was offered in 1872 for the best orchard of not less than 3 vergées in extent. Whethter the prize was won cannot be discovered, though a Committee was named to visit the farms and judge the orchards. Perhaps it was an abortive attempt, not the first by any means, to stimmulate interest in other things besides cattle and potatoes, and the spirit prompting the offer is to be admired.
Col. Geo E. Waring, Secretary of the newly formed American Jersey Cattle Club, visited the Island in September, 1873, and a meeting of the Committee, suggested some modifications in the sclae of points in force. It was decided that the Colonel should visit some of the herds on the Island and the following names mentioned may be taken as representing the "show herds" of the period. The farms to be visited were those of Messrs. J.P. Marett, P.J. Mourant, Thos. Filleul and T.S. Robin. As a result of thevisit and of correspondence exchanged with the A.J.C.C., a Committee was named to study the question of revising the scales of points which, in the opinion of Col. Le Cornu, were not proportionate to the relative value of the various articles. Finally, at the Annual General Meeting of 1874 which, by the way, was now held on the first Saturday in December, new sclaes of points were adopted for cows and bulls - perfection being 100 in each case, divided among 25 articles, registered pedigree counting for 5 points. As the Committee stated, "considerable preponderance has been given to such points ad denote richness of quality and produce and no fanciful idea of taste or fashion has been allowed to creep in".
There are now many years since swine formed part of any Show (with but one exception in 1923). In those days, though the paucity of entries was often deplored, three or four classes for pigs were included in the April Bull Show. The exhibits were judged in the carts in which they were brought in, surely no easy matter, until it was laid down in 1873 that pigs "without any exception be examined and judged in pens".
From the report for 1873, the following paragraph will remind many of the colour craze which was then at its heightt and which, if persisted in, would have done irreparable harm to the breed.
From time to time your Committee has felt it a duty, o draw the attention of farmers to the imperative necessity of paying the strictest attention to the breeding of their stock, not solely with the view of amending its symmetry, but primarily to further the improvement of that which alone constitutes its real valu, and which has given to the breed, the world-wide reputation, viz.; richness of milk. Of late years, a growing demand at high prices for self-coloured animals has led to establish in a great measure a fashion which, if not checked, would ultimately lead many to forget the true and real merits of the Jersey Cow. Let henceforth such fanciful ideas as black tails and black tongues be simply estimated at their proper value, but let the large and rich yield of milk be the breeder`s ambition to produce. Your Committee desires strongly to recommend to the consideration of the members of this Society the observations on the subject, recently written by Mr. Waring, the Secretary of the American Jersey Cattle Club, in which that gentleman dwells emphatically on the fallacy of following the absurd idea of breeding for fanciful colours, regardless of the true merit of the Jersey Cow, simply because a particular colour happens to be in temporary fashion, adn which really has no value whatever, except that of gratifying a fanciful taste.
It is only necessary to look at any old Herd Book Volume to see the diversity of colours, some of which must have been more imaginary than real, which distinguished the Jersey cow of that time - light red, grey and white, yellow and silver grey are popular, but black (or mulberry) is seldom met with. The years have brought wisdom and the Jersey of today is judged for herself and not for her colour. Even broken coloured animals once despised are now much sought after.
In the same report is a reference to the effect on the agricultural community of the failure of two of the principal local banks.
A great deal is heard today, and with reason, about the need for marketing a sound and healthy potato. Particular interest will be found therefore in these paragraphs which are appended to the report and described as having been communicated by a member of the Society.
"The recent failure of one of our largest exporters of Jersey produce, with liabilities for upwards of £14,000, prinipally due to farmers, is a fact which, I think, deserves serious consideration, and may not be considered unworthy of the attention of the Committee of the Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society.
"The bankrupt alleges that in consequense of the unripe and inferior quality and bad condition of the produce, considerable losses have taken place; but this, I think, will not be considered a satisfactory answer to account for such a large deficit, as it may very properly be answered why did he accept delivery of goods in bad conditions or improperly selected? This, in theory, appears unreasonable but, in practice, it is often found that the quality, size and condition are only ascertained after delivery. The fault in the first place is with the grower, when he sends inferior produce sometimes hidden by a layer of good quality. This is very prejudicial in many respects, causing suspicion, disappointment and loss to all concerned.
"As an instance of the profitable growth of early potatoes, the writer begs to state that he has received £206 5s. 1d for 2½ vergées of early kidney potatoes, grown in St. Lawrence Valley, and sold in Covent Garden this year. On the 15th May his potatoes, owing to his careful selection, were realizing 9d. per lb. whilst the current prices were from 21/4d. to 3d. per lb".
1874 has little of interest to set against it. It appears that 1000 tons of artificial manure was imported into the Island during the yeear, showing that the use of artificial fertilizers was beginning to be practiced. The figure is a long way, nevertheless, from the 11,376 tons landed here in 1931
One other item of interest may be set downin regard to 1874. In that year, competition took place for a Cup for the best cow judged according to the Guenon system, there being no fewer than 25 cows competing. The Guenon system was elaborated by a French professor of that name, according to which the productive and reproductive qualities of an animal could be ascertained by certain characteristics of the escutcheon, i.e. the hindmost part of the beast. The system enjoyed a certain popularity for a time, but Mons. Guenon`s theories were ultimately proved to be no more than theories, though even at the present time, there are some who profess to gain information about a cow`s qualities by the contemplation of her "escutcheon". It says something for the apparent soundness of the method that a conservative Society such as this should have fostered it to the extent of providing classes, as was done for a time.
A query to which no answer appears was put to the Committee about this time. It was: "Can the nipples which exist near the testicles of a bull have any influence directly or indirectly on the formation of the udder or the placement of the teats in the female progeney got by such a bull? The Veterinary Surgeon of the R.A.S.E. was asked to give his opinion for the future guidance of the Judges. Whether that guidance was ever vouchsafed, history does not relate.
To revert to a pleansanter subject, the Horticulral Department in 1874 held an extra Show at Pontac Gardens in conjunction with the Eastern Railway. Both gardens and railway are now only memories, but the former was at the time a place of popular resort, boasting, among other attractions, a maze. The Chrysanthemum Show took place in the Albert Hall, subsequently the General Post Office and now the Mechanics Institute. A "musical promenade" in the evening helped the show to complete success. Alas, Chrysanthemums, plus even a musical promenade have not the drawing power which they possessed in those more spacious days!
15.- Crop and Livestock Statistics, and a little Horticulture.
During the year 1875, a special General Meeting was held to fill the vacant office of Secretary. Ingeniously, the press report has been inserted in the minute book, instead of duly written minutes. From that cutting come the paragraphs which follow.
The Chairman next called the attention of the meeting to the advantages which would result if cattle-keepers were to give notice, to the secreatary or other appointed official, of all the cases of cow-pox occurring amongst their cattle, with the view to supply the lymph for the use of the medical proffession.
This suggestion having taken up, it was proposed and carried "that this meeting considering the good resulting from the chairman`s suggestion, the attention of farmers be called thereto, and that the secretaries of local farmers clubs be also invited to co-operate in their respective clubs".
Figures appear in the report for 1875 relating to the acreage of crops and number of livestock on the Island, collected by the Board of Trade, a task which later on was undertaken by the Board of Agriculture. A comparison of some of the figures with those of 1932 will show how great has been the change in agricultural practice during sixty years.
| || 1875 || 1932|
| Wheat || 5738 3/4 vergées || 757 1/4 vergées |
| Mangolds || 1045 ½ " || 3308 1/4 "|
| Orchards || 2183 "|| 1692 3/4 "|
| Potatoes || 9104 ½ "|| 18128 "|
| Oats || 690 " || 2315 1/4 "|
| Carrots || 512 3/4 "|| 118 ½ "|
| Barley || 331 ½ " || 86 ½ "|
A huge decrease in the area under wheat is as understandable as the doubled area in potatoes. Orchards do not show the decrease that might be expected in view of the amount of destruction which has taken place. The most surprising difference is in the area of oats grown, when it is considered that the horse was the sole means of transport in 1875. There must have been large quantities imported.
In the returns of livestock, the comparative figures are:
| || 1875||1932 |
| Horses|| 2194|| 1539 |
| Cattle|| 11521|| 12233|
| Sheep|| 569|| 52|
| Pigs|| 5842|| 4994|
The figures for cattle show an increase, but it must be remembered that owing to the partial failure of the cattle trade, 1932 has a peak total. Where sheep were in hundreds, they are now in tens and their wool would make very few of the "Jerseys" which gained their name from the Island, whenknitting was an important an industry as "visitors" are now.
The feeling was expressed in the report that the Department should take steps to collect the figures of agricultural produce exported, official statistics being lacking. It follows that there were no statistics available of the number of cattle exported. A United States journal stated that 3000 head were sent from the Island to USA each year. This statement, when it reached the Committee`s ears was promply denied and for the reasons recorded in the minutes, viz.:
That, whereas from the statements above mentioned, it would seem that a fraudulent traffic has been carried on by soi-disant importers of Jersey Cattle, the number said to have been so introduced into the USA, being considerably in excess of the whole number altogether exported from this Island within the period specified.
That from the said statements, it must be presumed that other than Jersey bred Cattle are introduced into the USA, as such, a practice which, if not checked, would soon prove seriously detrimental to the reputation of our insular stock producing disappointment to purchasers and ultimately tending to stop the legitimate trade which has for long existed between American purchasers and breeders of this Island.
Further, with a view to check any fraudulent traffic of the sort and to enable such as may desire to obtain the pure stock from this Island.
That the assistance of this Society be given to any person or constituted body whose application to them is officially recommended.
It was a quarter of a century before official figures of the Islands import and export trade were collected and published, during which period many representations were made to the authorities to take such action.
On the Horticultural side of the Society, the Committee in a lenghty report on the activitites of the year (1874) comments strongly on the reprehensible practice of exhibiting products either boought or borrowed for the occasion and issues a warning of stern measures in the future. They, however, congratulate members on the remarkable results obtained in the improved cultivation of Aplles and Pears, as proved by Jersey fruit taking 12 first prizes and three medals at the Royal Horticultural Society`s Shoe, South Kensington. Grapes are reported to have been exported to the quantity of 30 tons, approximating in value £8,400. The Fruit Committee reports on a number of varieties of pears and apples examined, including Pitmaston Duchess, which by now is an established favorite.
Col. Le Couteur, one of the founders of the Society and its guiding spirit, either as Secretary or President during its early years died on Christmans Eve, 1875, having been knighted by Her Majesty a few years before.
He was a gentleman of many parts, and had filled several positions of importance in the municipal and military life of the Island.
In agricultural matters, he was an indefatigable seeker after knowledge and his monograph on Wheat was, in itts day, a standard work.
Strange to say, no mention of Sir John`s decease appears in either reports or minute books, though no member was more deserving of the Society`s eulogies than he. One of his last acts was to offer a cup for competition under the following unusual conditions:
To the Owner of a Cow of the pure Old Jersey Breed, of a red and white colour, with a blueish ridge about one inch in width, interposed between the red and white, producing the greatest quantity of rich yellow-coloured Butter, in the Show Yard, at one milking.
The Cup was won i 1877, by Mr. Ph. Neel`s suitably named cow "Unique".
16.- The Colorado Beetle.
The Committee of the Horticultural Department, in their report for 1876, drew the attention of subscribers to the destructive ravages of Phylloxera in France and the Colorado Beetle in America and to that end reprinted two articles from the Gardener`s Chronicle on these pests. Under present circumstances, the article on the Colorado Beetle merits reproduction in full. It is mainly a report from the Canadian Department of Agriculture and portions at least may be inserted here.
The occasion of considering measures for the prevention of the introduction of the Colorado Potato Beetle into other countries from Canada has not yet presented itself; and the information from the German authorities, conveyed to Her Majesty`s minister at Berlin, on the capture of the insect on board ships and at Bremen, as well as other information given by newspapers relative to its introduction into Sweden, shows that the beetles had come from the United States, having been shipped at ports, the neighbourhoods o which were invaded by them.
The difficulty thus foreseen by the German authorities cannot but be selfevident, when the habits and modes of progression of the insect are examined; for not only does it move by flying, and by navigating, so to speak, smooth water, but also travels on common vehicles, railway carriages and platforms, on decks of vessels, etc., especially during the months of August and September.
In localities fully invaded, the beetles may be seen creeping on side walks, bridges and wharves, crawling up buildings, occupying fences, lodging themselves in every crevice, penetrating houses and dwellings, ascending and occupying vehicles of all sorts, finding their way into boats and vessels, placing temselves on any and every article, and being found alive after a long sojourn in situations where there would seem to exist no chance for them to find any subsistence.
Such a short but correct exposé of the habits of the beetle as connected with the possibility of its penetrating almost anywhere, and by almost any means of transport, renders indeed insoluble the problem of absolutely preventing its inroad into new fields of devastation, no matter how remote or by what obstacles they may be separated from the regions already invaded. It may be remarked in this respect that Potatoes and their covering are neither more nor less apt to harbour the insect than anything else. But if the absolute repelling of the invader is unfortunately beyond reach, the extent of the disaster is fortunately in a great measure under control, of course, care and expense.
The remedies are: 1st. Searching for and crushing every Potato Beetle wherever found; 2nd. Frequent visits to the Potato fields and searching for the eggs deposited on the under-side of the leaves of the Potato Vine; and 3rd. Watching for the presence of the larva on the buds, and on the leaves of the plant, in order to destroy them by means of Paris-green, the only substance yet discovered to be effectually operative on a large scale for the destruction of the insect it its larva state.
By the means, and by these means only, the invaded American States, and the western part of Canada, have been able to secure Potato crops in a measure commensurate with the care and energy bestowed, and by similar means only can the invasion be retarded and lessened in its effects.
Nothing that the Judges appointed for the Spring Cattle Show of 1877 were asked not to act in a similar capacity at any Parish Show, we pass on to the end of the year. At the Annual General Meeting, an abortive attempt was made to raise the Subscription to One Pound for everyone. About half a century was to pass before such a proposal was actually adopted.
The Annual Report refers, as a matter of course, to the Potato Crop and remarks that direct communication had been established between Jersey and Hull. 23,000 tons of Potatoes were exported in 1877, valued at £230,000. Incidentally, a year or two later, an attempt was made to form a "Farmers`Protection Society", which, though it failed is credited with having put sellers on their guard. It is, and always will be, an open question as to what protection farmers should have, and whether that protection should not be against themselves. 1803 head of cattle are said to have been sent from the Island in 1877; a heifer being sold for £100.
In the preceding years, the Society had been officially represented at Meetings of the Association Normande and the Association Bretonne. As a mark of reciprocity, in 1877, fêtes organised by the Society, jointly with the Parish of St. Helier and other bodies, were held, to which members of these two Associations were invited. What with a Ball, a Banquet, a Concert and fireworks, the occasion seems to have been a memorable one.
The "Royal" Show of 1879 was held at Kilburn, under the Presidency of the Prince of Wales, and was on an unprecented scale. No fewer than 252 Jersey cattle were entered, 30 of them coming direct from the Island and the exhibits were the feature of the Live stock section. Both Championships were won by Island bred animals. For this great Show, the precedent was established of allowing animals to go from Jersey for exhibition, provided they were returned in 14 days, and, from time to time, for years afterwards, the Committee was called on to give permission for certain animals to go over and compete at the "Royal" and other leading English shows.
It being found that even the forfeiting of the prize did not deter breeders from selling their show bulls for export, a more stringent method was adopted at the time, nemely, the exaction of a fine proportionate to the amount of prize money forfeited. The prize money for bulls, too, was generous, that for yearlings being 1st, £16, 2nd, £13 and 3rd, £10, in addition to Herd Book Prize money which was also generous. Of course, the States`grant was used, as intended, to meet this expense.
17. The Horticultural Departsment`s Activities and various Projects.
Towards the end of this decade, the Horticultural Department appears to be in a state of flourishing activity. No fewer than six shows were held in some years, the Imperial Hotel being the venue in most cases, but the Victoria Rink, Belmont Road was also utilized (this was during a roller skating "boom"). Judging by the Reports, the entries at all these exhibitions were numerous. Chrysanthemums were becoming a popular flower, and the Rose Show was then a social event. If the classes scheduled, such as those for, 48, 36 or 24 roses, were filled, these exhibitions must have been worth seeing.
During the winter of 1878, the Department joined the ranks of entertainment promoters and ran a series of Promenade Concerts which, to quote the report, "proved so successful and afforded great amusement to the members and the public". One word, however, seems rather ill-chosen.
A leading member of the Horticultural Department for about 20 years was Mr. J. Pond of Bel Royal. On his retirement from the office of Vice-President in 1879, Mr. Pond presented the Department with a set of silver badges to be worn by its officials at the Shows and on other occasions. What has become of these badges? Were they personal to the first wearers or should they still be in the archives of the Department to appear, at each Show, adorning the breasts of the Officers?
At the end of 1880, the Committee of the Agricultural Department had to investigate serious accusations regarding the shipment of cattle to USA. When the Report for the year was presented it contained this paragraph:
The great and increasing demand in the United States of America, as well as in England, for Pure Jerseys from the best Island stock, has, your Committee regret to say, led unprincipled dealers to send over with the exported Cattle, Certificates with fictitious pedigrees, and purporting, falsely, to bear the signatures of the breeders. These frauds are of a nature to injure the trade in Jersey Cattle, and means should be taken to put buyers upon their guard as well as to punish the offenders.
This led to the matter being referred to the Committee and the minutes of their meetings of investigation were, by order of the General Meeting, published in extenso, as an appendix to the Report. There seems to have been a certain looseness in the way in which the particulars were gathered by the persons concerned, surmise and secondhand explanations being accepted as proof of pedigree. The Certificates were negligently sent forward unsigned, or so it is said, and the spurious signatures were added by "some person unknown". No punishment was meted out to anyone, but the appendix is left to tell its own tale.
In 1880, the Horticultural Department`s August Show was held for the first time for many years at Government House and the Rose Show in the Triangle Park, while in 1881, the Agricultural Department deserted the markets in favour of the Triangle Park for their Spring Show. There was a stirring of opinion that the time had come when the Society should have a permanent showyard of its own. Though this did not come immediately, one sign of the times were the proposal mooted early in 1881 for establishing Winter Gardens in the town. Several meetings of the Society were held various likely sites inspected, including "The Tennis Field and ground adjoining" which later became the Show grounds, and finally a property in Queen`s Road was tentatively selected. A detailed scheme was submitted, drawn up by a Mr. McKenzie, providing for a concert room, winter garden, show building, recreation grounds, etc., at a cost of about £15,000, it being proposed that a company be formed to carry on the undertaking. With the events of 1925 in mind, who will deny that history repeats itself? Finally, the minutes and details of the whole scheme were transmitted to the Constable of St. Helier, with the request that he should call a meeting of inhabitants and obtain the opinion of the public. This, so far as the Society was concerned, was an end of an ambitious proposition. Some remarks of the Lieut.-Governor at the meeting at which the detailed scheme was submitted, can bear disinterment from the past.
His excellency the Lieutenant-Governor agreed with the remarks made by Colonel Le Cornu. He was glad Col. Le Gros had raised the question of the encouragement to be given to horticulture by the introduction of new plants and to Agriculture by experiments. They should not lose sight of the fact that while the gardens were for useful purposes, they were also to meet æsthetic wants. There was no place in Jesey where people could meet and walk. They were obliged to roam among the country roads and lanes on the top of cars, making day and night hideous, instead of being able to spend some of their time in rational recreation.
"Plus ca change, plus cèst la même chose", is the comment which this quotation calls forth.
The need for spreading information on the chemistry of Agriculture, about which there was so much to be learnt by the local farmer, was never absent from the minds of those controlling the work of the Society. After first of all discussing the propriety of employing an Analytical Chemist to give advice, arrangements were eventually made for Mr. Collenette of Guernsey to give a series of five public lectures on Chemistry of the Soil. The Channel Islands Exhibition Trust Fund was applied to with success for a vote of money to cover expenses. Here again has history repeated itself, for the same Trust Fund has now supplied prize money for examinations in the same subject. In those days, there was no Official Analyst to whom farmers could go for advice as to fertilizers, soils and feeding stuffs. The grower of today is fortunate in having at his disposal the best advice on any problems in relation to the soil and its crops.
18.- The Cattle "Boom" and the Jersey Herd Book.
The 47th Annual Report, that for 1881, dealing with the cattle trade says:
The steady and continued progress in the value of Jersey Cattle, alluded to in former Reports, remains confirmed. The few instances of high figures obtained for Stock, which formerly were the exception, have now not only become more more general, but the prices have considerably increased, and the extension given to our Cattle Trade by the shipment of Stock to various parts of the world, is indivative of the still growing appreciation in which the race is held.
There was a time when symmetry formed the chief, and almost the only desideratum in the eyes of the purchasing Exporter; fortunately this is not so now. Thanks in a great measure to the American buyers who of late years have visited this Island, and who are careful in theeir selections, the true merit of the animal,- its milk and butter producing properties,- is rightly taking its proper precedence above all fancies. Nothing can be more gratifying than to record success in this direction, for the great aim of the Department has been, and continues to be, the combination of beauty with quality.
Comparisons of the prices realised in the Society`s early days with those of 1881 are amde. In the latter year, 4 cows sold at £300 each, at two year old heifer fetched £200, 4 more cows sold for £210 each, prices which today would make a breeder`s mouth water.
Potato cultivation which, says the report, "continues to engage the attention of every one who possesses the smallest particle of land "is dealt with as a matter of course, emphasis being laid on the need for using the best Artificial Manures. Dairying and butter-making are adverted to and the need for care in the management of the dairy is stressed, a care which was not always given.
The appearance of the first "Butter Worker" at the Derby "Royl" Show is chronicled.
It has been told how, at the establishment of the Herd Book in 1866, the government of that body was in the hands of a Committee named by the "Supporters"; the President and Vice-Presidents of the Department being, however, at the head. This state of affairs continued until early in 1882 when the said "supporters" adopted a series of resolutions which, after ratification by a General Meeting of the Department, became the Rules of Procedure of the Jersey Herd Book.
The first of these reads as follows:
Considering that the Jersey Herd Book has been established for the purpose of keeping a correct and authentic register of the pedigree of cattle in this Island, and of meeting a want felt in the Agricultural Department of the Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society, it is resolved that the Jersey Herd Book and all pertaining thereto shall (as always intended) be considered as attached and belonging to the Agricultural Department of the Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society.
Other provisions were, that the Herd Book Committee be named by the Departmental General Meeting, which assembly would also receive and approve the annual accounts, and that the Funds and Financial Administration of the Jersey Herd Book be kept separate and distinct and handled only by its Committee. These and other regulations bound the Herd Book closely and definitely to its parent body, "as always intended", while retaining for the offspring a great measure of independence, an independence which the Herd Book Committee, for many years most jealously preserved. Today, though the Rules of Procedure are little changed, the Herd Book is perhaps more than ever an integral part of the body we know as the RJA & HS. Thenceforward the Report of the Herd Book Committee was embodied in that of the Department, the report for 1882 being the first. This report gives figures regarding business transacted during the year, those referring to Qualifications of Stock being the most interesting. By them, it appears that 1931 animals were approved as Foundation Stock, of which only 170 were Highly Commended, and 121 Pedigree Stock Heifers were qualified, only 17 obtaining the coveted H.C. This seems to indicate that the Judges were much more particular then than now, yet may it not show rather that the Judges were much more particular then than now, yet may it not show rather that the standard of stock presented for approval was far lower than obtains at the present day.
The Report of the Agricultural Department itself contains two paragraphs, one a suggestion which would be still valuable if adopted. The other is prophetic.
It is to be regretted that the Judges do not in their official capacity accompany their decisions by a statement on the merits of the principaæ Animals which have come under their notice, as such would be interesting to Exhibitors, and would add much to the value of the Committee`s Report.
It is evident that the growing importance of these Exhibitions is such as to call attention to the advisableness of procuring, if possible, some suitable place for the holding of Shows, as under their present disposition the Markets cannot be used for the purpose, moreover, if these were available, they are too small to contain the entries; and although the Shows held in the People`s Park have been most successful, owing to the fine weather which prevailed, it must not be lost sight of that had it been wer or rough, they must have become total failures.It is in short indispensable that a suitable place, with covered shed, be obtained. The same locality could be devoted to the Horticultural Shows, as well as for other Fêtes or Recreations.
1882 was a memorable year in the cattle export trade. Khedive`s Primrose was sold for £1000, the first animal to be sold in the Island for a four-figure amount. Count St. George brought his vendor £200, a yearling heifer, £250 and six cows £300 each.
The States`Grant for Prize Money for bulls ceased in 1882, the conditions proposed by the Committee of Agriculture for future grants being found inacceptable. The minute book says that "they would set aside one of the most important of the Fundamental Rules of the Department, viz, the universally recognized principle of close attention to Pedigree in Stock breeding".
During the year, a decision of the Committee laid it down that any person wishing to rejoin as a member had to pay his arrears to a maximum of five years. There may or may not have been a persoanl reason for adopting this, but, though the decision seems innocent, it was the cause of legal proceedings in which the Society was unseccessful. The action resulted, however, in a definite rule re arrears of subscription becoming part of the laws of the Society.
19. The Society`s Jubilee and the Show Grounds acquired.
With the year 1883, the Society had completed half a century`s existence and the report for that year contains an outline of its achievements. The Society had, by then, come to be regarded as an Institution with a fine record of service to insular agriculture and indirectly to the Community at large. It`s infant struggles were long past. It had a growing list of subscribers, a sound, yet sufficiently eleastic code of laws, and, in its Jubilee year, at any rate, it depended on no outside help towards providing an attractive prize list at its shows. From a state almost primitive, it had lifted agriculture to its proper and deserved position, as the principal source of the Island`s prosperity. In 1833 the potato, except for domestic purposes, was hardly grown. In 1883 the potato had become the pincipaæ agricultural export. In 1833 the potato were ill-shaped, ill-fed, and, in English minds shared with Guernsey and Alderney cattle the reputation of being delicate creatures, only fit to adorn a gentleman`s park. In 1883 Jersey cattle were in high estimation, not only in England, but in America and other countries, and, at that time, were fetching record prices. For this, thanks must be given to the Jersey Herd Book, conceived and brought forth of the Society in 1866. No hint of injustice to farming interests by legislation or any other means was raised, but that the Society, whose word now carried weight, took immediate steps to obtain fair treatment.
The Jubilee was celebrated by a grand exhibition in the ground of Victoria College - scene of the Channel Islands Exhibition so largely the inspiration of the Society. The Lieut.-Governor performed the opening ceremony, being received by a guard of honour furnished by the Militia Artillery, and a loyal address was sent to Her Majesty the Queen, Patroness. A Banquet, a Concert and an inspection of farms throughout the Island were auxiliary to the rejoicings.
Besides being the Jubilee year, 1883 saw the first definite measures taken to secure a permanent show yard. In April of that year, a Committee was named to select a likely site and was authorized later to draw up a fincial scheme for the purchase of the ground to be selected from the several sites offered. The desirability of having a commodious place of exhibition is obvious when it is noticed that the Bull Show of 1884 was scattered over hte Cattle and French Markets, the Prince of Wales Rooms and the Britannia Stables.
How did the Horticultural Department stand in the year of Jubilee? Of course, the Department took its part in the Jubilee Show and put up a display which was declared to be the finest ever seen. The Rose Show of that year was held at Hauteville, then in the occupation of Mrs. Macreight, and the Chrysanthemum Show, for thefirst time, ind the Oddfellows`s Hall. This was the Chrysanthemum era and the Shows devoted to that flower were events which drew crowds. Ferns in those days were evidently in greater favour than now for a Silver Cup and the Silver Baanksian Medal were awarded to them at the Jubilee Show, while in 1882, the latter honour went to an exhibitor of 100 British specimens. Like the sister Department, the Annual Report for the year reviews the progress made during half a century and this extract epitomises horticultural advance during that period.
There are but few among us who an remember its small beginning, and the Horticultural condition of the Island at the time it was founded; the change is so complete, the improvement so wonderful, that it is difficult to realise and almost beyond belief. Greenhouses, which now everywhere meet the eye, were then conspicuously absent.; the cultivation of forced Fruit and Vegetables - Grapes and peaches, Curcumbers and Tomatoes - so important and industry now, was then entirely unknown; while the field culture of early Potatoes, now a mainstay of the Island, was still unattempted and unsuggested. It is also interesting to note, of the occupants of our gardens, that the Dahlia and Chrysanthemum were in their infancy; the Rose (H.P.) itself was yet unborn; and the Heartsease grew wild in its native woods. The Summer bedding-our system had not been conceived, and the plants it required were still to be raised. The wonderful progress, the giant strides horticulture has made during these fifty years is naturally most gratifying to this Department, and we heartily congratulate its Members on the remarkable results they have assisted in producing, and the success which has crowned our mutual labours.
A digression may be made here to remark on two domestic items, one being the refusal of the Committee of the Agricultural Department to accept a portrait of a Jersey bred animal because that picture was made outside the Island. The presentation of a book on Ensilage is recorded and this new method of conserving fodder is dealt with lengthily in a succeeding report. It was also ordered that an inventory be taken of all books owned by the Department. It may not be generally known that during its existence the Society has acquired, chiefly by presentation, many books dealing with Agriculture. Some of them, by reason of their age, may indeed be very valuable, and merit some better means of displaying and preserving them than exists at present.
Among quite a number of proposed alterations to rules considered at the Annual General Meeting of 1883 was one suggesting the elction of a Committee of 36 to conduct the Department`s business. This proposal was withdrawn to be revived at intervals until its final adoption in 1926.
In the autumn of 1884, the Society obtained its Act of Incorporation and was thus in a position to purchase and hold real estate. Negotiations were then concluded for the purchase of a piece of land at Springfield from Mr. T. C. Le Gros, part of the funds for the purchase being borrowed at interest from the Jersey Herd Book. The latter body had by then become prosperous and was in a position to dictate the terms on which it would lend its money. Several onther loans or transfers were subsequently made to the Department and sometimes occasioned a certain amount of bargaining between the two bodies. It should be noted that it was the Agicultural Department which acquired the property, not the Society as a whole.
The Butter question was then occupying the minds of the Committee and reference is made in the 1884 Report to the "gross injustice" which had for years been perpetrated by the sale of French Butter as "Jersey Butter" in England. Butterine or Margarine, as we noow know it, made its appearance too, and to those who remember the great "Margarine Fight" in the States during 1915, the subjoined quotation will nor be without interest.
It is reported that a considerable quantity of a fatty substance bearing the name of Butterine is introduced to the Island, and it is said with the view of being mixed with and sold as Jersey Butter. The Committee has caused an enquiry to be made as to the quantity which has been brought into the Island, and the purpose for which it has been introduced, and the Committee have ascertained that the presence of Butterine may be chemically detected when mixed and worked with pure Butter. It is therefore sincerely hoped that any attempt at adulteration may be brought to light and offenders deservedly punished. The Committee appeal for the co-operation of all to suppress this or any other dishonest practice in the falsifaction or adulteration of farm produce.
A more pleasing matter is the announcement of the appointment of a Public Analyst, thus filling a want which had been felt and expressed for some time. The new official was Mr. F. Woodland Toms who, in the course of his long tenure of Office, proved to be a great friend to the farming community.
Col. Le Cornu was honoured by the French Government by having conferred on him the "Croix du Mérite Agricole". The Colonel, as Colonel Le Couteur before him, was the ruling spirit of the Society which, on Sept. 29th, 1884, congratulated him on the honour.
To celebrate the entering into possession of the Show ground, a grand Inauguration Show was held in August 1885, though the Spring Show was also held at Springfield, in Mr. Chas. Nicolle`s field, since absorbed by the Department. The Horticultural Department assisted in the "house warming", the ceremony being performed by the then Lieut.-Governor on August 26th, 1885.
An innovation at this Show were public Butter making contests, the competitors providing their utensils and the Department the milk.
The inauguration Show set the precedent for an Annual Summer Show, which has been held jointly with the Horticultural Department almost without exception ever since.
20.- Mainly about Potatoes.
We have now enterede the second half of the Society`s century and as the record progresses it will now be concerned with events, not to speak of persons, within living memory. The Annual Reports, a mine of information on Agriculture in general and the work of the Society in particular, have been drawn on extensively, and, though this will not now be so necessay, there are still many things which are of suficient interest to be included. Thus in 1885, it is noted that the increased fees imposed by the A.J.C.C. for entry of Island Stock would prove, which indeed they did, a serious check to the export trade.
The effect of the increase in Potato cultivation on General agricultural practice is discussed and it is stated that 1100 tons of hay and 100 tons of straw were imported during the year ended May 31st, 1885, evidencing the reduction of the area under grass and corn. The doubtful value of some high-priced artificial fertilisers is alluded to, and it is noted that 3,000 tond of manures were imported during that year.
A suggestion which did not materialize and then not fully, for another 23 years is embodied in this extract from the same report.
The Committee would suggest the formation of Dairy Companies, with branch establishments in the several Parishes throughout the Island, at each of which Milk would be brought, and from which Butter would be properly and systematically made, and prepared in such condition as to be able to compete with the very best that is anywhere produced. To get this article, it is well known that Dairying must be carried out on a large scale, with all the proper appliances, and it must be admitted that as a rule these conditions do not apply to the small farms of the Island; in the first place the quantity of Milk in small holdings is insufficient, and the making general is not that which is altogether calculated to produce Butter in the best condition and under the most advantagous circumstances, whereas in the manner proposed, good Milk would obtain a ready sale, and the Farmers themselves by becoming part Proprietors or Shareholders in the Companies would participate in the full advantages of the undertaking.
In 1886, States Prizes for Bulls re-appeared in the Schedule and Guenon Prizes disappeared therefrom. It may be noted that the Judging of the cattle still continued in private, a motion that open judging be introduced being defeated.
All seemed to be going well in 1885, but the following year brought disaster to the agricultural community. Not only did the potato trade prove unsuccessful, but the failure of two local banks, one in particular being much used by farmers, brought something approaching ruin to many. The Jersey Herd Book, as a depositor was among the sufferers as was the Horticulturel Department. On would wish it were possible to incorporate here the greater part of the Committee`s Report for 1886. It refers to the great expense attached to potato growing, the outlay on guano etc., the speculation into which it had led many small farmers and the planting of land unsuitable for such a crop. Though no statistics appear, it seems likely that the cause of the trouble was over-production which, meeting competition on the English Market, resulted in a fall in prices. One extract may be included, however, as it gives advice which it is nor superfluous to repeat even today.
How often has it been stated that, to be made profitable, the cultivation of the Potato must be such as to ensure the crop being ripe and fit for exportation before the Markets become glutted with the general supply, and also that the quality of the Produce must be irreproachable ? Now, no sooner are the tubers of a fair size than the crop is at once turned out, without proper regard to its maturity; nor is it the quality, but the quantity of the Produce which is kept in view. Under such conditions what is to be expected but reproach and disappointment?
A question is posed:
The Committe therefore would earnestly ask the Farmer if he is acting wisely in trusting almost entirely to such an expensive and precarious crop as the Potato.
And the Committee itself supplies the answer.
The results of this year offer the reply: It has attained undue limits it has been unprofitable.
The same question has been asked and the same answer given many times since, but still Jersey grows potatoes.
As mentioned, the Horticultural Department was one of the sufferers in the commercial crises, having its small savings on deposit with one of the defaulting banks. It introduced economies and appealed on the Channel Islands Exhibition Trust Fund for a contribution towards expenses, as it was expected that the revenue from Subscriptions would fall off. Their report for 1886 records the fact that prominent English horticulturists from Chiswick and Kew were invited to judge at the Summer Show which was held under the Cattle Sheds at Springfield, hardly the best adapted for such a purpose. A quotation is included from the then Lieut.-Governor`s speech at the Annual Dinner with references to the cultivation of tobacco in the Island after potatoes. His Excellency produced samples of tobacco grown by him, cured and prepared n Jersey. Though idea of such a crop seemed promising enough, the Island atmosphere is probaly too moist, owing to the surrounding seas, for tobacco to be cured successfully every year.
As a sequel to the economic crisis and the disastrous potato season of 1886, two public meetings were convened by the Society early in the following year. It may be remarked in parenthssis that the practice of holding meetins and passing resolutions after a bad potato season is no new idea. They usually result in a certain amount of recrimination and the adoption of resolutions which, often, lead nowhere. However, the first meeting of 1887 discussed the following list of subjects:
1st.- The culture of the Potato, showing the several stages through which it has passed:
2nd.- The varieties grown, the manure employed, the land under cultivation, the cost and treatment of the culture;
3rd. The causes which influence the rise and fall of the Potato Market in applied to Jersey.
4th.- The nature of the export trade and its effects;
5th.- Whether the lines on which the culture is now generally followed can be improved.
A Committee was appointed to go into the Artificial Manure question. It obtained the assistance of Mr. Toms (States Analyst) and Mons. Laurot, a French official and the reports of these gentlemen provide highly interesting reading and, perhaps, would be worth reprinting for the information they convey in simple language. Mr. Toms, "inter alia", suggests the establishment of plot experiments, a suggestion which he himself carried out n 1888 and more extensively some years later.
The second meeting concerned itself with the Cattle Trade, its origin and development, the causes of the fluctuation in value and of the present depression. After stating that the increased entry fees imposed by the American Jersey Cattle Club had entirely stopped all sales to that country, thus depreciating the value of the stock, the Committee appointed by that meeting goes on to report:
The causes of the fall in prices, so far as the trade with England is concerned, are somewhat different; but, nevertheless, easily understood.
In the first place, the great demand, for America, in 1882 and 1883 naturally forced up prices in England, and when the demand ceased prices fell again lower than they were before; then the general depression at present existing in English Agriculture is bound to affect every branch of that industry.
Moreover, it is well established that the impetus given of late years to the breeding of Jersey Cattle in England has very considerably increased their home supply. There are many more sales of the breed than formerly, and in many instances surplus animals are sold cheaper than they can be produced from the Island.
Is not this somewhat similar to the present position of the English Market?
The Report proceeds to urge farmers to carefully weed out their herds and to avail themselves of the privileges of the Herd Book. The latter advice, happily, is not needed now.
A further meeting was held to discuss the potato trade and a Committee was named to watch the state of the markets and to obtain daily the prices prevailing there, such information to be avialable to members free of charge. Another Committee was named to communicate with exporters, merchants and farmers to obtain a report on the quality of the potatoes sent. Whether this very useful programme was carried out is doubtful, but in theory it foestalled the activities of today`s States` Committee of Agriculture which, having the power of the law behind it, is able to do so much.
Queen Victoria`s Jubilee was celebrated by a combined Show of the Society in June, 1887, there being no Spring or August Show held that year. This Jubilee Show does not call for any special comment beyond the fact that judging was done in public for the first time, spectators having to pay 2/6 for the privilege of admission. It might be observed that the practice had now arisen of lecting the Judges en bloc and leaving the Secretary to allot them to their classes. This responsibility is now undertaken by the Shows Committee.
The cultivation of the potato was still being extended, though from time to time growers received set-backs. Thus in 1888, prices fell to one shilling or less per cabot, while blight worked havoc in the fields. The shortage of roots and fodder in the preceding year caused farmers to make heavy purchasers often on credit, and this unfortunate system was apparently well established by that time.
Much the same thing happened the following year, when the season must have been a very long one. In that year, it is stated that prices were good until the middle of June when they fell to 2/- a cabot, and further that during July and August, 17,690 tons were exported at an average price of 1/2½ per cabot. The disappearance of orchards is lamented and, though the deforestation of the Island was due to the desire to produce potatoes earlier, the chronicler of 1889 says that the seasons were at least a fortnight later, on the average, than 10 years previously.
21.- Milking Trials, the B.D.F.A. Visit and other Things.
As a result of a Conference held in 1888 on the preparation and marketing of butter, the old grievance of French butter being sold in England as "Jersey" was taken up with the Custom Authorities whose reply was reassuring , owing to the passing of the Merchandise Marks Act the year before.
A discussion and comparison of the best systems of cream raising led the Committee to advocate.
A Dairy Show being held next year in the Society`s Grounds, where the various systems of Dairying,, in vogue in the Island, might be brought into friendly competition, under the supervision of the Officers of the Society, and, as an adjunct to this in order to test the "Dairy" qualities of animals, "Butter" tests might be attempted and prizes awarded to owners of Cattle whose animals would, after careful analysis and testing, show the richest quantity of Cream from a certain number of milkings.
These were in fact held i 1889, under the name of "Milking Trials", analysis being the basis for awarding prizes. Only 4 animals competed, the yield of 3 milkings being taken, the cream of the first two being subjected to analysis and that of the third made directly into butter. Mr. W.J. Labey`s Mabel 13th and Mabel 6th obtained the Silver and Bronze Medals respectively.
These Milking Trials were the forerunners of the Butter Tests inaugurated not many years later where the butter was actually churned on the grounds from each cow`s yield.
Work on the Show Yard was completed in 1888 by the erection of what was even then called The Agricultural Hall. This of course was the handsome "tin shed" in which all sorts of functions were held, from Church Bazars to Strike meetings, until it was pulled down in 1922.
Reporting on the year 1888, the Horticultural Department strongly advocates the growth of good fruit, as a useful addition to the potato. Various sorts of pears and apples are recommended including, of the former, Pitmaston Duchess. When the report was presented to the General Meeting, one member proposed the deletion of this variety from the list "as it was not of the quality to be so highly recommended". Nevertheless "Pits" remained. The report also contains these very apt maxims for fruit growers which are as true today as then:
"Many trees but few sorts, and those the best; pick and pack with the greatest care. Take care of your trees and they will take care of you".
Correspondence exchanged with a Mr. C. Le Vesconte of Minnesota, USA occupies much space in the minutes of 1888 and early in 1889. The subject was the formation of a North Western American Jersey Cattle Club, the older body being declared not representative; the high fees on imported cattle were also in dispute. The Island Society was aksed to recognize the new Club, which it promised to do when the complete rules came to hand. The reduction of the American Jersey Cattle Club fees shortly after seems to have emoved the principal cause of this revolution, for no more was heard of the N.W.A.J.C.C.
In 1889 the control of the show Grounds was placed in the charge of a sub-Committee under special conditions which still obtain. The Show Grounds or (as it became) the Real Estate Committee has its own separate minute book, is elected for a term of 3 years and keeps a separate account of its expenses and receipts. Altogether it is the mostimportant Sub-Committee of the agricultural Department. The Show Grounds and Hall were continuaally in use for various purposes, The Jersey Commercial Association during several summers providing public entertainment there.
At the end of 1889, the Pavilion was let to the supporters of General Boulanger for a meeting or banquet. This drew forth a protest from a member, but as the function was postponed indefinitely, no harm resulted from this accidental entanglement in French politics which were then in a particularly excitable state.
It was decided at the General Meeting of 1890 that in future all bulls exhibited had to be shown with their dams and the latter`s points added to the former`s.
In 1890, the first Blythwood Bowl was competed for for the first time, and also for the first time, an English breeder officiated as Judge, This gentleman was Mr. W.P. Arkwright who assisted in judging the Championships. His son, Mr. B.H.G. Arkwright, was President of the English Jersey Cattle Society in 1933.
In May, 1891, the British Dairy Farmers`Association held its Annual Conference in the Island, the occasion coinciding with the Spring Show. Prior to the conference, instruction and demonstrations in butt