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The Tyrone Constitution Friday 20 Feb 1846
STRABANE FARMING SOCIETY
On Thursday morning last, at eleven o'clock, the annual ploughing match of the Strabane Union Farming Society took place on Mr. CUNNINGHAM's farm at Ligartown.
Six competitors entered for the first class, being members rated at an over £60 a year; ten for the second class, rated between £30 and £60 – and only one for the third class. Each had half-a-rood of ground to plough in two hours and a half.
The attendance was not so numerous as on former occasions, probably from the severity of the morning.
Among the gentlemen and farmers present we observed
Took place at five o'clock in Mr. IRWIN's hotel, Strabane, Captain HUMPHREY in the chair, supported by WALTER JONES, Esq., as croupier.
The cloth being removed, the Chairman proposed:
“Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen.” (Cheers)
“Prince Albert and the rest of the Royal Family.”
“The Queen Dowager.”
“The Lord Lieutenant, and Prosperity to Ireland.”
“The Army and Navy.”
Captain AUCHINLECK returned thanks.
The Chairman then called upon the Secretary, WILLIAM SINCLAIR, Esq., to read the decision of the judges, when that gentleman proceeded to state, that he was sorry their field was not so well attended this year as last. Mr. SINCLAIR then read the decision of the judges, which was a follows:
The Chairman then gave
“The Successful Candidates.”
Mr. HOLMES, and Mr. JAMES PATTON returned thanks.
“The Unsuccessful Candidates.”
“The Judges, Messrs. HAMILTON, WEIR, and HENDERSON.”
Mr. WEIR returned thanks.
“The Strabane Farming Society, and success to it.”
Mr. WM. SINCLAIR being called on, rose and said, that as their Secretary, it might not be inappropriate that he should respond to the toast. He regretted that the attendance, both in the field to-day, and at the dinner this night, was so small, for last year, the numbers attending both places were much greater; but he was happy to say, that as far as regarded the prosperity of their society, they stood in as good a position this year as last, as they could at present number 130 individuals, members of the society. He was happy to inform them that the MARQUIS OF ABERCORN and LORD ERNE had become members, and that they would continue to give their support to them. In consequence of the youth of their society they could only offer premiums last year to the amount of £35; but he was glad to be able to state that this year they would be enabled to offer premiums to the amount of £89, the list being made out this day, and it would be in the possession of members, as soon as they received it from the hands of the printer. He regretted that there was so little competition for the premiums of last year, especially those intended for the cottier and farm labourer. This was a class to which they were all indebted and it should be the object of the members to encourage them to come forward. He need not say, now that this society had started into existence, how needful it was for them all to continue their exertions, and which had brought their society to its present flourishing state. There was great good to be effected by their social meetings and cattle shows. Their first general meeting this year would be held in August, and the green crops would be viewed in the month of September. It afforded him pleasure to say, that their funds were in a prosperous state. After allotting premiums, to the amount of £89, and paying the current expenses of next year, they would have a balance remaining of 18 or £20.
Captain AUCHINLECK hoped the members of the society would take into consideration the observations which their secretary had made, and attend to his suggestions, for by so doing he was confident they would become a most prosperous society. At one time their numbers were very large, and their society prosperous, but from carelessness and apathy on their part, it had died; but like the phoenix, it had revived again, and it should be the study of all to do their utmost to preserve and keep the society in its present prosperous state. With respect to the cottier class, it is most desirable that attention should be paid to them, and that every information which they possessed of should be extended to them, for from the cottiers they derived all their comforts; they had energy and talent, and did not want understanding, and all they required was information and protection from those whom they naturally looked to as their friends. Societies such as theirs could effect great good; the system of thorough-draining alone is calculated to render vast benefit to this country, and he hoped they would all take advantage of it. If they looked around them they would find societies such as theirs starting up daily, and they would see a great deal in their workings which they could copy. He had no doubt but they would pay attention to what their secretary had stated, and by so doing they would guard against their society dying again.
“The health of the MARQUIS OF ABERCORN.”
WILLIAM HUMPHREYS, Esq., returned thanks for the noble lord, whose health had been so enthusiastically received; and he was confident LORD ABERCORN would feel great pleasure on being made acquainted with the compliment which had been paid him.
The Vice Chairman proposed –
“The health of JAMES SINCLAIR, Esq.”
Mr. WILLIAM SINCLAIR rose to return thanks for the manner in which his father's health had been received. He said it was with regret that his father had absented himself from their meetings to-day. He knew he was anxious for the benefit of this part of the country; and if his exertions had not been successful to the degree he wished, it was a pleasure to know that they have been appreciated by those around him. On behalf of his father, he begged to return them his best thanks.
“The health of the EARL OF ERNE.”
“The healths of their Treasurer and Secretary, Mr. JONES and Mr. SINCLAIR.”
“Mr. SINCLAIR – As Secretary, he considered he had done his duty, and further upon this point he would not refer to his services. How long agriculture would be prosperous in the present crisis is a matter of doubt; and he did not consider it misplaced at the present time to take cognizance of the measures of the British parliament. They were purely an agricultural body – there was not a single member connected with the Strabane Farming Society, from the highest to the lowest, but would, he believe, be affected by Sir ROBERT PEEL's measure. It was the intention of Government to repeal the corn laws, and leave the native agriculturist without any protection. He believed that Ireland now, as an agricultural country, was able to supply the wants of great Britain; but how long will that continue if the clamourers for cheap bread are attended to. Let not the agricultural population be deceived by such a cry. It is true that the tiller of the soil has been deprived of his just position; but let them bear in mind that in those countries where the land is devoted to grazing, and where the fattest cattle are produced, the people are slaves. He viewed the measure as one destructive of their best interests, and brought forward solely to serve the cotton lords. At present the manufacturer is the only class favoured; he is allowed to mix up his cloth, and cotton and his devel's-dust, without any taxation, while the heaviest tax is levied on the agriculturist. The Irish soil is capable of growing tobacco, which is many a poor man's greatest luxury – that is prohibited from being grown, by penal statutes. It has been found in France and Germany that beetroot can be converted into sugar; but of this privilege they were likewise deprived. Again brandy is an article Sir ROBERT PEEL has lowered the tax upon, while no advantage is held out to the Irish distiller, by reducing the duty upon Irish spirits imported into the sister kingdom. In short, view the measure as they liked, there are no advantages held out to the agriculturist; and he did not miscalculate when he stated, that every man in the union was opposed to Sir ROBERT PEEL's plan. (Hear, Hear.) He considered that the agricultural people should take steps to guard against this impending evil; they should speak out, and that instantly. Let there be no disunion upon this question, for, let them remember, that divided they fall, united they stand. The English counties had already spoken out – they had raised their voices against this unjust spoliation of their rights, and he hoped they would take immediate steps to petition Parlament against what he considered a flagrant injustice. Having this object in view, he had drawn up a rough sketch of a petition to Parliament, and if the sentiments contained therein met with their approbation, he would proposed that it should be immediately signed, and as numerously as possible.
The petition is to the following effect:
“That petitioners are entirely dependent for subsistence on agricultural produce, either directly or indirectly.
“That, while manufacturers are allowed to make such use of the raw material as they think most advantageous, agriculturists are not only prevented by heavy duties from converting their corn into malt, their beet-root into sugar, or their fruit into brandy, but are actually prohibited from growing tobacco, a crop which would be advantageous both to the consumer and the producer.
“That petitioners feel strongly the injustice of such restrictions upon native agricultural industry – an injustice which the proposed abolition of protective duties is much calculated to aggravate.
“Petitioner, therefore, pray your honourable house to remove these restrictions before depriving British agriculture of the protection which it has hitherto enjoyed.”
Mr. SINCLAIR, in continuation, requested to know if the petition which he had just read embodied their sentiments. (Loud cries of “yes, yes.”) He proceeded to say that he was happy to find that his views were seconded by them; and it only remained for him to propose, that the petition should be prepared, and put in course of signature, and forwarded for presentation to both houses of parliament. He should not say that the petition should to be forwarded to their own representative, lest they might differ in opinion, but let it be forwarded to men like the DUKE of RICHMOND and Mr. MILES – men who will be delighted that Ireland should speak out in favour of agriculture. (Cheers.)
[It was arranged that the petition should be put in course of signature on the following day (Friday;) and we understand that the DUKE of RICHMOND and Mr. MILES will have the honour of presenting it in parliament.]
“The health of Captain HUMFREY.”
The chairman felt grateful to them for the honour just conferred upon him.
“The Town and Trade of Strabane.”
Mr. NEAL DOHERTY responded to the toast.
The Vice-Chairman proposed
”the health of Mrs. HUMFREY of Cavanacor, and the wives and daughters of the Strabane Union Farming Society.”
Captain HUMFREY returned thanks.
Mr. DANIEL PATTON, of Sion, claimed the privilege of giving a toast which had not been drank to-night – it was the healths of the two members for Tyrone. (A voice-“ What vote will they give on the corn-laws?)
“The health of Lord CLAUD HAMILTON and the Hon. HENRY CORRY.”
The health of MAJOR HUMPHREYS was given by MR. HENDERSON, and responded to in a very suitable manner, by Master WILLIAM HUMPHREYS.
MR. WOODS proposed;
“The health of Captain JONES, member for the county Derry.”
WALTER JONES Esq. returned thanks, and remarked that on the corn law question the two members for the county Derry would be found at their post, and voting on the right side.
ROBERT McCREA, Esq., of Grange, being called on said, that he was glad to inform them, that if the Derry people did the needful, the meeting of the Royal Agricultural Society would be held in Derry in August twelve months. It is necessary wherever the meetings are held to raise £500 as an outfit to cover all expenses; and he trusted if they were not able to raise this amount in Derry, the Strabane folk would step forward and assist them.
The Chairman then gave to “Our next Merry Meeting,” remarking that it might be a more numerous, but that they could not expect it to be a more social one.
DUNGANNON PLOUGHING MATCH
The annual ploughing match of the Dungannon Agricultural Society came off on a field near that town on the farm of HENRY ATKINSON, Esq, of Brookfield, on Monday, the 9th instant, and the day being very fine an immense concourse of people was present. At the appointed starting hour the signal was given by ROBERT WRAY, Esq. the active and intelligent agent to the EARL OF RANFURLEY, when nineteen well-equipped ploughs commenced operations, and the prescribed quantity of land was turned over in a most beautiful and workmanlike manner. The prizes awarded by the judges were as follow:
JAMES QUIN, Esq., of Newry, having become possessed of the demesne and palace of Dromore, formerly in the occupation of the Bishops of that Diocese, was welcomed by his neighbours, on Wednesday last, by a friendly visit of no less than 80 well-appointed ploughs. In this praiseworthy work which speaks well for both the givers and receiver, the leading members of the Dromore Farming Society took an active part.