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The Times, 10 September 1872, p.3, col. F


Mr. W. N. HODGSON, M.P., speaking at the dinner held in connexion with a
district agricultural society at Holme Cultram, Cumberland, the other day,
referred to the Public Health Act. He knew, he said, the county very well,
had seen a great many people in it, and had had the pleasure of being in a
great many of the farmhouses in the county, thus viewing and seeing the
state in which farmers kept their farmyards, and he could not find fault
with them. He had always been told by the Cumberland farmer that the larger
the midden he had at his door, the better he liked it. But this Bill, he was
afraid, would compel many of them to remove that useful article from their
houses, and that at some expense. There were persons who rejoiced when the
Chancellor of the Exchequer could save the salary of a clerk, but here was a
sum of five or six millions involved, of which many of them at the present
moment were in ignorance. Cleanliness was a very good thing. He quite
approved it, and he approved of neatness; but we might buy gold to dear or
ride a willing horse too hard. Although the farmers of Cumberland had got a
dunghill near their doors, he did not think they were a short-lived race. If
they went into some of the churchyards in the county, they would find that
the Cumberland farmers were longer-lived men as a body than in any other
place in England. He remembered of being struck once when he visited the
parish churchyard of Lanercost to find that men who lived to the age of 70
were considered to have died in their youth, and that men who were taken
away at 80 only seemed to have been taken away at the prime of life. A great
many tombstones in the churchyards of the county showed that people lived
there to a great age. He did not apprehend, therefore, if they allowed the
Cumberland farmers to live the way their fathers and forefathers lived,
there would be any danger of their being unhealthy. He was of opinion that
this legislation was going too far. It was interfering unnecessarily with
the management of land. Let the farmer manage his own farmyard, and if he
found that himself or family suffered from having a dunghill within a short
distance of his house he would not allow it to remain there to his own loss
and the injury of his family's health.