They were, in the first place, given away gratis, and the person who received one of these mares is allowed to consider her as his own property, and use her in any kind of work he thinks proper; he is, however, obliged not only to keep her, and not to sell her, or give her away, but he is also under obligations to keep her as a brood mare, and to have her regularly covered every season, by a stallion pointed out to him by the commissioners, who are put at the head of this establishment. If she dies, he must replace her with another brood mare, which must be approved by the commissioners, and then marked.--If one of these mares should be found not to bring good colts, or to have any blemish, or essential fault or imperfection, she may be changed for another.
The stallions which are provided for these mares, and which are under the care of the commissioners, are provided gratis; and the foals are the sole property of those who keep the mares, and they may sell them, or dispose of them, when and where, and in any way they may think proper, in the same manner as they dispose of any other foal, brought by any other mare.
In case the army should be obliged to take the field, AND IN NO OTHER CASE WHATEVER, those who are in possession of these mares are obliged either to return them, or to furnish, for the use of the army, another horse fit for the service of the artillery.
The advantages of this arrangement to the army are obvious. In the case of an emergency, horses are always at hand, and these horses being bought in time of peace cost much less than it would be necessary to pay for them, were they to be purchased in a hurry upon the breaking out of a war, upon which occasions they are always dear, and sometimes not to be had for money.
It may perhaps be objected, that the money being laid out so long before the horses are wanted, the loss of the interest of the purchase-money ought to be taken into account; but as large sums of money must always be kept in readiness in the military chest, to enable the army to take the field suddenly, in case it should be necessary; and as a part of this money must be employed in the purchase of horses; it may as well be laid out beforehand, as to lie dead in the military chest till the horses are actually wanted; consequently the objection is not founded.
I wish I could say, that this measure had been completely successful; but I am obliged to own, that it has not answered my expectations. Six hundred mares only were at first ordered to be purchased and distributed; but I had hopes of seeing that number augmented soon to as many thousands; and I had even flattered myself with an idea of the possibility of placing in this manner among the peasants, and consequently having constantly in readiness, without any expence, a sufficient number of horses for the whole army; for the cavalry as well as for the artillery and baggage; and I had formed a plan for collecting together and exercising, every year, such of these horses as were destined for the service of the cavalry, and for permitting their riders to go on furlough with their horses: in short, my views went to the forming of an arrangement, very economical, and in many respects similar to that of the ancient feudal military system; but the obstinacy of the peasantry prevented these measures being carried into execution. Very few of them could be prevailed upon to accept of these horses; and in proportion as the terms upon which they were offered to them were apparently advantageous, their suspicions were increased, and they never would be persuaded that there was not some trick at the bottom of the scheme to over-reach them.
It is possible that their suspicions were not a little increased by the malicious insinuations of persons, who, from motives too obvious to require any explanation, took great pains at that time to render abortive every public undertaking in which I was engaged. But be that as it may, the fact is, I could never find means to remove these suspicions entirely, and I met with so much difficulty in carrying the measure into execution, that I was induced at last to abandon it, or rather to postpone its execution to a more favourable moment. Some few mares (two or three hundred) were placed in different parts of the country; and some very fine colts have been produced from them, during the six years that have elapsed since this institution was formed; but these slow advances do not satisfy the ardour of my zeal for improvement; and if means are not found to accelerate them, Bavaria, with all her natural advantages for breeding fine horses, must be obliged, for many years to come, to continue to import horses from foreign countries.
My attempts to improve the breed of horned cattle, though infinitely more confined, have been proportionally much more successful. Upon forming the public garden at Munich, as the extent of the grounds is very considerable, the garden being above six English miles in circumference, and the soil being remarkably good, I had an opportunity of making, within the garden, a very fine and a very valuable farm; and this farm being stocked with about thirty of the finest cows that could be procured from Switzerland, Flanders, Tyrol, and other places upon the Continent famous for a good breed of horned cattle; and this flock being refreshed annually with new importations of cows as well as bulls, all the cows which are produced, are distributed in the country, being sold to any person of the country who applies for them, AND WITH PROMISE TO REAR THEM, at the same low prices at which the most ordinary calves of the common breed of the country are sold to the butchers.