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despatched to the Poor Law Board. As the results of required was the probable yield, so that proper measures these experiments had been so satisfactory, he considered might be taken in time, in cases of scarcity, to provide the system might be extended all over the country, and sufficient supplies from foreign countries. The availablo the Government put into the possession of this very produce was the great item of speculation. He undervaluable information. Some persons had suggested that stood that a government inquiry was now in progress to the required information might be better obtained obtain the acreage of land under crop, and not furthor. through the Tithe Commissioners, but he believed that He would much regret that, after the representation made the duties of that commission would soon terminate, and by the deputation from the City to Lord Aberdeen, the consequently that Board could not be properly entrusted government should limit this inquiry to the acreage only, to carry out a permanent measure. He therefore con- which would altogether impair the utility of the measuro, sidered, that the Board of Guardians would be the best and would only cause a comparatively unfruitful expenparties through whom to obtain the information, which it diture. The plan which he suggested provided also that must be remembered was not altogether foreign to them, monthly meteorological observations should be mado seeing their interest in the value of all the property in during the months between July and October, which would their Unions. At the same time, he admitted that there prepare for the estimates of the yield. With respect to would be difficulties in carrying out the scheme until it the mode of obtaining uch an estimate, he would recomhad been tested by experience.
mend the appointment of a number of competent persons Dr. Waddilove was about to point out the nature in certain districts in each county; and it would be of the information which he thought would be re possible to get the returns in time before October, quired, and the difficulties of drawing any sound unless, indeed, for exceptional cases, which might conclusion from the returne, in consequence of the differ- be met by supplementary returns. As to the mode ences of seasons, when
suggested by Mr. Caird of getting from the farmers the The Chairmax said, that as Mr. Levi had a plan for average produce of former years, it would be all but collecting the statistics which he wished to submit to the impossible to obtain such accounts. First, owing to the meeting, he thought they had better hear that first, number of farmers who kept no accounts of the produce; before proceeding with the discussion. Personally, he knew secondly, owing to the quantity of grain left unthreshed; nothing of agriculture, but he had formerly obtained a and thirdly, to the extreme differences in the acreage great deal of information relative to the supplies which sown, as shown by Mr. Caird himself in his note respectcould be obtained, when engaged in providing for feeding ing Ireland. Such was the groundwork of the plan the troops. He believed, that it every portion of the army which he would propose to the meeting. It had been was left to provide for itself, as the sappers and miners, said that such an inquiry was in itself an interference, and guards did, it would be most protitable, and if they and opposed to the principle of laissez-faire. He undercould obtain the prices of grain in every part of the king-stood that statistics and political economy were sister dom, on the plan of those published in the Mark Lane sciences (e), and that whatever individual efforts could Express, it could do no harm if it did not do good. In- not accomplish, it remained with the Government deed he believed it must prove beneficial, though it might to undertake. At the Statistical Congress at Brus. prevent one man making a large fortune by the ruin of sels, which was attended by M. Horace Söy and many many.
leading economists from Continental Universities, the Mr. LEVI said, that although, in the order of the pro- I statistics of agriculture were considered of the first ceedings, any further remarks on his part should be de- importance. What was now proposed was to obtain ferred to the conclusion of the discussion, he found it for this country what had been obtained with much essential, after having dealt with the general principle as advantage in other countries. As to what fell from Dr. to the importance and expediency of obtaining agricul- Waddilove on the former evening, he had clearly mistural statistics, to prepare a plan of the machinery which understood the question. By the collection of agriculmight be adopted for the purpose. He trusted he had es tural statistics it was never meant that the produce of the tablished the leading proposition, that such statistics were land would be increased unless, indeed, incidentally, as the wanted ; what remained now to ascertain was, by what facts thereby shown might spur on to greater energies means they might be collected. In order to provide for this great desideratum, there was required, -first, a (e) The following admirable statement on the conneccompetent Central Board ; secondly, a good local ma- tion of statistics and political economy, formed part of chinery; and thirdly, a number of able inspectors. the inaugural aldress by M. Quetelet, President of the As the objects of inquiry, there were two distinct Statistical Congress at Brussels, in October, 1852:branches first, the acreage of the several crops; En jetant les yeux sur cette réunion imposante, un fait, second, their probable yield. With respect to the bien significatif, se révèle d'abord, et nous sommes heureux Central Board, whilst leaving it to government to de pouvoir le constater, c'est la présence ici d'un grand choose which existing office possessed the best machinery nombre d'économistes du talent le plus distingué, présence for the purpose, he might be allowed to suggest that an qui proteste contre le prétendu divorce que quelques amalgamation of the Tithe Commission and Poor Law esprits chagrins ou superticiels voudraient voir prononcer Board might, perhaps, be the best. It was all-important entre la statistique et l'économie politique, entre i obserthat the Central Board should have a complete system of | vation et la science qui se doivent un appui mutuel, et maps, and accurate information respecting the various qui s'éclairent l'une l'autre. Sans doute, il est des écarts lands throughout the country. This the Tithe Commis- dont la statistique s'est rendue coupable, des abus auxsion eminently possessed. At the same time the Poor quels elle s'est prêtée en voulant étayer de faux systèmes Law Board might, perhaps, command the best local ma- ou faire prévaloir des idées préconçues, sans doute ello chinery for the purpose. “As to the means by which the est sortie parfois des limites dans lesquelles elle doit sa acreage under the different crops might be collected, he renfermer; mais les bons esprits n'ont jamais songé à would suggest that those adopted tor the counties of proscrire une science, surtout une science naissante, pour Norfolk and Hampshire, if found to be successful, bes'être écartée parfois de sa véritable direction. Combien pursued for the whole country. But he would not de temps l'astrologie n'a-t-elle pas usurpé la place de la fetter the action of the several boards, as what might be véritable science des astres ; l'alchimie le rang de le the best in one county might not be found to be so in science des Lavoisier et des Berzélius! Chaque scienco another. This inquiry of the acreage might be gone a débuté par des méprises, souvent même par de déplothrough at an early period of the year, and might be easily rables abus. Ce qui peut nous étonner, ce n'est pas que le obtained. Let them not, however, stop here. It might statistique ait érré ; mais que, si près de sa naissance, elle theoretically be very useful to know how many acres ait déjà compris sa mission, et senti le besoin de réguof land were sown in such a year, but what was most lariser sa marche.”
on the part of the farmers; secondly, that we could not be collected on the same plan, by means of the stipendiary control the elements, as statistics intended to perform force which have hitherto ably performed this onerous miracles. All that we asked was-Let us have facts as duty. accurate as possible, and truth and information would Mr. MORTON said, that those gentlemen who were preproduce their wonted effect. He would now call their sent at the meeting last Wednesday, might remember attention to the machinery suggested, trusting it would that he then stated the particulars of the sale of a crop receive a careful consideration. In the preparation of this amounting to about 600 quarters of wheat, which was in plan he acknowledged the valuable assistance he had | hand in October, 1846. He spoke then without memoroceived from most eminent men, and he had also randa of exact dates and quantities, and he had since much profited by the previous discussion on the subject. ascertained that he was in error on one or two points, but Mr. Levi then proceeded to say that he considered it as they did not at all affect the argument which was built had been established that the collection of agricultural upon them, he should not refer to them now. The fact statistics was expedient and practical. He, therefore, was, that 500 quarters of that corn were sold in the begged to suggest that the following machinery should autumn and winter of 1846, while wheat averaged less be employed for the purpose :—Plan of Operations.- than 60s. a quarter. Corn rose in May and June to up1. Thai a Central Commission (a) be authorised to ob- wards of 51. a quarter; and in September, when it had tain from the several Boards of Guardians in England again fallen to 78. 6d. a bushel, the remaining 100 quarand Wales annual returns of the total acreage (distin- ters of this crop were disposed of. Of course, he knew guishing estimated from ascertained acreage) comprised nothing certain, as to whether, or how much, the harin each union, showing therein the total acroage of each vest of 1846 was below an average one. If he had, the parish or extra parochial place within the union separately, wheat would not have been allowed to go to market together with the acrerage of the several crops, or state of except at a price as much (or more) in proportion above the whole of the land in such parish. 2. The Boards of an average prico, as the corn in the country was believed Guardians to be authorized to prepare the requisite ro- to be below an average supply; and the argument, so far turns by such ways and means as they may deem most as such a thing could be built upon a single instance, went ospedient, (b) having due regard to the utmost practicable fairly, he thought, to show how ignorance of that guide accuracy as well as economy. 3. These returns to be as to tho probable run of prices, which correct agricul. forwarded to the Central Board on or before the first of tural statistics would furnish, was a great injury to the June in each year, for the purpose of arrangement and farmer. He understood it was desired that the discussion publication. 4. Meteorological observations to be made this evening should be chiefly directed to criticism of the throughout the country, and monthly accounts of the various methods which had been proposed for collocting same to be forwarded to the Central Board, indicating the annual statistics of agricultural produce, and most people Influence of the weather on the growing crops at the most would agree with those who had so arranged it that the critical period, during the three months previous to har- preliminary question as to the utility of the information yest operations. 6. That the Central Board be author- thus to be acquired, had already been completely and loed to appoint one fit and competent inspector in every conclusively answered in the affirmative. He must assure county in England and Wales, (c) in order to test the the meeting, however, that the tenant farmers of the practicability of the scheme in the first instance; to un country were not nearly unanimous on this head. Many dertake the superintendence of certain defined districts, intelligent agriculturists
, whatever might be their opinion and report to the Central Board on or before the first of as to the bearing of this movement on the interests of the October, what, in his judgment, will be the average yield nation generally, believed that by guiding the movements of the several crops in the district so superintended. 6. of importers, it would tond to cheapen corn, and so injure Such district to represent, as far as possible, the average of the growers of corn. And as it was of importance for the the county in which it is situated.(d) 7. Each inspector's success and accuracy of the inquiry that it should be return to be signed by him, and to be published. The conducted not in spite of, but by means of, the agricultural several inspectors to be instructed to furnish the Central | interest, he should be glad to be permitted to call at. Board with such general remarks, as to those crops on the tention to some further evidence bearing upon this lands in his county not included in the district specially point which he had collected since last Wednesday. He assigned to him, as he may deem important. 8. These was very glad to hear Mr. Caird bear testimony at the returns, when reviewed, to be published by the Central last meeting to the frankness and liberality with which Board without delay. 9. The expenses incident to the farmers received and met inquiries into the details of their proposed annual returns and inspection, assumed to be business; no one could bear so valuable a testimony ou that about £10,000, should be defrayed by Government, the particular point as Mr. Cairdi; but so far as a much less exten. measure being of national importance. 10. The High. sive experience than that gentleman's had gone, he might land and Agricultural Society of Scotland to be intrusted add, that he could entirely corroborate what had been said. with the collection of the agricultural statistics of that part For the last six or eight years he had obtained information of the kingdom, to be published in the same form, and as at harvest time by inquiries addressed to between 300 and nearly as possible at the same time, as those for England 400 gentlemen, occupying land in every county of England and Wales. 11. The agricultural statistics of Ireland to and Ireland, and most of those in Scotland, information
readily supplied-and as trustworthy as intelligence and (a) It is suggested that the Central Commiesion be formed of careful observation could cause mere opinion to be. This officials from the Tithe and Inclosure Commission and the Poor information had been published in the Agricultural Gazette Law Board. The former possess a complete system of maps of shortly before harvest in every year, and he could refer to the various districts of the country; the latter is in direct com testimony borne in every quarter to the value (in partimunication with the Boards of Guardians. The amalgamation cular instances) of this imperfect statistical information, as of these two Boards for the purpose would provide what is a guide to behaviour in the corn market. But perhaps no required from both.
better illustration could be offered of the readiness with (b) The Boards of Guardians should have at their discretion which agricultural information was given to inquirers than the appointment of Committees composed of some from among the following :-On Monday last he was bold enough to themselves, and some select farmers to inspect the returns of write twenty letters, containing the following questionthe acreage under the different crops. (c) There are 62 or 54 counties in England and Wales, divided sale by whieh you disposed of the wheat, whether new or
“What was the date and the amount of each successive into 16,008 parishes, and comprising 37,324,915 acres.
(a) These to represent all the diversities of soil, culture, and old, which you had in hand, whether in granary, rick, or climate, so that the returns being multiplied by the number of field, in October, 1846 ?" These letters he addressed to districts, shall exhibit the agricultural statistics of the country gentlemen farming in the north of Scotland, in Fifeshire, sufficiently accurate for all practical purposes.
in the Lothians, in the south of Scotland, Northumberland,
Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, benefited by trustworthy information as to the annual Devonshire, Berkshire, Sussex, Kent, and Hampshire- produce of the country. But it was objected by some, to gentlemen with but few of whom he could claim more that it was only those large growers that would be benethan nominal acquaintance. Of course he stated the rea- fited-small farmers were forced to sell at particular sons for putting such an extraordinary and almost impu. times, and would not be benefited. Now, he would ask, deut question; and, by return of post, he received full what was the effect on the market, of sales such as two details of the way in which upwards of 50,000 bushels of of those marked on the diagram? Would the small wheat, owned in October, 1846, were disposed of; the farmer not have reaped any of the benefit of this informaagricultural statistics—in a much more detailed form than tion on the state of the supplies, if it had hindered these Mr. Cardwell desired them of at least 1500 acres of large growers from swamping the market just before wheat, corresponding to probably 10,000 acres of arable rent-day, and reducing the prices to all who then were land in those several counties. And it was to the way forced into it. It was said, too, that the information in which these sales illustrated the farmer's interest in the would be too late to be useful, and that 1846, in partiearly publication of trustworthy agricultural information cular, was an extraordinary year, on which no argument that he would now call attention. He had not been able could be built. Now there could be no doubt that the to make use of all the information that he had received. returns must be made early, or their usefulness would be In some cases it was given too generally to be useful; in very materially impaired; but if they should be published others the inquiry was misunderstood; in a few it came too in the beginning of October, as he supposed possible, all late; but even where the object of the inquiry was dis- the principal growers would wait for them. And as to approved of--and in some instances it was strongly dis- the year of the potato rot being an unfair year for approved of—the information was frankly given him. He judging by, he could only say, that the great majority then explained a diagram referring to the sales of nearly of English growers knew very well what was the value of 40,000 bushels of wheat owned by farmers. The red curved the potato crop early in September of that year; and that or rugged line indicated the way in which prices rose and although the Irish loss was not known so early, yet that, fell during the months from August, 1846, to December, the argument being intended to illustrate the real effect 1847. This line was obtained by adopting a certain scale, of this ignorance upon the interests of the farmer, it to represent a given amount of money, and drawing ver- might be built with equal force, and of course with greater ticals from a base line at the different months; the obviousness upon an extravagant, as upon a more ordi. verticals being marked off in each case at a point cor- nary instance of it. From one of the letters which ho responding to the price at the given time, and through had received on this subject, but which did not give inthese points the curved or rugged line was drawn. The formation in detail, he would make the following extract: upright black lines, drawn to a scale, indicated sales of " I sold out all my old wheat in October, 1846, and then I wheat their position on the diagram indicated the date commenced and continued the sale of my new crop until of each-their length, or rather height upon the base line it was disposed of before the succeeding high prices. In indicated the amount of each. It would be seen, that this I was advised by one in the corn trade, whose judge the tallest of the black lines indicated single sales of ment turned out to be wrong, and who subsequently upwards of 200 quarters each. It needed no statement became ruined by his extravagantly altered views when of facts, such as this diagram represented, to teach any the high prices set in.” Now he thought the whole case one that, demand being constant, price must just be whether as regarded agriculture or commerce, might inversely as the supply—that every case of a sudden rise well be rested on that one testimony, for it was plainly or sudden fall in price, was just an instance of unexpected a two-edged sword against all objections to the colleoabundance or unexpected deficiency in supply; having its tion of agricultural statistics on the score of inutility. origin, therefore, in the ignorance which statistics would Those among farmers who thought that the whole moveremove—that just in proportion as prices were excessive, ment was one in which corn merchants alone were intewas the fewness of the farmers who benefited by them, rested forgot that they were themselves corn merchants, and the injury to the many who had thus sold at a price and that it was of great importance to them, (the smaller below the natural range of the year. But it was believed, capitalists in this trade), `that the great importers be nevertheless, that an actual record of bona fide sales might guided aright-just as it was to small farmers, bound to be more influential than mere reasoning; and as such he sell, that large holders should not ignorantly force procommended this diagram to the attention of those agri- duce into the market, and so unnaturally lower prices to culturists who believed that statistical information would their detriment. The blue line of the diagram reprebe useless to them. They would see what a large sented the range of prices since August last ycar. Every number of sales crossed the red line where it was very one knew the way in which it had been oscillating during low down—that lowness being, in fact, the consequence the past three weeks, and what a leap upwards it had of that number of sales --and what a small number of sales latterly taken. The whole affair showed what guesstook place during high prices. October saw upwards of work the trade really was; and of what importance to all 800 quarters sold ; May saw about 80. Let them classes, and, as he believed, to farmers especially, the inforremember, too, that the men who had given him the mation desired would be. information from which this diagram was drawn, were all Mr. Mc'LACHLAN observed from the table of Mr. Levi, first-class men, intelligent men, and acknowledged as that about 10,000,000 quarters of grain were annually imsuch in their several localities ;-strong men, too (he ported into England from foreign parts; Canada, America, meant as capitalists), and under no necessity to make and the ports in the Mediterranean and Baltic seas being hurried sales of their crops. In one instance, an ex- the principal places from which the supplies were drawn. tensive farmer, who grew 1,100 quarters of wheat in Now to pay for these 10,000,000 quarters of grain about 1846, and was under no necessity to dispose of his wheat | £40,000,000 were required; and if, when the consignments in August and September, acted siinply as a reasonable arrived in England, the merchants had not the money to man, as every one knew him to be. Wheat had been pay for them, they had to enter into arrangements with the falling ever since May, and so immediately after his early consignees which enhanced the price to the consumers. harvest, he threshed out nearly one quarter of his whole It appeared that the money in the Bank of England was not produce, and sold 240 quarters in August, so as to get equal to two per cent. on the capital of the country. The the highest price of the season. The fact was, he got the property of England was estimated at £500,000,000. Lowest-wheat rose thereafter continuously up till June in whilst there was not £10,000,000 in the bank-indeed he tho following year. This gentleman sold his 1,100 doubted if there was £7,000,000 of actual capital. ho quarters of wheat at prices probably forty shillings a Chancellor of the Exchequer might issue Exchequer bills quarter below the maximum of the season. He need not for £5,000,000 or £6,000,000, but that could not be called say, he, at all events, belinved that farmers would be capital. In 1846-7 the price of wheat rose 90 per cento,
there being nothing to justify the rise excepting the high vz:- To take the wants of the previous year as a guide price and scarcity of money. He believed that if they ob. for the next. He maintained that there were a variety fained the statistics required, they would do but little to of reasons which rendered it utterly impossible to strike regulate the prices of grain, the fluctuations in which took an average of what might be their requirements. If they place from time to time without any justifiable cause took the year 1847, they would find 11,000,000 quarters excepting the value of money. What they wanted was imported, whilst, the following year the quantity fell to more capital and less accommodation in the corn trade, 7,000,000, rising again in 1849, to 10,000,000. In the so as to prevent a few having the power of raising the year 1852, the quantity imported was 7,000,000, and in value of grain according to the pressure upon the market. 1853, it rose again to 10,000,000,—the difference arising He alluded to this because he felt it his duty to do from a variety of causes, over which they had no control. everything to promote the cause of humanity, he having He believed, that at the present moment there were seen in India hundreds of persons lying by the roadside hundreds of quarters of corn in the country unthreshed. dying from hunger, whilst those who undertook to supply Even if they had accurate returns of the corn in the them wity corn were feeding them with lime, gypsum, country, they would not regulate the price of four, the or any rubbish, to add to their own gains.
fluctuations of which were influenced by a great variety Mr. CAMPBELL said the subject under consideration was of causes. Mr. M‘Culloch (a great authority on the one of great importance, relating as it did to the first subject) said “ attempts have been made to estimate the necessary oflife; and he considered that to obtain the most quantity of corn raised in a country from calculations correct and regular information with regard to it was of founded on the number of acres in tillage, and on the great national importance. The statistics at present before average produce per acre; but it is plain no accurate them showed that they were very deficient in information, account can ever be framed of the extent of land under with regard to the supplies which they could obtain. cultivation. It is perpetually changing from year to year, Several gentlemen had stated that they were compelled and the amount of produce varies, not only with the to have recourse to foreign countries, and the last speaker difference of seasons, but also with every improvement had shown that the price was regulated by the means of agriculture. Froin the extensive difficulties of forming they had to pay for it. To his mind one of the first anything like correct conclusions as to the state of the questions they had to consider was the amount of avail- crops at any given period, in any extensive country, and able land they had in this country for the cultivation of still more of estimating the supply and the probable price grain. He found that in round numbers the quantity of of corn at any future period, the risk attending the corn grain produced in England was only about 20,000,000 trade is proverbially great." He strongly impressed upon quarters per annum, whereas he was told that in Great gentlemen the necessity of pausing before they pushed Britain and Ireland there were at least 70,000,000 acres of this subject forward, and not allow their zeal for inforland capable of growing food for man, sufficient to supply mation to carry them beyond the path of discretion. a population of 100,000,000. He maintained that, having The Chainman understood the principle as laid down the ineans, they ought to produce all the grain they re. by Mr. Levi was, that the results of one year should serve quired in their own country by the industry of their own as a guide for the next. He believed that in October they people; and thereby be altogether independent of might get an approximate return of the yield of the harforeign countries, as it was in times of scarcity, or expected vest, though he was aware that in Scotland it was often scarcity, that they had to compete with France and other later; and he recollected the suspension-bridge at countries for the purchase of grain, the price of which Montrose being carried away, and a large quantity of was enhanced by the competition, and the ignorance which corn destroyed in the month of November. However, if existed relating to the quantity to be obtained. He was the principle was good, there could be no difficulty in aware that the price did not always depend on the quantity fixing the time for making the returns of the yield a little of grain in the market, but on the power of the merchants later than at present proposed. to hold out for high prices. He knew an instance of Dr. Farr considered it equally desirable to obtain corlarge quantities of grain being imported from Ireland and rect statistical information on this subject as any other, hoarded up in granaries because the market had a down-though there appeared to be some difficulty in the means ward tendency—the holders consulting others in the trade of doing so. He did not, however, doubt that this importwho advised and assisted in its being held out of the ant information could be in a great measure obtained, as, market to keep up prices. The result was that at the during the last census, when the whole people were enuend of two years, when nearly spoiled, it was re-shipped meraced, a great deal of information was obtained from to the very part of Ireland from which it had been brought, the fariners, which might be useful to the Society in and, circumstances having altered, realised a profit of 10... coming to a decision on this subject. They were asked per quarter-that was the commercial way of regulating to give the average they had under cultivation, and the the price of the food of the people. The commercial number of men employed. Out of 289,000 farmers apway was to keep the land out of cultivation, and the plied to, there were only 2500 who did not return the people out of employ, in order that the farmers and the acreage. As regarded the number of men employed, the corn merchants might make large profits, and consequently returns were not quite so complete, only 128.000 making prices fell and rose according to the value of money, in the required return; but a large portion of the others, which all commerical transactions were obliged to be probably, were small farmers, employing no labour beyond settled,
that of themselves and families. Mr. Caird had at Dr. WADDILOVE must say that in his opinion the plan their last meeting shown them the value of such inof Mr. Levi could lead to no practical or beneficial results. quiries, by giving them the breadth of land under cultiWhat would be the use of endeavouring to take the vation at different periods; it being in Ireland, in acreage under cultivation at seed-time; of the condition of 1819, 687,000 acres, and only 353,000 in 1852—or a the crops in July; and the extent of the crop on the 10th difference of 100 per cent. He believed that farmers of October? Why, in many of the northern counties the generally would make no objection to returning the harvest was far from concluded at that time, and even in amount of yield on their farms; and if they only got the Berkshire he had seen oats standing out on the 9th of actual yield from a small number of persons, there would November; and any farmer would tell them that last be no difficulty in arriving at what was the probable proyear a large portion of the crops did not ripen at all. duce of the rest of the country. With regard to the Would that be a test of what they were to expect on the machinery to be employed in obtaining the returns, he following year? What would be the good of a plan by thought that could be best settled by the Government. which they could not ascertain the extent of a crop until it Mr. NEWMARCH had listened with considerable attention came to hand. How could they provide against scarcity by to the discussion and the details of Mr. Levi's plan. In such a system. The plan proposed by Mr. Caird was better, the early part of the discussion he had been much strack
by the observations of Mr. Winkworth; and though that gentleman did not support the popular side of the question, he must be allowed to say they were distinguished by sound sense and sterling philosophy. He did not say that these returns could not be obtained if the Government went earnestly to work for the purpose; but he doubted the utility of the statistics when they were obtained, or that they would be worth the expense incurred in obtaining them. The idea of collecting the information in October, over a large surface of the kingdom, and rendering it useful, appeared to him all but impossible. They would have to employ a large number of persons and great machinery, so that it could hardly be collected in London before the end of the year. It would then have to be drawn up in schedules, and the general results carried out. They were aware that the Irish statistics collected by Major Larcom were not published until fifteen or eighteen months after the period to which they referred, and he thought they must be prepared for as great a delay before the agricultural statistics of England could reach the corn market. At the present moment the parties connected with the corn trade had their own means of obtaining information, which appeared to be very efficient, and he did not think any corn dealer would benefit by the proposed statistics. It was a principle of political economy to allow trade to be aarried on without let or hindrance, and he believed there was no principle upon which they were more generally agreed. Something had been said about the manner in which the corn trade was carried on, and some parties seemed to think it a moral offence if the holders of corn did not sell it when prices were depressed, but preferred holding it until they could obtain a profit, though they might rest assured that those who held the longest did did not always get the best profit.
Mr. CAIRD was very sorry the gentleman who had just spoken had not been present at the last meeting, as he would have heard all his arguments successfully combatted. Dr. Waddilove did not appear to understand the manner in which the information was to be collected, or the object of the proposed statistics. He (Mr. Caird) thought that on the average of years, there could not be any difficulty in arriving at the returns they required in October; and he believed they would prove very valuable to the country. He had been astonished to hear a gentleman sitting at the table, and therefore, he presumed, a member of the council of that society whose proceedings were a constant investigation of new facts, (Mr. Winkworth), arguing in favour of ignorance, as he did when he opposed the endeavour to obtain these statistics. The very reason alleged by one gentleman against the inquiry, that the improvements in agriculture from year to year' would render the statistics of little use, was, to him, a clear argument in their favour, as they would show what were the results produced by those improvements. One gentleman had said that the value of corn depended on the price of money; if he had said that value of money was measured by the abundance or scarcity of corn, he would have been more correct. Within the last fortnight flour had fallen from 40s. to 33s. a barrel in one week, just at the time when the Black Sea and the Baltic were closed to them by war, which any one would have supposed would have tended to cause prices to rise; and, without a single additional fact to enable them to know their real position with regard to the supplies of grain, it, on the following week, jumped up again from 33s. to 40s. Such fluctuations were the result of want of accurate knowledge of the annual supply of food. He would merely say, with regard to the mode proposed by Mr. Levi for obtaining the returns, that he thought the details had better be left to the government. Notwithstanding the information given them through the Poor Law authorities of the state of agriculture in Hampshire and Norfolk, they had no means of testing its accuracy, and no persons would be satisfied with respect to such returns unless some means were devised by which their accuracy could be tested.
The main feature of Mr. Levi's plan was founded on his own proposition and the plan adopted by the Highland Society; and here he might remark, in answer to an objection which had been made, that that Society did get sufficient information for their purpose, and publish it as early as October.
Mr. WINKWORTH, in answer to the singular charge just made against him, begged to say, that he was in no shape the apostle of ignorance. He did not object to the object which the machinery proposed by Mr. Levi was intended to effect, but he did object to any compulsory mode of obtaining agricultural statistics from the owners or tenants of land. If not made imperative, there was an end of his argument, but still he doubted whether any reliable statistics of grain could be obtained, and if obtained, whether they would accomplish the object proposed. He was happy to find, though he had previously no doubt, from conversation during the last few minutes, with, probably, the highest living authority on political economy, Mr. Thomas Tooke, that he fully agreed with him in the doctrine he had that evening advocated. Mr. Tooke was not only well known by his standard works on "Prices," but as the gentleman who drew up the celebrated petition presented to the House of Lords in 1820, by the present Marquis of Lansdowne, from certain merchants and bankers of London, praying for the abolition of all duties on importations from foreign countries, a movement which had originated those important relaxations introduced by Mr. Huskisson, and consumated by Sir Robert Peel, from which the nation at large had derived so many and great benefits. He (Mr. Winkworth) esteemed it a high honour to have been one of the few who signed that petition
Mr. THOMAS TOOKE agreed in the main with the principles stated by Mr. Winkworth at the outset of the discussion, whilst he did not much differ from Mr. Caird. Being a member of the Statistical Society, he believed all statistics were useful, although he thought also that some gentlemen entertained exaggerated views as to the advantage to be derived from them. The fluctuations of the prices in 1846 and 1847 arose from the failure of the potato crop, and the fears which were entertained of famine in France and Belgium, leading to large orders from abroad, and thereby deranging the market. Those fears were no doubt in a great measure exaggerated by the want of accurate information with regard to the grain crops; but the mere publication of these statistics would not altogether remedy the evil. He was surprised to find that it had been stated, that a rise of 18. a quarter in wheat caused a loss of two millions of money. He could not see that it was a national loss-as if it went out of the pockets of one party, it went into those of others.
A vote of thanks was then passed to Mr. Levi for the paper read on the previous evening, and for bringing the subject before the Society.
Mr. LEVI, in returning thanks, said, with reference to the question put by Mr. Campbell, as to the quantity of land capable of improvement in this country, Mr. Porter, in his "Progress of the Nation," gave a table made by Mr. Couling, as follows:Uncultivated Cultivated. Unprofitable. Summary. 15,000,000 46,522,970 15,871,468 77,394,433 Of the cultivated land,
The arable and garden land was 19,135,990 acres Meadow and pasture. 27,386,980 Waste, capable of improvement 15,000,000 15,871,463 Incapable of improvement And Mr. Porter stated that, supposing the same proportion to be preserved, if the whole of the improvable land now uncultivated were brought to its full use, an addition would be made to the arable and garden land of 6,000,000 acres, which, at the present amount of productiveness, would furnish food for about 9,000,000 people.]
The SECRETARY announced that on Wednesday next, the 12th instant, a Paper would be read by Dr. Forbes Royle, F.R.S., "On Indian Fibres."