towards the tabulation of authentic returns concerning crops and the area under culture. But the number of these is very small. As to the general statements given in books of geography, epitomes of knowledge, and so forth, they must be received with caution ; the writers cannot know more on such matters than the governments themselves ; and the governments do not know much,, for the statistical machinery has never yet been well developed.

France, a foremost country in all that concerns systematic development by the Government of productive industry-whether the development be, or be not, equal in efficiency to the promptings of individual enterprise-has not left the statistics of agriculture altogether unattended to. The National Assembly, nearly seventy years ago, placed in the hands of the distinguished Lavoisier the charge of collecting information on this point; his researches were based on an assessment of the land-tax; but the results obtained appear to have been small in value. Shortly afterwards, another philosopher of European reputation, Lagrange, was intrusted with a similar duty ; followed, however, by no better result. Napoleon, when in the zenith of his imperial power, appointed a Commission in 1810; here, again, the Commissioners found insuperable difficulties, and innumerable prejudices stand in the way of any attempt to ascertain the amount of crops within a given period. The Bourbons took up the subject in which a Napoleon had failed ; another Commission was appointed in 1814; and this Commission, like its predecessors, learned by experience the difficulties inherent in the matter, and the paucity of trustworthy details likely to be obtained. Minor attempts were made from time to time, in later years ; but in 1836 a more organized plan was adopled. The collection of statistics was intrusted to the prefects and sub-prefects of all the Departments. In the returns which, year after year, have been made by, these officials, the acreage and amount of crops are tabulated after the results of the harvest have become actually known; but there have also been given, somewhat beyond the strict letters of the prefects' instructions, early annual estimates of the probable produce, showing how far France was likely to produce, in a given year, crops adequate to the demand. This has become a subject of almost perilous importance to France. The Emperor Napoleon the Third, among the many bold acts of the last three years, has not hesitated to apply his imperial power to the daily bread of Paris; he has issued edicts, in dear times, concerning the price at which bread shall be compulsorily sold in his metropolis ; empowering the municipality, out of their corporate funds, to reimburse to the bakers the money which they might lose by selling bread at an artificially low price. A dangerous procedure this, which no English statesman could adopt in our own country. It requires that the Emperor and his Government should well know the probable amount of corn in France, or available to France, at any given time.

In Belgium, statistics have been made a subject of attention, more extensively, perhaps, than in any other country. The labours of M. Quetelet have been very marked in this department of social inquiry. Having regard to agricultural statistics, there is a Central


Statistical Commission at Brussels, which corresponds with SubCommissions throughout the country; and these Sub-Commissions undertake the management of agricultural statistics as well as statistics relating to other subjects. This central statistical department, at Brussels, is wholly distinet from the other departments of the State; it has an independent jurisdiction, and takes cognizance of the statistics of industry and commerce, as well as those of agriculture. It was probably in reference to these Sub-Commissions, that the late Mr. Porter said, in his . Progress of the Nation,' “ In Belgium every kind of information connected with production is easily obtained, by means of a Committee (usually landed proprietors) elected in the several districts. Their functions somewhat resemble those of Justices of the Peace in England. Possessing local knowledge concerning the condition and circumstances of the several communes or sub-districts, they are enabled readily to detect or prevent any considerable errors in the returns made by the farmers or occupiers; and there is, therefore, every reason to place a considerable degree of reliance upon the results obtained.”

The other countries of Europe are probably less advanced than France or Belgium in this department of industrial inquiry; and we may pass them without detailed notice. There are, however, statistical societies now at work, in various countries, whose journals or reports are gradually accumulating a large and valuable body of information thereon; destined, in all probability, to benefit nations and communities at some future time. Witness our own Statistical Society, for instance. The Journal containing the papers contributed by its members is becoming rich in information concerning a wide range of subjects bearing on the social well-being of the nation—its food, its health, its commerce, its banks and banking, its schools, its misdemeanors and punishments, its productive industry, its progress in population. Still more useful, perhaps, is the intercommunication between different societies of this kind in different countries ; for, as one territory or one people may be differently circumstanced from that of another, so could each one tell something which the other might wish to know--each, like a magnet, gains strength in giving.

A step in this direction was made two years ago. The Statistical Congress at Brussels in 1853 was an attempt to obtain, by a combination of agencies, information of wider scope and more trustworthy character than could result from individual efforts only, or even from the researches of any society deprived of co-operation in other countries. It was one among many recent endeavours to give to the said cosmopolitan its true meaning : regarding each man as a citizen of the world, entitled to the good offices of his brother citizens, on condition that he make his knowledge and experience contributory to the general good—the prejudices of race and nation being, fo this end, laid aside. Such are the scientific meetings of naturalists on the Continent-such is our British Association such the Peace Congress, if the time should ever come when such a congress would work more good than mischief-and such was the Congress of Statists at Brussels.

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When the members of that congress compared notes, it appeared that the various continental states, whatever might be their means of ascertaining the amount of actual crops at any one given harvest, did not possess any machinery for forming an anticipative hypothesis, a prospective estimate, of the amount of crop at the next season or in the next year. Wherever agricultural statistics were really collected, they were statistics of real quantities, obtained after the harvest—it might be annually, or it might be at quinquennial or decennial periods. Estimates such as would regulate the markets are those which would interest the farmers and the merchant; but the Brussels Congress regarded the question in a more purely scientific point of view, as furnishing materials for the political economist, the chemist, the meteorologist, and others to work upon. In the details of the congress, it was agreed that the statistics obtained, in order to render ali needful service, ought to comprise facts relating to the quality and condition of the soil; to the natural phenomena which might fall under the notice of the cultivators; to the implements used in the culture of the several kinds of crops in the several districts; to the means employed for supplying or restoring the chemical constituents drawn from the soil by the crops, or in other words manuring; to the ratio between the domestic animals and the farm produce ; to the ages and characteristics of these animals, whether for labour or for food; to the special culture of useful vegetables, as distinguished from the larger items of corn produce; to various questions bearing on the relation between production and consumption ; and to the relation of agriculture to society in general. As a means of laying down a basis for future statistical inquiries, whether carried on by governments or societies, the congress recommended that agricul. tural statistics should be collected during the last quarter of the ycar, when summer and autumn have put forth their full results. It was also considered, that the statistics would possess increased value if taken at the same time as the census of the population, whether that be decennial or more frequently; as the means would thereby be furnished for establishing many valuable ratios between the number of persons to be provisioned and the amount of supplies at hand to provision them. Furthermore, the members of the congress were duly impressed with the importance of combining, as much as might be practicable, with the statistics of agricultural, other statistics which might throw light upon the condition, proceeds, and commercial results of farming generally. The commercial importance of ascertaining annually, at an early part of the season, the probable richness or paucity of the crops, did not, as we have said, form a part of the object towards which the attention of the congress was directed. A more limited groundwork was laid, such as would be useful in exact ratio to the trustworthiness of the materials employed. The congress was not a meeting of statists for the collection of sta. tistical returns on a particular subject at a particular time and place; but a meeting to discuss how all statists, in all lands and in all times, might most usefully contribute to the common state of knowledge on the subjects to which their labours were directed.

Having thus glanced at various matters which touch more or less

closely upon this subject, we now proceed to the statistical inquiries relating to our own country.

All the agricultural statistics hitherto collected in England have been obtained in a piecemeal manner - they have been mere gropings after a system. Writers on agriculture and on public economy have wrought usefully in limited districts, and societies have also effected much that is valuable—or may become valuable when tested by trustworthy data; but it is of Government inquiries that we speak.

The attention of the Government seems to have been first direcied to this subject in 1832. In the previous year, a statistical inquiry had been made by a committeeof the magistracy of Norfolk, respecting the acreage and crops of.that county. The committec addressed circulars to 680 parishes; but 254 of these declined to answer the questions submitted to them, and the committee had no other resource than to infer from the 426 affirmatives to the 254 negatives. Still, though imperfect, the result was useful as a beginning; and in 1832, wlien the Statistical Department of the Board of Trade was established, Lord Auckland saw the importance and necessity of obtaining correct agricultural statistics. Nothing was effected, howcver, until 1836, when the Board of Trade resolved to make a small experiment of its own. Circulars were sent to the clergymen of 126 parishes in Bedfordshire, enclosing schedules of the returns required, and asking for co-operation. This experiment was a most signal failure ; for out of 126 parishes applied to, only 27 returned any answer. It was a time when the clergy and the high Tory party distrusted the suspected radicalism of most new Government projects, and was on that account an unfortunate period at which to make the attempt. Eight years passed over; when, in 1844, Mr. Gladstone, at that time President of the Board of Trade, stated in the House of Commons that the subject was under his consideration. The Board of Trade, the Home Office, and the Poor Law Board, next had a long correspondence in reference to the question, whether the last named of these three might undertake the management of a system of national agricultural statistics : and it appears to have been decided that, as constituted at the time, the Poor Law Board could not adequately fulfil this duty. In 1845 the Board of Trade resolved to make another attempt, or rather three small attempts in the three kingdoms—North Hants in England, Mid-Lothian in Scotland, and Bailieborough Union in Ireland. The Irish inquiry was made by a private individual, and was satisfactory; the Scotch inquiry was managed by the schoolmasters of the respective parishes, and was equally successful ; but the English inquiry was an utter and disheartening failure. The Board of Trade, in this last-mentioned case, addressed communications to the Board of Guardians of the different unions; while the Poor Law Commissioners backed the application, by requesting the Board to employ their own paid officers to induce the occupiers of land to fill up the schedules that were sent to them. The result was almost nil ; scarcely any returns were obtained ; and a strong impression was left that nothing less than compulsory powers would be available for obtaining the desired statistics.

The next attempt was made in 1847, when Mr. Milner Gibson, Vice-President of the Board of Trade, brought into Parliament a “ Bill to make Provision for the Collection of Agricultural Statistics in England and Wales.” By the provisions of that Bill, the duty of obtaining the statistical information was to devolve upon the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths, and Marriages ; the superintendent registrars throughout the kingdom were to be charged with the appointment of “ agricultural enumerators” in their respective districts; the enumerators were to prepare lists of all the occupiers of land exceeding three acres, to send specified blank forms to those occupiers, and to collect those blank forms after an interval of fourteen days, filled up with the several entries of particulars. This being done, the enumerators were classify the returns, and construct general tables from them. These tables were to be transmitted to the superintendent registrars, by them to the Registrar-General, and by him to the Board of Trade. These returns and tables were to apply to the month of June in each year. The Bill was read a first time; but as the public had not yet learned to feel much interest in the subject, and as various party questions were then on the tapis, the Bill shared the fate of many others, and fell to the ground.

At this date, Scotland comes in for its share of notice.

The Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland has laboured carnestly-in great part through the personal exertions of Mr. Hall Maxwell, the Secretary- to aid in the collecting of authentic agricultural statistics, as far as concerns Scotland. In 1847 the Society memorialized Sir George Grey, Secretary of State for the Home Department, and was requested to communicate its views on the cr-bject to the Government. But the Government dropped the subject, in Scotland as well as in England. The Society again memorialized the Home Department in 1852, stating, that if any legalized plan were established for collecting agricultural statistics in Scotland, the Society would readily lend assistance to that end. Mr. Maxwell was desired to prepare a scheme for the working of such a system; he did so; but so many changes occurred among the ins' and 'outs' at the Board of Trade—Lord Clarendon yielding to Mr. Labouchere, and he to Mr. Henley, and he to Mr. Cardwellthat several months elapsed before the scheme could be attended to. At length, in 1855, the Highland Society was authorized by the Earl of Aberdeen's Government to expend a certain sum in the collecting of agricultural statistics in the three Scottish counties of Haddington, Roxburgh, and Sutherland.

The scheme which Mr. Maxwell laid down, and which he practically followed, was this :—Each county was divided into certain districts, so chosen as to group the parishes with a view to their agricultural features, nearly similar in their general products, and in the quality of the farming. The services of an influential, intelligent, active practical farmer in each district was secured as enumerator. Under him was a committee, consisting of farmers connected with the different parishes ; so that, in fact, each parish in the district was represented at the committee. Mr. Maxwell having prepared a form of schedule, the necessary number was sent to the

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