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REVIEW OF THE REPORT OF THE AGRICULTURAL COMMITTEE; And exposure of the dangers that will arise to the Agricultural Interest, if Steam be

not applied simultaneously to purposes of Husbandry and Transport.

The document that stands at the head will succeed them from the corpus delicti, of this article--and which was anticipated viz, the Report itself, will be followed by by the agricultural community, and the some remarks of our own. nation at large, with the intense interest The Report then of the Select Committee which an enquiry so long deferred, and of the House of Commons, appointed to imperatively called for, deserved—has now enquire into the present State of Agriculbeen before the public for a sufficient ture in the United Kingdom, together with length of time to have admitted of a ma- the evidence educed, forms a volume of ture, and it may be supposed tolerably

707 folio pages :

:-an ample proof of itself, accurate, estimate of its merits. Therefore, were all others wanting, of the industry of in reviewing the Report, we shall take ad- the thirty-six Honourable Members envantage of the numerous criticisms upon trusted with this most momentous investiit which have appeared during the interval gation. Yet, notwithstanding its bulk, to that has elapsed since its publication, to all who have paid attention to the retrorelieve ourselves of the responsibility of grade condition of the country during the sitting in judgment upon it. Upon a sub- last fourteen years, the Report presents ject of such vital importance individual little that was not previously understood. opinion is but of slight regard when laid If, however, the undigested compilation of in the balance against the finding of a the numerous facts which have been number. We shall avoid exposing ourselves brought together has thrown no new lights to this objection, and meet the collective upon the subject, it has at least gathered wisdom of the Committee by the collective them from afar into one immense conwisdom of the Press. Though we shall glomeration. The Swing-fires, if we may work up the material so copiously fur- so speak, throughout all the land, those nished after our own fashion we desire to signals of distress which were confined to have it understood that the spirit of the local observation, have been amassed into latter is compressed into the following pre- a mighty funeral pile~-the baleful glare of liminary observations. The extracts that which is now alike visible as portentous to


we say,

every eye in the three kingdoms. No man given satisfaction to any of the parties who can rise from the perusal of the Report have commented upon it. To use the without coming to the fixed conclusion, strong language of another journalist, “it that the agricultural interest is rapidly has, in fact, that gloomy and unsatisfactory sinking into ruin; and he must be obtuse character which necessarily belongs to a indeed who does not see that with this document, which, after pointing out many fundamental interest all other interests in

evils, suggests no remedy that is not to be the country must fall. The faithful in- found in time and patience.” terpretation, upon this particular topic, of Time and patience! There are cases in the Committee's softened Report is, that,

which such remedies are worse than the beyond all question, agricultural distress disease; others where, admitting their generally prevails; that farming capital utility, it becomes a matter of impossibility has rapidly decreased within these few to administer them. Let us dip into the years; and that the effects of that decrease Report, and see from the symptoms under are apparent in a diminution of the stock which the agriculturists labour whether of cattle and sheep-in the abridged and as regards them they will prove either deteriorated cultivation of the soil-and in availing or applicable. deficient unremunerative crops. In a word, “ In looking back," says the Report, the real sufferings of this oppressed class " to the one made by the Committee, in of the community are not exaggerated when 1821, to whom the petitions complaining

“that our tenantry are utterly de- of the depressed State of the Agriculture of stroyed-fathers sent broken-hearted to the the United Kingdom were referred, it will grave widows to the workhouse-sons to be found that the Report commences by despair-daughters to ruin-all once the stating, “that the complaints of the petivirtuous contented inmates of peaceful and tioners are founded in fact in so far as happy homes!”

they represent that, at the present price of But if the Report has had its use in corn, the returns to the occupier of an making apparent the distress of the agri- arable farm, after allowing for the interest culturists--it seems to have effected no of his investment, are by no means adeother beneficial end. “ Seldom," says a quate to the charges and outgoings, of leading authority,“ have we seen so bulky which a considerable proportion can be a volume-the work of a public body paid only out of the capitals, and not from containing so little matter really worthy of the profits of the tenantry.” attention. We have had the courage to Such was the conclusion arrived at by dive pretty deep into the immense mass of the Committee of 1821, but not without evidence, in the hope of being able to bring expressing “the hope, that the great body to the surface something calculated to of the occupiers of the soil, either from the gratify the curiosity, to extend the know- savings of more prosperous timès, or from ledge, or to correct the prejudices of the the credit which punctuality commands public, but we candidly own that we have in this country, command resources which met with little, or no success. Even the will enable them to surmount the diffiReport itself, though it might have been eulties under which they now labour.” expected to embody the essence of the de- The hope seemed but fair and reasonable: positions taken by the Committee, and to what then has been the result? have pointed out improvements conforma- After the lapse of twelve years, during ble to the new information obtained in the which we have enjoyed fruitful seasons progress of the enquiry, possesses scarcely freedom from external aggression, and doany claims to public confidence or grati- mestic repose-here is the finding from the tude.” Indeed it does not seem to have facts produced, “ Your Committee, with


deep regret, are bound rather to express a

idleness and discontent everywhere prevafear that the difficulties alone remain un- lent--is it less than a mere mocking at our changed, the credit falling, and the re- agricultural calamity to say, that “the acsources being generally exhausted; and tive interposition of Parliament” is not this opinion is formed, not on the evidence urgently, nay imperatively, called for? of rent-payers, but of many most respecta- We suppose the timorous and feeble ble witnesses, as well as the owners of land conclusion arrived at by the Committee, as šurveyors and land agents.”

(by which, indeed, nothing is concluded) Such are the circumstances under which was made with the intention of quietly the Committee--not without subscribing shutting the door upon

the Corn-law questheir formal assent to the correctness of tion, as if the barring out of the enemy from the position, " that the agriculture of the abroad, was sufficient to make all within kingdom is the first of all concerns, the prosperous and satisfied! Why did the foundation of all its prosperity in every

Committee not boldly avow that the reother matter by which that prosperity is moval of the corn-laws, however clamoured produced," terminate their labours by for by a party in the state, however coun

dvowing it to be their opinion, that the tenanced by the anguish and distress of a hopes of melioration in the condition of the hungry multitude, would be accompanied, landed interest rest rather on the cautious to the nation at large, by evils inevitably forbearance than on the active interposition more destructive and overwhelming than of Parliament."

even those which now grind and oppress A more lame and impotent conclusion, Is there any thing to be ashamed of under the extreme exigencies of affalis, in declaring a truth so obvious and inconnever emanated from a body of men en- trovertable? It seems to be taken for a trusted with a solemn and responsible in- matter of course that the welfare of the vestigation Is it at a moment when it is agricultural body is a thing of no importallowed on the one hand," that the supply ance to any other class or portion of the of agricultural labour is greater than the community but themselves. That to opdemand;" and the apprehension is not pose the cry now raised against them, is to concealed upon the other, that " the quan- oppose,


and justice and hutity of land in cultivation has been greatly manity! The agricultural interest neverdiminished; and that what is still retained theless, is the belly of the body-politic; and in use is much less perfectly cultivated let the mutinous members conduct themthan heretofore;" that government is to selves as they may, they cannot survive be counselled “cautiously to forbear” pre- when the other perishes. It has been no venting our overburdened husbandry from less judiciously than forcibly observed, plodding on in the same sad circle of dis- that the Parliament of 1829 deserved to be tress to perpetuity ? Again, when it is cashiered if it had committed no other acknowledged, that “farmers have been erime than that simply of refusing to long paying their rent out of their capital" muster forty of its Members to entertain that the agricultural capital of the coun- the frequently evaded, or defeated, enquiry try is upon the point of being exhausted, into the distressed condition of the agriand the productiveness of the land conse- culturists of the empire. And now that quently dried up-that the amount of the investigation has actually been made, food has been diminishing in an alarming and the marrow of “the result of the Comtatio—and the mouths that ought to con- mittee's careful observation is, that during sume it have been becoming more nu- the last ten years especially, the tenants merous by millions that the misery of the have become gradually more and more dislower orders is daily multiplying, and tressed; their live and dead stocks have

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