The London "Telegraph," of March 26, 1881, as cited by several American journals, said that, according to a correspondent of a provincial contemporary, "the depression in the agricultural districts is fully as great as it was represented by many of the speakers in the debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday... . Thousands of acres," it said, "are lying unproductive, because without tenants, in various parts of England; and a clergyman, writing from Nottinghamshire, gives a doleful account of affairs in that district. There seems, he says, to be a better state of things in towns than in the country. Here general bankruptcy seems imminent. Hundreds of farms are to be let and few farmers seem to have any capital left to take them." No reform of more urgent interest could possibly be taken in hand by any ministry than the raising of British agriculture from its present drooping condition.
Under date of January 10, 1881, consular clerk Charles F. Thirion, of Liverpool, reported to the State Department some facts concerning English agriculture. The comparisons, when not stated otherwise, are between 1870 and 1879. The report shows a decrease of arable area, 33 per cent; of corn land, 3·1 per cent; of wheat land, 163 per cent; of barley land, 138 per cent; of oat land, 4·4 per cent; a comparison of 1879 with 1874 shows a decrease in the number of sheep of 1,414,000, a little more than 7 per cent.
The Chicago "Tribune" of June 21, 1881, reprinted from the New York "Tribune" an article upon English estates. In that article the "Saturday Review" is quoted as saying, "A state of things has undoubtedly existed for some time, and still exists, which justly awakens great anxiety for the future of the country, and profound sympathy for the sufferers.".. . The advertisements in the London 'Times' bear eloquent testimony to this state of things. Columns are filled with notices of old country residences, broad demesnes, wooded parks, and snug country-houses to be sold... . Ninety-five per cent of the small estates are mortgaged, often for one third or two thirds of their value."
The New York "Tribune" represents protective ideas the other two papers are free-traders.
A telegram from "Washington to the St. Louis "Globe-Democrat," dated August 1, 1882, stated that a communication had been received at the State Department from the consul at Liége. As reported by the telegram, that communication contained this summary: "In one year, the falling off in English agriculture was 42 per cent; for six consecutive years it was 20 per cent."
The "Globe-Democrat" is recognized as a protective organ of a very conservative type.
The Chicago "Inter-Ocean" (protection) of September 27, 1889, reprints this excerpt from the London "World": "An example of the ruinous depreciation of agricultural land in Lincolnshire was recently afforded when a farm with houses and buildings, in the neighborhood of Alford, was offered for sale, and the highest bid was £2,100, although the property cost £6,700 eighteen years ago, and a considerable sum has since been expended in improvements." The same Chicago journal quotes from the London "Times" that "fifty per cent of the dock laborers, including perhaps the permanent men, are agricultural laborers in point of origin."
The startling likeness of the two pictures must be remarked. The one is fuller, decked off with more rhetoric, than the other, but the essential features are the same: the heavy mortgages; the depreciation in value to one third of the cost; laborers abandoning the farms for town and city; the abandoned (at least uncultivated) lands; unprofitable farming; decrease in productions and of sheep. I have given the character of my witnesses, when known. If Mr. Benton had admitted that his principal witness on the wool question, Hon. John E. Russell, was a free-trader and interested in free wool (which I understand to be facts), the value of his "opinion" would be heavily discounted. The pertinent question that must arise here is, If the protective tariff of the United States has destroyed the agricultural interests of this nation, did the free-trade policy of Great Britain cause the great depression in the agriculture of that nation? In other words, does agriculture prosper any more under free trade than under protection?
|M. B. C. True.|
|Edgar, Neb., December 1, 1889.|
Editor Popular Science Monthly:
Some parts of the paper by Dr. Sir James Crichton-Browne, in the November number of your journal, are open to serious criticism. I refer especially to his remarks "on the insufficiency of the definition or test of insanity laid down by British and American courts, and on an amended test which would commend itself to medical experience."
It is admitted by the learned writer that the accepted legal test—a knowledge of right and wrong in reference to the criminal act—is satisfactory in most cases; but he holds that there are certain morbid states of the emotions and will which constitute insanity, although connected with a sound intellect. Now, the vast majority of medical men with experience of the insane have no knowledge of such cases. For myself, I have never seen a case of this kind in the examination of several thousand lunatics, and I have never heard of any mark by which these can be distinguished from cases of vice and crime. Dr. Crichton-Browne