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Were it possible to obtain accurate returns of the quantity of food produced annually in the United Kingdom, we might form a tolerably correct estimate of the economic condition of the great mass of the people at one time compared with another, at least as regards that large item of home comfort. Unfortunately, the landowners and farmers have always been opposed to any measure which has been proposed with a view to obtain accurate agricultural statistics. In other countries the greatest pains are taken to procure returns relating to the produce of the soil and other data relating to agriculture. In Belgium, every kind of information with regard to agriculture is presented to government in an annual report, drawn up by a body of gentlemen, chiefly landed proprietors, selected from the different provinces for that purpose. In this country, where so much attention has lately been paid to political arithmetic, and where so much valuable information has been obtained relating to almost every other branch of industry, we are still deplorably deficient in all that belongs to agriculture. Now that the corn-laws have been swept away, we cannot understand upon what ground the landed interest should oppose any well-devised scheme for procuring agricultural statistics, unless it be from a lurking belief among the members of the country party,' that the publication of full and accurate returns relating to the cultivation of the soil would not promote the revival of protection.

But although we cannot say what the actual aggregate_consumption of food has been in this country lately, we are fortunately able to make a tolerably close approximation to the positive increase in consumption which has taken place of late years. From the custom-house returns, which no protectionist will venture to dispute, we learn that the following quantities of corn, grain, and meal, have been imported into the United Kingdom during the last three years:

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Here is an annual importation of ten millions of quarters of grain and meal, for the last three years, in addition to our usual home supplies. We have taken the three years since the cessation of the potato-rot, because we look upon them as affording a pretty fair criterion of the average quantity of grain we shall require from abroad in ordinary years. Should that improvement in the condition of the people which has already begun, go steadily forward, as we confidently anticipate, if government act wisely, our importations of foreign grain will doubtless go on increasing, because the improved demand for beef, mutton, and dairy produce, among the labouring classes, will induce the farmers to devote a larger portion of the soil to pasture and the raising of green crops. To some extent this change has already begun, as the raising and fattening of live stock, and the production of butter and cheese, are more profitable than the growing of corn.

The advocates of protection affect to believe that all this large importation of foreign grain must have thrown several millions of acres of land in Great Britain out of cultivation. What proof can they bring of that? The want of accurate agricultural statistics, for which the landed interest alone is to blame, prevents our giving the same precise information regarding the improved condition of agriculture in 1851, as we did with respect to the cotton manufacture. But there is one small item in the Trade and Navigation Returns for last year, which reveals a much more thriving state of affairs among the producers of food than most people were prepared for. It is now some ten years ago since Dr. Lyon Playfair, to whom the landed interest of Great Britain is so much indebted on many accounts, first drew the attention of farmers to a small sample of guano, the first portion of which had been imported from South America about that time. From a careful analysis of the new substance, he pronounced it to be a highly concentrated manure, and predicted the most astonishing results from its application to land. The farmers laughed at the man of science, as they generally do at any new suggestion, especially if made by one who has studied the science of agriculture only in books. It was some little time before they would even give the new manure a trial; but so rapidly did the demand for it increase, after they became convinced of its value, that our importation of guano had reached no less than 82,134 tons in 1847. That was the first year after the total abolition of the corn-law, and the following figures will show at what rate the importation of this very expensive manure has been going on since that period:


71,414 tons.

1849. 83,438

1850. 116,926

1851. 243,014



An increase in the importation of guano to the extent of nearly 250 per cent. in four years, does not indicate much despondency as to our future prospects. We can hardly guess what inference the protectionist President of the Board of Trade may draw from this very liberal expenditure on costly manure by the farmers of Great Britain, but surely he will not attempt to call attention to it as a signal proof of agricultural distress.

But our business has not been so much with the real or pretended distress of the landed interest, as with the actual condition of the labouring class. No small amount of industry and ingenuity has lately been employed to show, that the fluctuating mass of perennial distress among the poor of this country has been mainly produced by the gradual abolition of protective duties. We have endeavoured to prove, that the condition of the masses, taking them in the aggregate, and looking merely at the amount of real wages earned, is better at the present day than it has been at any former period during the last two centuries. As for the very great inequality between the wages of skilled labour of the best kind, and ordinary unskilled labour, an inequality which has increased to a remarkable extent during the last fifty years, we have done little more, on the present occasion, than call attention to it, as the most notable phenomenon in our industrial condition; the one above all others to which the attention of a wise statesman would be most earnestly directed. Whatever may be said of the superior condition of a large majority of the people compared with that of the same class at any former period, it cannot be denied that there has been at various times, within the last twenty or thirty years, a strong feeling of discontent among the lower sections of the poor, whose sufferings are aggravated by the sight of so great an increase of comfort and luxury on every side, in which they have no share. How is that feeling of discontent to be removed or mitigated? The speediest and safest method, in our opinion, would be by creating so brisk a demand for labour at remunerative wages, as would leave no man without employment who is willing and able to work. That once done, the undistracted attention of a philanthropic government might be wisely directed to such sanitary and other reforms as the wants of the people require. It may be questioned whether any government, though ever so willing, could create so great a demand for labour as would give employment to the whole population; but a glance at what has already been done in that way since 1842 by the partial adoption of free trade, may serve to show how much may yet be effected by a statesman wise enough to understand what the great wants of the age are, and bold enough to provide for them.


ART. II.—(1.) Life in Mexico, during a Residence of Two Years in that Country. By Madame C de la B- Chapman &

Hall. 1843.

(2.) Pictures of Life in Mexico. By R. H. MASON.

Smith, Elder, & Co. 1851. (3.) A Ride over the Rocky Mountains to Oregon and California, with a Glance at some of the Tropical Islands, including the West Indies and the Sandwich Isles. By the Hon. HENRY J. COKE, Author of Vienna in 1848.' Bentley. 1852. (4.) Nicaragua: Its People, Scenery, Monuments, and the proposed Oceanic Canal, with numerous Notes and Illustrations. By E. C. SQUIER, late Chargé d'Affaires of the United States to the Republics of Central America. Longman. 1852.

(5.) Scenes and Adventures in Central America. Edited by FRED. HARDMAN, Esq., Author of 'Peninsular Scenes and Sketches," &c. Blackwood & Sons. Edinburgh. Edinburgh. 1852.

A CENTURY ago, that portion of a library which was appropriated to travels needed not be very extensive, except in the grand old houses, when the books were heir-looms, and when the quaint antique folios of Marco Polo, Hakluyt, Purchas, Fynes Moryson, Sandys, Peter Kalm, Tournefort, Maundrel, and Captain J. Smith, were to be found in their earliest editions. Then Anson's Voyage, with the interesting episode contained in Byron's Narrative, and Captain Cook's Voyages, were the only popular and well-known books of travel, during the first twenty years of George the Third's reign. Swinburne and Brydone followed close on this period. Then came Bruce's Abyssinia, to believe in which was supposed to require such a stretch of credulity at the time, and which formed such a contrast to another book that appeared about the same period-we refer to Arthur Young's Travels in France, where common and well-known things were placed in quite a new light, from being described by a man possessed of an excellent faculty of observation, and seeing objects through the medium of a clear, practical mind. To him succeeded Clarke, giving an individual interest, by the impression which his writings left of his own character, to his account of countries the greater part of which had previously been traversed by the philanthropic Howard. In the following twenty years, it became the fashion for pleasure tourists to put forth books uninteresting to all but the scientific, in which the homely adventures of each day were disguised in a vague, loosefitting style, bristling and sonorous with grand words, but con


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veying very little distinct idea of the countries the authors had visited, or the life of the people amongst whom they had sojourned. The exceptions to this class of travels, so dull to the popular mind, because squeezed so dry of all human interest, were the accounts of shipwrecks and struggles for life in antres vast and deserts idle,' which plain men, with no fine education, wrote under the pressure of the memory of their dangers. They told a tale of hair-breadth escapes in homely language; the very essence of their narrative was the human interest contained in it, and, appealing as they did to the common heart of humanity, their books were received, and are still held fast, by the people' among their choicest store of travels. While the handsome quartos of Sir George Mackenzie, Dr. Holland, &c. &c., are still dignified with broad margins and expensive letter-press, the Mutiny of the Bounty is published and republished in a cheap form, so that all who ask may have it. This, and other works of a similar description, the names of which will suggest themselves to every one, possess the charm which belongs to the narration of one who forgets himself in his subject. This, we believe, is the secret of success-the essence of true eloquence -the real magic of those biographies which bite into our memories of those travels which give to children their earliest, and, to the national mind its most vivid, ideas of particular places or


But in these later days-days which Sir John Herschel considers that the prophet had in view when he spoke of the time in which knowledge should be increased, and many should run to and fro,' with all the wonderful facilities of travelling which steam has laid open to us-it almost forms a part of a gentleman's education to travel beyond the continent in which he was born. The grand tour which Walpole and Gray took, in common with the young men of rank in their time, has now become a very plebeian and every-day affair. Have the sons of our noble families, or of our rich merchants, a year or two to spare, after their book-education is completed, and before they enter on the struggles of actual life-they set off to India, to California, to the Cape, partly with the desire of obtaining information, and partly from the love of excitement natural to the young and prosperous. The pressure of population in England sends forth many travellers, who go in search of a new market for their labour or their goods, or to open out new channels for trade. We ourselves, a few years since, were asked by a Liverpool merchant, if we could recommend to him any young man with sufficient scientific knowledge to enable him to discover a new article of commerce on any of the islands in the Pacific, where a ship

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