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THE IRISH CONSPIRACY. | .

THE GREAT STORM. ]

THE LIBRARY OF CARDIFF CASTLE.

CORRESPONDENCE.

[No title]

CuKRENT AGRICULTURAL TOPICS.

FARMERS AND RENTS.

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FARMERS AND RENTS. The Echo, in a leading article on agricultural depression, says:—The exceptional losses of the farmers during the last decade have been due to four causes—bad crops, bad prices, higher rents, md higher wages, which have amounted on an average, if Mr. Giffen is right, to £42,000,000 a year. If it be assumed that a third of this loss has been borne by landlords, which is extremely doubtful, the income of the tenantry as a class would still have decreased from £52,000,000 to S24,000,000 a year. It is not surprising, therefore that many of them are already ruined, and that many more are living upon capital which is rapidly becoming smaller. It is to be hoped that iooner or later sunny summers will return. There I is no good reason to suppose that the climate o, the United Kingdom has changed, though soml may be tempted to think it has. A period marked by a succession of bad years is no new thing in the history of English agriculture. What is new is to have bad prices along with bad seasons. It may sound paradoxical to assert it. but, 8S a writer in the new number of the Edinburgh Review shows, the years of plenty in the olden times were years of agricultural distress; the years of scarcity" were years of agricultural prosperity. Take an illustration given by Mr. Tuke in his History of Prices." Land which, in a good year, produced 33 bushels of wheat, worth 6s. a bushel, or £9 18s., in a bad year might, produce 22 bushels, worth 18s. a bushel, or £19 16s. The illustration is put in the most exaggerated form, but the argument is correct. The loss of the nation was the gain of a class, but the farmer is no longer able to look with' equanimity upon shrunken crops. 1879 was the' worst of the many bad years we have had of late but in that year, thanks to the enormous importa- tions of American wheat, the price of wheat was' lower than it had been for 30 years. Yet, though we hear of permanent reductions of rent being made here and there, the farmers are still required to pay the major portion of the £5,000,000 added to their rents during the years of plenty which immediately preceded the years of famine. There must, therefore, be a general reduction of rent if the farmer is to thrive. v

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