§ MR. CAIRD
said, be wished to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether, considering the deficiency of the last Harvest, and the importance of definite information on the home supply of corn, Her Majesty's Government will endeavour to ascertain, with as much accuracy as possible, the acreage under the various agricultural crops in Great Britain for the present year?
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, that the question of agricultural statistics must be regarded, to a great extent, as a question of expense, and the course he would be prepared to pursue upon that subject would depend very much upon the machinery which was to he employed for collecting those statistics. His hon. Friend had privately informed him that the machinery he wished to make use of was the County Police in England, just as the constabulary were employed for a similar purpose in Ireland. But there, was this difference between these two forces, that the latter body were paid entirely out of the Consolidated Fund, and were under the control of the Government, while the English County Police were entirely under the control of the County Justices. He confessed that it seemed to him there was a good deal of spare time at the disposal of the County Police, which might, if the Magistrates at the different Quarter Sessions were so minded, be employed in collecting information of that description; and the course, therefore, which he was ready to take was to address a letter to the magistrates at the different Quarter Sessions asking them whether in their opinion it would be desirable that the County Police should be made use of for that purpose. The statistics he proposed to collect would not extend to stock or to the amount of the different kinds of produce, and would be confined to the acreage under the different species of crops.