HL Deb 09 February 1860 vol 156 cc715-6

called the attention of the House to the state of agriculture in Ireland, as exhibited by the statistical returns recently laid upon the table. He said that no statistical returns were attempted to be made for England and Scotland; but if agriculture in those Countries had fallen off as it had in Ireland, the matter was one of a most serious nature. The returns in Ireland were collected by the police, and many persons objected very much to the manner in which they were collected. He said nothing as to their correctness, but such as they were, they could not be regarded as waste paper. The noble Lord read a number of returns, showing that since 1847 there had been a serious diminution in the cereal and green crops in Ireland; and contended that, although the cultivation of potatoes, flax, and grass had increased, and there was more stock in the country, the facts disclosed by these returns showed that agriculture was in a far less prosperous state than it had been represented to be by the Lord-Lieutenant and the Chief Secretary for Ireland.


explained that the decrease in the green and cereal produce of Ireland arose from the fact that some of the farmers had found it more profitable to turn their attention to the rearing of stock. He thought the inference could not be drawn that land was less cultivated. He was himself a considerable landowner, and he had travelled much about the country; and he was able to say that when land was to be let there were plenty of tenants offering fair rents. He regretted to see a considerable increase in the cultivation of potatoes, for he had hoped that one beneficial result of the famine would have been a cessation of the dependence formerly placed in that precarious vegetable.

House adjourned at a Quarter before Nine o'clock, till To-morrow, Half-past Ten o'clock.