§ Mr. YERBURGH
asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether the number of peasant proprietors in France decreased from 1,134,000 in 1862 to 589,000 in 1902; whether there has been a further decrease; and whether the French Government have taken any, and, if so, what steps to check it; and whether he will put the House in possession of full information with regard to the rural exodus 2284W in Continental countries and the measures adopted by them severally to deal with it?
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
According to the official French statistics the figures quoted in the question refer not to peasant proprietors, but to persons engaged partly in cultivating land of their own and partly in working for others as day labourers. Moreover, the later of the two years mentioned should apparently be 1892, not 1902; no official statistics for 1902 are yet available. The total number of persons cultivating their own land in France was approximately 3,800,000 in 1862, and 3,380,000 in 1892. It would not be possible to supply the information asked for in the latter part of the question without a long and laborious inquiry, and I doubt whether the value of the results would be commensurate with the amount of time and work expended.