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PART III.—WHERE THEY FOUND THEIR CLUES.
The recommendations of the Recess Committee are avowedly based upon the experience of other nations. This at one time would have been enough to prejudice them in the eyes of John Bull. At present, however, thanks to the salutary discipline of adversity, whereby John Bull finds himself at every turn bested, even in his own market, by the superior skill, cunning, and economy of his Continental competitors, it is no longer a disadvantage, but rather the contrary, to find that many of the recommendations of the Committee were "made in Germany” and elsewhere. The reports of the Commissioners despatched to foreign countries are published in full in the appendix to the report.
the members of the Congested Districts Board are chosen, that is to say, with the object of representing as far as possible the different districts and political complexions of the country, though this principle should not be allowed to militate against what should be the first principle of selection for this Board, namely, that of securing the best men possible for the work, irrespective of political considerations. T'he value of a Board seems to us to lie in this :-Ordinary permanent officials, after a time, tend to sink into routine, cease to generate initiative, and become overburdened with a fear of responsibility; and a Minister, whose tenure of office is temporary, is generally liable to be guided in his actions by his permanent officials. For this system a Board provides the desired corrective. Consisting of independent representative men, directly acquainted with the circumstances of the country, outside the influence of red tape and routine, more permanent in their position than the Minister and less restricted to specialities than the per. manent officials, a Board of the kind described, with a wide r ference and a free hand, is the best means of securing that fresh minds and unwearied impulse shall be applied to the work.
A CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL. The Consultative Council would meet not less than twice a year, and would be partly elective and partly nominative. Its duty would be to keep the department in direct touch with the public opinion of the Irish people and to distribute some of the responsibility for administration amongst the classes most concerned in the work of the Ministry. Here it is evident we have a scheme which may be regarded as Homestead Rule for Ireland. That is to say, it is a tentative measure of placing the management of what may be called the Irish Homestead under the control of the Irish people. No difference that may exist among critics of the scheme as to details can conceal this vital point. A Minister of Agriculture and Industries, whose primary business would be to see that every Irish man, woman, and child had a better chance of getting butter to his bread and bacon to his potatoes than he has now; assisted by a Cabinet of five of the most competent Irishmen who could be found between Cork and Belfast, with a consultative Parliament under them, partly elective, summoned for the express purpose of giving the masses of the Irish people more direct control of their own affairs : here we have a scheme which, without in the least coming into collision with National Home Rule, is, nevertheless, a measure of immense significance to the Irish Homestead.
TO HOME RULE viâ HOMESTEAD. It is obvious also that it would before long tend to hring the questions of national importance more directly to the front. The Committee, indeed, admit this when they say :
At every step of our investigation we were met by evidence of the important part played in relation to the interests of agriculture and industries by the provisions for the transport of produce; and we found that to the control exercised by the State over the various means of transit in Continental countries much of their agricultural and industrial advancement is due.
But it became clear to them on investigation that the country at present possesses no machinery throngh which such a question can be solved to really practical purpose. This is only one of many such ; but to this the Home Unionist will probably reply, and with reason, that if Homestead rule works well, many of his objections to Home Rule will be so far modified that he will be willing to try experiments from which he now shrinks with horror.
The first place is occupied by Mr. T. P. Gill's admirable report of the salutary revolution which has been effected in the last thirty years in Danish agriculture. As every one knows, Danish butter commands the highest price of any in Europe. It is not forty years since it was roundly condemned as execrable; nor had it any sale to speak of in the English market. To-day, as every butter-dealer will tell you, there is. nothing like it produced in Europe for uniformity anil general excellence of quality. This beneficent transformation has been brought about by the combined action of the Government and voluntary agricultural associations. The population of Danmark is only about half of that of Ireland, but, excepting in size, the former country affords the closest parallel to the position of Ireland that is to be found anywhere. At the end of last century it was one of the poorest countries in Europe; to-day it is one of the richest; and its wealth is almost entirely due to the improvement that has been made in its output of butter, eggs, pork, and bacon.
This inprovement has been brought about chiefly by the well-sustained and vigorous efforts that have been made to educate the peasantry in their own business. The rural High School has been the foundation of everything that has been done by the Danes. After that comes the vast body of co-operative societies. There are several thousand co-operative dairy societies alone. Similar societies exist for the breeding and rearing of cattle, horses, and pigs, curing bacon, collecting and exporting eggs, fruit-gardening, and bee-keeping. All these local societies work under the direction of a State expert, who may be regarded as a kind of Agricultural Bishop. These men are kept perpetually on the move about the country. They represent the brain of the State, each of them is a master in his own department, their services can be had by the peasants free, and they contribute more than anything else to the improvement of agricultural produce and the development of agricultural Co-operation.
II.-FRANCE, HOLLAND, AND GERMANY. After Denmark comes the report, also by Mr. Gill, as to the way in which similar work is done in France, Here also there are the peripatetic agricultural bishops who constitute the missing link between the Ministry of Agriculture and the agriculturists themselves. M. Tisserand appends to Mr. Gill's report a memorandum on the working of a Ministry of Agriculture. As M. Tisserand is the Director-General of Agriculture in France, and is also one of the first European authorities on the subject of which he treats, his paper is a very valuable addition to the information contained in the report of the Recess Committee. Mr. Michael J. Mulba'l
reports on State Aid to Agricultural Industry in Holland, Würtemburg, struck with the handicraft of the various nations, Belgium, Würtemburg, Bavaria, and Hungary. It is especially with that carried on by rural communities, as indi. really upon the reports of Mr. Gill and Mr. Mulhall cated by the exhibits at the London Exhibition of that vear, that the recommendations of the Recess Committee are
resolved to try whether the people of Würtemburg could not based.
be taught to use their hands and brains to similar purpose
The King seconded his idea, and sent him on a mission of No doubt there is a great difference between the
investigation through Europe. On his return there was agricultural conditions of Holland and those of Ireland.
founded in Stuttgart, in connection with the Ministry of ComImagine what an Irish peasant farmer would think of a
merce, a Board of Industries under his presidency, to which Rotterdam dairy, which Mr. Mulhall describes, which was entrusted the task of introducing and developing crafts contained “nearly one hundred cows, the whole place and industries, and devising and carrying out a system of being as neat and as elegantly arranged as if it were a ball- technical instruction. This Board-or, as it is called, Central room, the cows' tails being tied up by pulleys to the Stelle-is assisted by a Consultative Council composed of ceiling.” Nevertheless, the business of the farmer in all teachers in the various institutions, and representative mercountries is the same. By means of certain quadrupedschants and manufacturers elected by the Chambers of he has to convert the product of the soil into food-stufis,
he product of the soil into food-stuffs Commerce. and if they have better methods in Holland, Belgium,
The Central Stello takes care, while encouraging private Würtemburg, and Denmark than those which exist
enterprise, never to supersede it. It gives advice; it advances in
money for the establishment of industries; it introduces Ireland, then it is simply common sense to
schools for the teaching of trades; it sometimes starts inadopt the better methods without more ado. That
dustries itself, but always on lines which eventually lead to they have better methods is clear from the fact that the absorption of these industries by private enterprise in the they are beating us-beating us in our own markets. form of companies or associations. It keeps in close touch with The dread of German or Japanese industrial competition the trade organisations of the country, with the merchants and relates to a danger which has not yet arrived; the agri- manufacturers, and with the municipalities and local authorites cultural competition of the foreigner has not merely
It has managed to introduce industries into given localitiis arrived, it has achieved an easy conquest; therefore we
by sending skilled workmen abroad, to acquire a knowledge do well to go to school at the feet of those who have
of new methods in trade and agriculture, who, on their shown the capacity to beat us in a fair field and with no
return, go about to towns and villages giving instruction,
and by introducing foreign workmen and instructors favour.
It constantly circulates the latest information amongst the HOW WÜRTEMBURG DEVELOPED NEW INDUSTRIES. merchants as to the places where demand is growing, and for If the examples of Denmark and of France are the
the convenience of buyers from abroad it has promoted in most useful in relation to agriculture, that of Wür
Stuttgart, and other leading towns, a sort of sample exchang temburg is the most helpful in all that relates to the
and permanent industrial exhibitions (Musterlager and Export
Musterlager), where all varieties of manufactured goods may development of new industries. It is indeed as delight
be inspected. ful as a fairy tale to read the report of what has been
Outside this scheme of developing industries is a great Ilone by Dr. von Steinbeis, President of the Board of
system of technical education beginning with the primary Trade of Würtemburg, and here is the narrative as it is schools, in every one of which drawing in connection witii to be found in the Committee's report:
handicraft is taught, and going through trade schools, work. Continental experience supplies us with instances of countries shop schools, industrial art schools, women's work schools, un
der precisely similar conditions, where the problem of intro to a great series of Polytrchnic, Building, High Art and lucing industries, and creating a thriving manufacturing trarle, Industrial Art Schools in the capital which are now famous, has been successfully solved. The little kingdom of Würtem- and which are attended by students from all parts of the world. burg-a country one-fourth the size of Ireland—is the most
AN OBJECT LESSON IN THE LINEN TRADE. striking instance in point.
One illustration which the Committee give of the way! Forty years ago, Würtemburg, in the words of the man
in which the Würtemburg method was applied, naturalis who had most to do with its subsequent uplifting, was ** purely agricultural and impoverished by over-population.”
appeals with practical force to the Irish. It relates ti, Its condition was described as “deplorable.” To-day it is one
the revival of the almost expiring linen industry O.! of the most thriving hives of manufacturing industry on the
Laichingen:Continent, and the British Minister at Stuttgart is able to The linen industry had of old date existed here and in report as follows:
neighbouring villages, so far as the production of plain and • England now buys from Würtemburg, blankets, carpets, coarse goods was concerned. But it was about being extinflannels, hosiery, linens, tissues, instruments, types, drugs, guished, like the linen industry in Drogheda, by the competis Chemicals, paper, ivory goods, wood-carving, toys, furniture, tion of the power looms of other countries, when in 1855 Dr. hats, pianos, gunpowder, clocks, and stays. The manufacture Steinbeis and his Department came to its relief. Irish linen - f gunpowder, once pre-eminently English, is now a speciality weavers were brought to Laichingen, and Laichingen mel. of Würtemburg. It is to be noted especially that these sent to Belfast. Machine-ma le instead of home-spun ramn: industries are carried on by an agricultural population, who were introduced from Ireland and Belgium ; a teacher of design forty years ago were as devoid of mechanical knowledge as and a weaving instructor were provided by the Government, and that of Ireland, and who, in taking to these industries, have a small allowance was made to clever young men to induce titel not abandoned agricultur:; but, on the contrary, have found to remain a longer time than usual under instruction. A joines their agriculture prosper through the growth of a manufactur was sent from Laichingen to Vienna to learn the manufacture of ing population in their towns and villages. To-day, as the Jacquard looms. The Ceniral Stelle sent representatives to Director of the Royal Bank at Stuttgart told Mr. Mulhall, foreign exhibitions to procure samples of the best materiais "there is not a pauper in the kingdom of Würtemburg." In and designs and lent them to the makers. So rapid was init the midst of the depression of trade and industry which improvement that, at the Exhibition in London in 1862, tit** affected all Europe in 1886, the British Minister at Stuttgart produce was considered equal to the Irish. Merchants 12 had to report to his Government that “the prosperity of the Stuttgart were induced to co-operate. They provided lolls nation, and well-being of the masses, have suffered no inter and materials; pail the weavors' wages, and touk all the ruption ... no real depression exists here."
produce. By this combined operation more improvem nisin How was this industrial revolution brought about? In the trade were effectel, and better wag-s were paid for till 1851, Dr. von Steinbeis, President of the Bard of Trule in higher cliss of goods produced.
"If all this can be done in Würtemburg,” the Committee ask, “why cannot something similar be done in Ireland ? ” “And in England also ?” the benighted Briton asks, rubbing his eyes, and wondering whether, after all, he has to learn the way of industrial salvation from the foreigner viâ Dublin.
But the Irishman remembers, and the Committee take care to remind us of the fact, that Ireland would not have been left so far behind in the matter of agricultural progress had it not been for the benighted iguorance of the English doctrinaire :
In 1848, Ireland had actually adopted one of the features which is now so prominent in modern agricultural education on the Continent, namely, Wanderlehrer or travelling instructors (appointed by the Lord Lieutenant), whose function it was to go about amongst the farmers and urge them to improve their system of cropping and to undertake the drainage of their farms. Sir Patrick Keenan, speaking from personal recollection of this institution, states that “no more useful experiment in the material interests the country was «rer a lopted.” An agitation was originated by the Liverpool Reform Association against the entire agricultural system of the National Board of Education in Ireland. This Association disputed the right of the State to train up farmers and stewards at the public cost.
As a result, the needs of Ireland were once again subordinated to the economical prejudices of the predominant partner, and, after an unavailing struggle, the Travelling Instructor ceased to go his rounds among the Irish farmers. It would be difficult, as Mr. Gladstone used to say of Austria, for the dispassionate reader to go through the record of what England has done in Ireland,
Here has England done good." There is, however, one bright spot in the otherwiso gloomy landscape,
THE CONGESTED DISTRICTS BOARD. If the Committee drew their suggestions from the Continent, they clenched their recommendations by referring to the brilliant success which has attended the operations of Mr. Balfour's Congested Districts Board. The Committee say:
The Congested Districts Board has introduced industries-the spring mackerel fishery, for instance, in Galway Bay; it lias fostered others by loans at low interest, e.g., the woollen factories of the Sisters of Charity in Foxford, Co. Mayo; it has helped the work of voluntary associations for the promotion of industries by making grants (for example, its grant to the Carna and Kilkerrin Associations). It has imported instructors to teach industries; it has subsidised crews from one part of Ireland to give the example of successful fishing operations to another. It has entered into coinmercial relations with commission agents for the marketing of produce; it has negotiated with railway companies for the facilitating of transit; it has subsidised a steamer to take iced tish from the fishing grounds to the nearest train service; it has helped in the organisation of the fresh egg trade; it has given subventions to a propagandist body to organise cooperative societies; it has made a grant for the introduction of technical instruction in certain primary schools; it has set up curing-stati ins and worked them itself; it has joined with private committees in forming a loan fund to enable people engaged in an industry to purchase materials and apparatus. And in each of the particulars here enumerated it has met with gratifying success.
What they recommend, therefore, is little more than the generalisation, extension, and development of the methods of the Congested Districts Board to the whole of Ireland.
PART IV.--WHAT MIGHT BE DONE. The Report of the Committee is devoted to an exposition of the means by which the agricultural possibilities relating to Irish soil might be realised.
The area under flax in Ireland has been diminishing at the following rates 305,000 acres in 1864, 130,281 acres in 1887, 113,652 acres in 1889, 96,896 acres in 1890, 74,665 acres in 1891, 70,647 acres in 1892, and 67,487 acres in 1893, yot the demand for Irish flax is still about four times the supply.
Foreign flax to the value of two and a half millions was imported in 1894; nor was the success of the foreign importation due to the cheapness with which they could undersell the native produce. Belgian flax realised from £9 to £20 a ton more than Irish, but
This decline in the linen trade is largely owing, amongst other causes, to the spread of technical education on the Continent. But the decline in the cultivation of flax is itself one of the principal disadvantages which are affecting the home linen trade. This decline is traceable to two causesscarcity of labour, and the absence of technical skill.
Flax could be grown elsewhere in Ireland than in Ulster if it were not for the uninstructed state of the peasants of the south and west.
PERISHING FOR LACK OF INSTRUCTION. At every turn we come back to the samo truth, that our people, both in Ireland and England, are being beaten because they are left ignorant, while the foreigner with whom they have to compete is carefully educated in the craft to which he devotes his life. Over and over again we come upon the following note:
We have been further distanced in the race by the operation, in competing foreign countries, of the great systems of technical education, and of State aid to agriculture and industries, which are described in the appendices to this Report.
And always, when we have to confess ourselves beaten, we read such sentences as these :
One cause of this was the superior technical training giren on the Continent, which enabled manufacturers to turn out a continuous supply of new and attractive designs, and to avail themselves of improved processes.
BUTTER. From flax the Committee turned to butter. No country in the world is better fitted for dairying than Ireland, and at one time Irish butter was at the top of the tree; but of late years, Danish, French, Swedish, and Belgian butters have practically displaced it in the British market. This was due to the improvement in the quality of Continental butter brought about by the use of centrifugal machinery, which Continental farmers by forming co-operative societies had been able to employ. In the last seven years co-operative creameries have sprung up in many parts of Ireland under the ægis of the Agricultural Organisation Society, which has been doing such admirable work, with a result that Irish butter has once more regained somewhat of its old prestige. Notwithstanding this, the value of the butter imported into the United Kingdom in 1894 reached the enormous value of three and a half million pounds sterling.
BACON AND BEEF. After butter, bacon is one of the chief staples of Irish produce; but the trade has been going down of late years, chiefly owing to the improvement that has been made in Danish bacon by the scientific methods which have been employed to keep up the quality of the breed. In 1894
we bought bacon valued at nearly 11,000,000 sterling from foreign producers, most of which might have gone to Ireland. The Committee suggest that in the cattle trade it would be an immense advantage to Ireland if Irish cattle were sent to England as beef rather than as live stock. We import 800,000 cattle from Ireland every year; the depreciation in their value owing to the hardships of the sea passage is estimated at 30s. a head, which comes to the sum of £1,250,000. The valu of the hides amounts to over £1,000,000, and if the whole of this was retained on yonder side of St. George's Channel, the Irish producer would correspondingly benefit.
The Committee then turned to eggs, for which John Bull: pays the foreigner ncarly £4,000,000 a year. They express their conviction that if good breeds of poultry were introduced into Ireland, and proper principles of rearing and keeping them inculcated, the whole of this money would go to our Irish fellow-subjects instead of fattening the French poultry farmer, who at present, thanks to the poultry-keeping schools, can practically command the market.
FLOWER3 AND FRUIT. They venture on more perilous ground when they suggest that a profitable field for enterprise lies in the development of fruit-farming. Mr. Hartland, of Airdcairn, Cork, is of opinion that in cultivating early vegetables and fruit in the sheltered bays of the south of Ireland, 29,000 people might be employed in the county of Cork alone. In Glengariff and Bantry Bay, early vegetables and fruit might be reared so as to compete favourably with the produce of the Scilly and Channel Islands. The cultivation of bulbs has also much potentiality of growth in it. The Dutch receive one million a year for bulbs which Ireland is as well adapted to grow as Holland. A tulip and daffodil farm near Cork employs eight to twelve hands lifting and packing where an old man herded cows for years on a pasture field simply as an agricultural holding.
AFFORESTATION. It was inevitable that the Committee should touch upon the vexed question of reafforestation.
Ireland was one time densely wooded, but she has been denuded of her timber—first of all by the old landlords, and secondly by the new peasant proprietors, who have cut down their timber recklessly on their newly-acquired holdings. The Committee calculate that there are thre million acres capable of growing forests, but this would involve an outlay of twenty millions sterling. Large as this sum is, it is not more than one-third of the taxation which in the last thirty years has been wrung from Ireland in excess of what she ought to have paid. And, further, the Committee quote the opinion of Mr. Howitz, a forest conservator from Denmark, to the effect that even such an immense outlay would more than repay its expenses. The State forests of France, India, and Coburg-Gotha are all worked at a profit.
It is the opinion of Mr. Howitz that in three years after planting, several portions of the forests would begin to give a return. The osiers planted for basket-making would be quite available in that time. In six years the thinnings of the forest would take place, and the development of the charcoal industry would begin. In twenty-five years the forests would begin to give their full return to the country. Mr. Hartland, judging from a list of the cuttings from vine forests planted by his own firm in Ireland between 1810 to 1860, says that they realised, after periods ranging from twenty-four to twenty-eight years,
sums ranging from £33 the lowest, to £78 the highest, per acre for the period. That is to say, a profit of from £1 to £ per annum. Mr. Howitz estimates the probable annual return at from £1 per acre upwards. This would mean, at the lowest calculation, £3,000,000 a year profit (from the wood, bye products, game rights, grazing, and all other sources) on the 3,000,000 acres planted, realisable after five and twenty years. Had the forests of Ireland been properly protected and fostered in former times, Mr. Howitz thinks they would now represent a value of £100,000,000.
THE EXAMPLE OF FRANCE. The most remarkable illustration of the beneficent results that have been achieved by forest planting is the case of the Landes district in France. This region was, thirty years ago, one of the poorest and most miserable in France, The soil was of the poorest description, and afforded a very scanty livelihood for a few thousand poor and unhealthy shepherds, who walked about on stilts tending their flocks. Now, as the result of planting one and a half million acres of pinetrees, the farmers and foresters by ihe thousand find a healthy and prosperous existence. The country is covered with saw-mills, wood-working factories, char. coal-kilns, and turpentine distilleries. The pines brought health as well as wealth to the land, and it is calculated that this process of afforestation has added some forty millions to the wealth of France. Afforestation would not merely shelter the west coast of Ireland fron the Atlantic storms, but it would tend to equalis2 the rainfall and temperature, preserve birds, increase fish, enrich the land, and bring into existence an enormous number of industries which at the present moment are nou. existent.
LAND RECLAMATION. The land that may be reclaimed in Ireland is variously estimated, but the Committee decided that one and a half million acres could be reclaimed at a cost of about ten millions sterling. The reclamation, so far as it has been carried out as a public work in Ireland already, has proved remunerative. In Holland the Government even find it profitable to pump out lakes. They are pumping out the Zuyder Zee at a cost of £18 an acre, feeling confident they will be able to sell at £31 an arre the 476,000 acres which will then be reclaimed.
FISHERIES, SEA AND INLAND. Sea fisheries, in which much good work has already been done by the Congested Districts Board, are capable of immense development. If the skill of Irish fishermen could be brought up to the level of the Scotch-and on this subject the Congested Districts Board speaks very hopefully—the value of the Irish sea fisheries would go up from £280,000 a year to nearly a million. In 1816, 130,000 Irish men and boys were employed in the sea fishing; to-day the total number is under 25,000. Oyster culture is another related industry which they think would pay better than any other industry pursued by the same class of the population. Fish offal and the making of chemicals from seaweed are both neglected. The inland fisheries remain likewise an undeveloped resource. In France the value of the fresh-water fisheries is estimated at 30s. an acre, in Austria Bós. In Ireland there are more than half a million acres of inland water which might be made to yield over £800,000 a year, if steps were taken to introduce salmon and trout more extensively. The American Government has intro luced German carp into its inland waters, and in France the fish are a valuable source of revenue,
Having thus passed in review the harvest of the land and the harvest of the sea, the Committee turned their
Switzerland, which exports manufactures amounting to thirty millions a year, works five-eighths of its factories by water power. Paper-making is another industry which was crushed by the English Protectionists so thoroughly that at the present moment Ireland does not even work up her own rags. Glass at one time used to be a famous manufacture in Cork and Waterford.
On the whole, they reckon that we buy from the foreigner articles of one kind and another to the value of a hundred millions a year, all of which could be supplied by the Irish if they were but properly trained to utilise their enormous natural advantages. PART V.-HOW IT MIGHT BE BROUGHT ABOUT.
Upon this point the Committee enter into considerable detail. The first thing, as already stated, is that there should be a Ministry of Agriculture and Industries established for the purpose.
THE FIRST FUNCTION OF THE MINISTRY,
The first function of the new Ministry in this connection would be to act as the Intelligence Department for the industrial enterprise of the country; the second would be to awaken, stimulnte, and assist that industrial enterprise in making use of the intelligence so supplied. After due study of the question, we think it would do well to prepare and publish a list of such industries as might be readily introduced into the country, together with an account of the class of training, of the tools, materials, etc., required for each industry, and the cost of such materials and tools; of the places where they were to be had most cheaply, and the best markets for each industry; the localities should be urged to form committees or associations, and to choose after consultation with the Ministry and due consideration of the peculiarities of the district and the aptitudes of the people, the special industry which should be undertaken. The State might then make an advance to such committees or associations for the purpose of procuring their stock-in-trade, or a free grant for the payment of a teacher or teachers, or might furnish teachers itself.
ORGANISATION. The Committee lay great stress upon this question of organisation, in which local action is supplemented and generalised by the aid of the State. They say :
We have seen everywhere throughout the Continent the value of this lesson enforced by the State and by the people. Agriculturists have spontancously organised themselves for the protection and advancement of their industry in various forms of societies, chiefly co-operative. Where the agriculturists themselves have not been sufficiently alert to initiate this organisation, the State has sometimes gone the length of enforcing it on them by law. It is everywhere on the Continent now recognised as a principle_first, that the action of the people themselves, through industrial combination, is more important than the action of the State ; and, secondly, that the assistance of the State can only be truly effective when there exists a system of local representative organisations of the industriai classes to co-operate in its administration. All attempts of the Central Government to act through unorganised individuals, in schemes of agricultural and industrial improvements, are by implication condemned as likely to do more harm than good.
HOW THEY ORGANISE ABROAD, Some idea of the extent to which local organisation is. carried abroad may be gained from the following figures :
There are in France 6,500 Agricultural Societies, including both Comices Agricoles and Co-operative Societies, syndicates.. dairies, cheese-making societies, baking societies, banks and credit societies, and societies for horse and cattle breeding. In Prussia, besides the Chambers of Agriculture, there are
a'tention to the development of home industries—a subject which is of immense importance in Englaud and Scotland as well as in Ireland.
HOME INDUSTRIES. The Royal Commission on Technical Instruction report that the children and young people of Ireland of the labouring classes possess great manual dexterity and aptitude, but at present very little use is made of it :
It is calculated that there are only about 240 days in the year during which a man can work upon the land, and how to fill the interval for a population mainly agricultural with remunerative, wholesome, and dignifying occupation is not only an economic but a social and moral problem of the highest interest to a nation.
A LIST OF COTTAGE TRADES. They suggest that there is a large field capable of development in artistic handicrafts, such as woodcarving, for which the Irish bog-oak supplies admirable material, pottery, decorative metal-work, lace-making, wicker-work, etc.:
Besides these artistic handicrafts, there is a wide field for other home industries. Here is a suggestive list: hand-loom wearing of linen and wool carried on in connection with small local factories, and kept up to date by the supply of the newest designs, as it is in Würtemburg; the working of iron for ploughs, horse-shoes, screws for country carts, bits and stirrups, and all kinds of small iron-ware, some for home use, some as accessories for manufactures; almost all the leather tradessaddlery, cart and carriage harness-making, boot and shoe making; tin-ware, such as coffee-pots, sugar cases, boxes for tea, spittoons, ink-stands, lanterns, trays, artificial candles with lamps, etc.; wire-work, such as mouse-traps, wire mattresses and mats, etc.; all kinds of earthenware, from the simplest jar to artistic china ; all kinds of lookingglasses; all kinds of wooden ware, from the plainest rough cottage chairs to Vienna bent furniture; bird-cages, lasts for boot-makers, troughs for cattle; all kinds of small vehicles, cradles, boxes, children's carts, etc.; wicker-work chairs ; tables, anil other furniture, etc.; all kinds of articles made from felt and rabbit fur, including hats, from the cheapest caubeen of the peasant upwards to silk hats sold at £1 a-piece ; trimmings of various kinds for ladies' dresses, combs, brushes (especially where pigs are numerous and the bristles can be had); various articles made from born and bone, violin strings, etc.; turnery, from legs for tables down to spools for thread; varnished ware and card-board ware, such as pillboxes; gloves, straw-hat-making, ribbon weaving, basketmaking-an industry the importance of which is increasing very much in recent times-stay-making, knitting, fancy sewing and embroidery of underclothing.
BASKET-MAKING. The above list is taken from the catalogue of cottage industries at the Russian Cottage Industrial Exhibition a few years ago. All these industries are carried on by the Russian peasants, and the annual value of their work is estimated at five millions. It is worthy of note that the products of these cottage industries in Germany and Switzerland find their chief market in Great Britain and Ireland. Basket-making and all manner of wickerwork ought to be one of the natural trades of Ireland. There is not a farm in Connaught or Donegal which would not yield proper osiers for wicker-work, nor is there a cabin in which we could not find hands that after twelve months' training would rival the work of the best Continental wicker-workers.
WATER POWER. The Committee, in concluding their surfey of what might be done, refer incidentally to the development of the peat trade, and the utilisation of the immense water Power with which Ireland is exceptionally favoured.