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to maintain all or any of the highways of the county as it may please the council.

Both Acts deal with a difficult and pressing question. In many rural parishes the roads are much used by bicyclists, motor cars, and other vehicles whose owners contribute nothing to the rates out of which the roads are repaired; in nearly all, the funds required for the repair of the roads are raised with much more difficulty than in more prosperous times, and in most districts the roads are less satisfactorily kept up than in the days of the turnpike trusts. At preses

At present the responsibility for the maintenance of the roads is divided between county councils, highway boards, rural sanitary authorities, and parish surveyors, and it is very desirable the whole administration of the roads in each district shall be placed under one authority. Probably district highway boards would be the best organisation, but there are many objections to leaving the responsibility of rural parish roads entirely in the hands of each rural parish council, tending as such an arrangement would to the undue increase of separate administrations, and consequently of administrative expenses.

The Rivers Pollution Prevention Bill was intended to improve the law for preventing the pollution of streams by increasing the powers of county councils and river boards. The increasing difficulty both of providing a sufficient supply of pure water for the rapidly growing population and at the same time of disposing of its sewage in a harmless manner, renders this question one of the most pressing and one of the most difficult of sanitary administration. There is no doubt that the law as it exists has not proved effectual in securing its object, but it is hopeless to attempt to deal

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with the matter until Government can bring in a comprehensive scheme for settling the whole question.

As it may well happen that rural sanitary authorities may have little interest in the purity of a river on its borders, but considerable interest in arrangements by which it is polluted, it would probably be more effectual to create special river boards dealing with so far as possible the whole watershed of their rivers to protect them from pollution, than to increase the power of county councils, which are already somewhat overburdened with work and responsibilities.

The Floods Prevention Bill was intended to enable county councils among other things to keep in an efficient state or improve existing weirs watercourses or other works within their counties connected with the prevention of floods, or to construct such new works as may be desirable to replace any existing works which may be inefficient. Any expenses incurred by the county councils in doing any work under the Act, for which any person is liable, may be recovered from such person as a debt, and the cost of works may be raised by rate on the district or parish specially benefited. The Bill is not intended to authorise any interference with any existing river authority, but it seems doubtful whether such powers can be exercised without great danger of a conflict of jurisdiction, and the prevention of floods and the pollution of rivers would be better dealt with, as has been already remarked, by a river board controlling the whole area affected. case, the powers of entry upon private property proposed to be conferred on county councils by this Bill are quite unnecessarily oppressive and vexatious.

The Ruting of Machinery Bill has been brought into Parliament in more than one previous Session, and was

In any

intended to provide that in fixing the gross or rateable value of any hereditament, the value of machines tools or appliances unfixed, or only so fixed that they can be removed without the consequent removal of any part of the hereditament, shall be excluded from consideration; excepting from the meaning of the term, “machines tools “and appliances,” machinery or plant used for producing or transmitting first motive power, or for heating or lighting the premises in question. It is very much to be regretted that this Bill has again failed to pass. Although it is illegal to

it is illegal to rate personal property, machinery which is as much personal property as chairs and tables is taken into consideration in fixing values for rating purposes, while there is no accepted mode in which the value is to be assessed. great divergence of practice, difficulties in settling disputed valuations, and considerable injustice to machine owners are caused.


In this way

The Cleather and the cul heat Crop, 1896.

On December 4th, 1896, the Board of Agriculture published the preliminary statement showing the estimated total produce and yield per acre of wheat, barley, and oats in Great Britain in the year 1896, with comparative statements for the year 1895 and for the average of the ten years 1886-1895.

I think that in the case of such a remarkable wheat harvest as that upon which we are now able to congratulate ourselves, it may be interesting to extend this statement published recently by the Board of Agriculture, and compare the acreage and estimated total produce per acre of the last ten years with that of the present year, as shewn in the following table :

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With the price of wheat during the same period it is not my purpose to treat in the present article, but an examination of the above figures presents some rather interesting features. One of the most striking is the steady decrease in the area devoted to this crop, but undoubtedly the most satisfactory feature is the estimated high average yield per acre in the year's crop under review, which is no less than 4:87 bushels above the average for the preceding ten years (28-81 bushels per acre). This is also the highest yield recorded since official estimates were first made in 1885, the previous maximum having been 32:07 bushels in 1887.

For results previous to 1885 reference must be made to Sir John Lawes' annual estimates of the average yields, and also to an article published by the same author in the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England for 1880. In that article it would appear that only in four years between 1852 and 1880 was the average yield of the United Kingdom higher than that of the present year, namely in 1854, when it was put at 343 bushels per acre, in 1863, when the estimate was 387 bushels, in 1864, when it was 357 bushels, and in 1868, when it was 34 bushels. In another article published in the same volume of the Journal by Sir J. Lawes on “Our Climate and our Wheat Crops,” reference is made to four consecutive years of reputed very high productiveness which occurred before the commencement of the Rothamsted experiments. Of one of these years (1834) Sir J. Lawes writes: “This, which was one of the “heaviest crops of wheat on record, was therefore grown “ in a season warmer than usual almost throughout, but

especially in the winter and in the spring, excepting “ April, and after an excess of rain in the winter there

was a considerable deficiency for four months to the “ end of May, again a deficiency in June, but after

wards heavy rains, though with high temperatures.” And again, in summing up the points characteristic of these four consecutive seasons of abundant wheat crops (1832-1835), he adds : “ It is seen that they were “ characterised by mild open winters upon the whole, mild springs, and average or warmer than average summers, especially the last two of the four. · In each season there were individual months of more than

average fall of rain, sometimes earlier and some“ times later, and accordingly influencing the bulk of the

crop. But each season vas characterised by less than

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