by James Caird
Part of the Cambridge Library Collection - British and Irish History, 19th Century Series
Sir James Caird (1816-1892) was a Scottish agriculturalist and M.P., who wrote widely on agricultural matters, not only in Britain but in Ireland, Canada, America and India. British agricultural incomes had been falling due to low grain prices since 1846, and Caird was commissioned by The Times to undertake a survey of English agriculture. His county-by-country reports were published in 1852 as English Agriculture in 1850-51. The work was also published in America, and in German, French and Swedish versions. Changing patterns of trade meant that British agriculture had to adapt to compete with cheap imports, and tenant farmers needed greater security. Caird campaigned in Parliament for regular and official agricultural statistics to be collected, so that the agricultural economy could be made more efficient, though it was nine years before this happened. Caird was knighted in 1882, and served on many official committees.