C URRENT LITERATURE.
THE AGRICULTURAL HANDBOOK AND DIARY FOR 1902.
The Agricultural Handbook and Diary for 1902 (Vinton ant Co.) is published at the reduced price of 2s. It is edited by two repre- sentative men, one, Mr. C. Adeane, being the owner of Babraham, a great and well-managed Cambridgeshire estate, and the proprietor of a famous flock of South- down sheep ; the other, Mr. Richardson Carr, the manager of Lord Rothschild's Home Farm at Tring, noted for its herds of red-polled and Jersey cattle, its modern management and practical success. The general scheme of the Handbook is to com- ment briefly on the current events of tha year, and to follow these by condensed and .valuable articles on topics of practical interest which are pressing questions of the day to the land and its occupiers. In the "Notes of the Year" we are sorry to see that the amount of land cultivated by owners is less than it was in 1888, being only 13.4 per cent. of the total. Only very small, or rather, large, owners are in a position to do this. It would not pay a man owning 300 acres of land and having a profession bringing him in £1,000 a year to give up the latter and turn farmer, though it is well worth the time of an owner of 1,000 or 1,500 acres who has no profession to spend all his time in this sound and natural occupation. In spite of the importa- tion of half-a-million carcases of beef and 100 per cent, more mutton than in 1892, the price of both bars risen, as well as the return obtained for most animal produce except wool. Barley, wheat, and oats made about the same as last year. In the articles which follow Earl Grey deals with Public-House Trusts, and Mr. Cuthbert Quilter with pure beer. Both deserve a place, for the labourers' beer sold in the present village publics is often vile; and while checking incite- ments to drink, the Trusts will also sell good beer. "If we wish to conquer we must replace" is Earl Grey's maxim. He claims that in most neighbourhoods there are men of character and ability, interested in reducing the excessive consumption of alcohol, who would accept tho management of Truett, for taking over licenses and putting in managers who will not press the sale of ietoxicants, but be paid a fixed salary and a commission on the sale of food and non-intoxicating beverages.- The question is one vitally important to rural districts. When there is a chance of doing away with an - abuse such as the forced sale of drink in over- capitalised country publics by the brewers who have bought them, and of securing the profits from the natural demand for the village itself, every person interested in country life must wish to be placed an cow-ant with what has been done and might be done. The principle and practice of the Trusts have already been explained by Earl Grey, and commented in in the Spectator. But here will be found facts and figures brought up to date and in detail. It is no part of the scheme to encourage merely cooperative public houses, run by consumers to obtain concurrent benefits. The whole idea is that the Trust shall be a b icly of men of position and character who shall benefit the-locality by supplying refresh- ments.of good quality, with food as well as drinkables, and with- out pushing the sale of the alcoholic part. That is quite good enough in itself, without reference to surplus profits available for public uses. "Agricultural Co-operation in England " is dealt. with by Mr. Hen, y Hew. English farmers are still too intensely particularist to appreciate it properly. But the National Poultry Organisation Society is doing good work, Pure beer is a subject in which the labourers are deeply interested. even if they say little. N sturally Sir Cuthbert Quilter improves the occasion, after the loss of over a hundred lives by arsenic-poisoned substitutes. He claims that beer made with substitutes should be labelled as such, as it ought to be; and Mr. Graham aldoue supplies the facts and technicalities neces- sary to support this view. Mr. George Palmer writes on "Poultry Management,' and Mr. James Long on the "Milk Standard." Much real good has accrued from recent attention to proper poultry management, and Mr. Palmer's pages are very suggestive. The milk standard is a debatable subject. It is not yet shown how cows of the most reliable character are to be prevented from occasionally giving inferior milk. There is ample space in the Diary for notes and memoranda. We suggest some reference to profitable trout-breeding in next year's number. It might be as uzeful on some farms as poultry-rearing.