James Caird (politician)

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Sir James Caird KCB PC FRS (10 July 1816 – 9 February 1892) was a Scottish agricultural writer and politician.


Born at Stranraer, the son of James Caird and Isabella McNeil,[1][2] Caird was educated at Edinburgh High School and University of Edinburgh. He was Member of Parliament for Dartmouth from 1857 to 1859 and for Stirling Burghs from 1859 to 1865.

He was a free-trade farmer. In 1849, he wrote High Farming as the best Substitute for Protection. In 1850 he wrote The Plantation Scheme: Or, the West of Ireland as a Field of Investment. He toured America, and Canada.[3]

He was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1865, President of the Royal Statistical Society, 1880-2 and was made a Privy Counsellor in 1889. Caird travelled to India from October 1878 to join a commission of famine inspectors. He held opinions that the Indian administrators did not appreciate. He was of the opinion that famine relief should be aimed to save life and was against fitness tests and wage payment against work for Indians. He believed that Indian governance needed fundamental change with peasants receiving payment in kind with handling of harvest variability. He even considered that land revenue superstructure including the Indian Civil Services needed pruning or even abolition.[4][5] He was senior member of the Land Commission in 1882. He was director of the land department of the Board of Agriculture from 1889 to 1891.[3]

He was appointed a CB in 1869 and promoted to KCB in 1882.[3]


  • English Agriculture in 1850-51 (London, 1852)
  • The Plantation Scheme; Or, the West of Ireland as a Field of Investment (Edinburgh, 1850)
  • Caird, James (1878). The Landed Interest and the Supply of Food (1 ed.). London, Paris & New York: Cassell, Petter & Galpin. Retrieved 21 August 2015. via Internet Archive


  1. ^ Thom, Alexander (1859). Thom's Almanac and Official Directory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for the Year. Thom. p. 213. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  2. ^ Scotland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950
  3. ^ a b c Leadan 1901.
  4. ^ Gray, Peter (2006). "Famine and Land in Ireland and India, 1845-1880: James Caird and the Political Economy of Hunger". The Historical Journal. 49 (1): 193–215. doi:10.1017/S0018246X05005091. ISSN 0018-246X. JSTOR 4091745.
  5. ^ Caird, James (1884). India, The Land and the People (3 ed.). London: Cassell & Company.


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Herbert
Member of Parliament for Dartmouth
Succeeded by
Edward Wyndham Harrington Schenley
Preceded by
Sir James Anderson
Member of Parliament for Stirling Burghs
Succeeded by
Laurence Oliphant