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portion was in pasture, half of which was alternately mown and fed, 'the lands' being apportioned by lot, and an old man who gave the account said that a 'land was one swathe of the scythe and a bit wide, and may be nine or ten chains long.' When the grass was cut for hay, the boundaries were marked out by stones, at the head and tail of the strips. Outside the apportioned land lay common, where the cattle and sheep were tethered to prevent their wandering over and destroying the crops, as there were no fences, ditches, or walls in any direction, and no roads, only muddy ways across the strong clay soil, and a right of turning the ploughs on a cross strip at the end called the headland.' Many as had no claim to the arable had rights of pasture for so many sheep and cattle on the common.' In order to secure a fair distribution of the ploughing' 'you had the shady side of the balk one year, an he sunny side the next,' so that there was little temptation to improve land which would not be in your possession for more than a year.

No tradition or memory remained in the village as to the reasons or the history of the numerous, perplexing, and most inconvenient customs, restrictions and laws of the manor. But when we turn to the different account of Village Communities, all is clear.

The oldest discoverable forms of property in land were collective. A number of families inhabited a village, held the land of the village in common, and cultivated the arable lands in lots. The cattle grazed on the common pasture, the householder felled wood in the common forest, the cultivated land of the community was divided into three great fields, with a rude rotation of crops, corn, beans, and a fallow once in three years. Each householder had a lot in each of the three fields which he tilled for himself with his sons and his slaves, but he could not cultivate as he pleased: he must sow the same crop as the rest, and let his lot lie fallow with the rest, he must not interfere with the rights of other householders to pasture their sheep and oxen on his fallow and on his stubble,

says Sir Henry Maine.

The number of minute and intricate rules, of what they might and might not do, constituted a pure despotism. To insure equality the lots were shifted from year to year. These common fields were divided into long strips, separated by green balks of turf, the pasturage on these, which were not more than three yards wide, amounted in one manor to eighty acres. 'The waste and inconvenience of such an arrangement may be still seen in parts of Germany.' There is but one voice as to the barbarousness of the agriculture in the common arable field, and as to the quarrels and heart-burnings of which the 'shifting severalties' in the meadow land have been the source.

At length, in 1845, the much abused Inclosure Commissionerswho did good service in the case of Marsh Gibbon at least-consolidated the whole of the strips, giving to each holder a piece of ground equal to that of their several parcels, minus a fixed portion which had to be sold to pay for the expenses of the redistribution, fencing, &c.

Mr. Seebohm describes how the evidence for twelve hundred years from the seventh century, in the laws of King Ine quoted by King Alfred, shows a similar state of things. The yard land was the unit the normal holding, and consisted of a bundle generally of thirty scattered acres, ten in each of the three divisions, in strips of acres and half acres, tilled by work rendered to the manorial lord of the ham or tun. The acre was a furlong-furrow-long, i.e. the length of the drive of the plough before it is turned, which by long custom was fixed at forty rods-two or four rods or roods in width, lying side by side. Access was given to these by the headland, at right angles to the strips, on which there was a right to turn the ploughs; the owner of the headland must, therefore, wait to till his land till all the strips are ploughed. Each yard land was bound by lot to provide two oxen fo the co-operative village plough-team of eight, yoked four in a line, the ploughman in front going backwards to keep the team straight. The lots seem to have been shifted perpetually, till at length the pieces were scattered all over the fields. The yard land of thirty acres in one case contained eight half-acre strips of arable land, three rood-strips of arable land, two doles, one acre of pasture, three half-acres of pasture, and one half-acre of meadow. If the holding continued of the same size from one generation to another, it was a sign that it was servile and did not belong to a free village.' As time went on 'there was a gradual tendency,' says Seebohm, to greater freedom.'

The slaves the Theows bought and sold in the market and exported across the sea were far below the villeins, predial serfs, bound to the soil. Lastly, tenants at will, becoming by custom adscripti glebæ, and therefore tenants for life, gradually gaining the right of undivided succession. The freedom of individual enterprise and property, which marked the new order, shows a rebellion against the communism and forced equality of serfdom and tribal communities. Such systems are not likely to be the economic goal of the future.

The course which the tenure of land has passed through seems to be as follows:-In the earliest times property did not apply to land which was common to all, but only to the possession of slaves, sheep, and cattle, the proof of which is,' says Mommsen, that, amongst the Romans, fortune was called pecunia, from pecus, a flock.' The earliest metallic money bore the stamp of an ox. Each family had a right of common pasturage, so that cattle could be received as payment, which would have been useless to a landless man.

When society became more settled, and the land belonged to a village or a community, it was cultivated jointly; but the exceeding quarrelsomeness of these little societies, and the frequency of war between the tribes,' soon brought about a change, as the conquerors after a fight either took the land or forced the conquered to hold it as serfs under them. A large share was often given to the chief of the clan or to a successful leader in war.

Some form of collective property seems to have been common to all countries, and it is still to be found among wild tribes such as the Afghans, where Colonel Stewart, when on the Frontier Commission, found it in full force. The system produces, he says, frightful blood-feuds, the man whose lot had fallen to him in pleasant places, such as rich land near a stream, often refusing to give it up at the end of his rightful term (which in Afghanistan lasts from ten to fifteen years), for the stony mountain bit, which may be his next share, and he fights rather than yield. Intermarriages are almost obligatory from the necessity of keeping the family together, and losing none of the rights belonging to the sept.

The inconveniences and disputes entailed by the minute rules and interferences with free action, which were necessary to carry out the intricate system of collective culture, at last produced everywhere, at least in Europe, a division of the soil among the different families. In the middle ages, however, says Laveleye,

These communities seem to have been universal, for the cultivation of the soil, the association of a great number of the same family under the same roof and on the same property, having their work and their profits in common, was the characteristic feature of France at that period. Agriculture was then carried out all over the country by co-operative associations of peasants-work, indeed, of all kinds was performed in common-by the religious communities, peasant communities, trade corporations. The benefits especially which were conferred by the monks in cultivating waste places, and farming parts of the country desolated by war, have been imn.ense. Probably in the middle ages less was talked of the spirit of association, but that spirit was far stronger than now.

A great number of instances of these family ownerships are then given, some of which still exist in such isolated provinces as Auvergne and Brittany.

Family communities were also very general in Italy, and there still exist traces of them in the different provinces. A landowner prefers them to small isolated holdings, as an association has more resources for the payment of rent and the execution of contracts, it is more capable of undertaking cultivation on a wider scale, of resisting loss in bad years, and the other inseparable accidents of farming. The communities consist generally of four or five households living in common, under a chief who regulates the work, buys and sells, &c., and of a female head called massara, who looks after the domestic economy. But they are dying out. The taste for independence, the desire to grow rich, the modern spirit in one word, have undermined these ancient institutions, as on the borders of the Danube, and as of old in France. Count Jacini (says M. Laveleye) has well analysed the feeling which will bring about their entire disappearance. Men begin to say, Why should we remain with our families under the authority of a chief? It would be much better that each one should work and think for himself. If each individual works for his own profit, the common revenue suffers, and dissensions and quarrels about money destroy the unity. The women also cannot stand the authority of the massara. They all want to have an household to themselves.

A socialist farm in Hampshire-Queenwood-came to an untimely end, greatly because the women would not endure the co-operative teapot. We like to make our own tea in our own pot,' they said. VOL. XIX.-No. 112. 3 P

Many of the associates see the advantages of the scheme, but the desire of living independently carries the day and the community is broken up.'

The last stage of the tenure of land is when separate ownership became general, the result of the modern spirit of individualism, shown as much in the large properties of England as in the particularism-run-mad of the tiny peasant properties abroad. Another set of evils pertaining to the excess of subdivision in many parts of Europe is causing the greatest anxiety to the different Governments, while the French and German political economists are trying to persuade the peasants once more to combine.

The almost intolerable obstacles to all improvement, to the use of machines, of proper drainage, &c., in the smallness and excessive entangling of the morsels, often situated at every point of the horizon in a commune, render good cultivation impossible. How could a hay-cutting machine, even if there were one, harvest the thirty or forty parcels, or a steam plough turn around in a piece of an acre or less in size? The expense, when land is used by the peasant owners to grow crops the most unsuitable to the soil, of change to a better system can only be carried out by large proprietors.

Nothing can be worse for the trade of a country than a population of peasant proprietors who buy nothing the absence of shops which in a French village is most remarkable. In the Commune Agricole, by M. Bonnemère, he says:

The peasant insists on obtaining everything from his land in this extreme subdivision, and to have nothing to buy. Whether the nature of the soil allows it or not, he must have corn for himself, barley for his chickens, oats for his horse, potatoes for his pigs. Every one must have a morsel for his vineyard and for vegetables, and a corner for hemp, to occupy his wife and daughters during the long leisure of the melancholy winter. All these on soil the most unfit for their culture, and even though he may be obliged to sink a well close to that of his neighbour, which he must not use. Indeed, it seems as if they had solved the problem of obtaining the worst possible produce, by the most expensive, laborious, and repugnant of processes.

In the beautiful fertile regions near Aix, in Savoy, and in the Auvergne country, when we asked what was cultivated on such of the tiny plots as were not vineyards, the answer was always the same: Un peu de tout.'

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Protection, of course, is their universal creed. The candidate for a rural district in the last French election writes: All our social organisation rests on the little owner, and he cannot exist unless his home-grown produce is protected against the cheaper products from abroad.' The peasant, therefore, eats his expensive corn, spade-tilled, his high-priced beetroot sugar, &c., and comforts himself by believing that it is economical, whereas in England 'wages,' says Mr. Bright, 'have nearly doubled since Free Trade,' while the consumption of bread, sugar, tea, &c. has enormously increased among our working classes.

The consequence of this style of farming is, says Lafargue,' that There are ten millions of small proprietors in France who, with the help of their families, consume as much as they produce; they eke out a scanty subsistence and vegetate miserably, condemned by their voluntary isolation to a labour as severe as it is unproductive. . . . The condition of agriculture brought about by our subdivision of the land, and the distance from each other of the morsels belonging to one owner, condemns a man to work such as animals and machines ought to execute, and not only reduces him to the level of a beast but curses the soil with sterility; the consequence is that 3,000,000 of the small proprietors are on the pauper list of France.

The peasants cannot be sold up by the State, as they are only life owners, for it is always forgotten that the entail on their children is far more strict than any in England. Nearly one half of France, excluding the mountain pastures, is under corn and potatoes, two white crops in succession, followed by a bare fallow, which means no less than 16,000,000 of acres yearly growing nothing, and Mr. Jenkins declares that notwithstanding its sparse population, and its variety of climate and culture, France cannot be regarded as much more than self-supporting.


The chief remedy proposed is the return to the system of co-operation. It is suggested that the methods of cultivating large farms should be applied to small properties, fusing together a number of little domains which might be farmed by one man, the small owners carrying their work elsewhere; both the expenses and the gains to be in common, so as to enable them to buy machines, to drain, &c. Instead of a system of each man for himself, the advantage of an association, each for all and all for each,' are set forth. If, however, the two or three acres belonging to a small owner melted down into fields of a proper size in a large farm, his interest cannot be much more absorbing than that of 10l. in a bank. Property,' says Mr. Druce, has an excellent effect upon a man,' but not more in land than in any other form,' unless immediately under his own eye and cultivated by his own hands.

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'The spirit of fraternity which rendered possible the co-operative associations of old has, however, died away,' says Laveleye. The spirit of individuality which characterises modern times brings about their ruin. Moreover, the abolition of serfage and of mortmain has taken away one of the most powerful incentives to village communities. Serfs could only inherit under a régime of collective property, but when the rights of the lord of the manor took the form of rent, the peasants yielded to the new desire to become independent owners and divided the common property. The new aspirations were fatal 1 Relèvement de l'Agriculture.

2 Lord Houghton used to tell a story of A. de Vigny's excellent cook, who in '48 was furiously rouge, indeed écarlate. The following year, when he returned to Paris, he inquired after her. Oh, elle a fait une petite succession, et elle est devenue réac !' (the then slang for réactionnaire). The mollifying effect of property had had its result, but it was money, not land, that had changed the views of the scarlet cook.

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