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ing from Inglis, says, "While passing through Languedoc, Inglis particularly remarked the very enviable situation' of the labouring class." The people appeared to be well off, and paupers were rare.

Now, deducting the proprietors who are twice reckoned, the vast numbers of owners of small vineyards, and the undoubtedly great number of labourers who really earn their livelihood by working on the larger estates, and have only a garden or a field to eke out the comforts of their family, from the 5,000,000 small owners, the great probability is that the average size of the estates of the actual yeomen and peasant farmers of France is considerably above the alleged average of 7 acres. But even if it were not so, it seems strange to me to affirm that the owner of a farm no larger than 7 acres would not, by means of the industry, economy, and self-denial which are almost always characteristic of a small owner, be able to earn a comfortable maintenance for himself and family, and one far superior to any which our rural peasants are able to enjoy. Whatever theorists may say, these small owners do prosper, and are so contented with their lot, and that lot is so envied by those who do not possess land, that on the death or removal of an owner his estate finds many bidders in the market, and the price of land in France is found to rise and not to fall.

Thirdly, I will now try to show that, spite of the want of any efficient system of education in France, spite of the dense ignorance of the French peasantry, spite of the want of agricultural schools such as exist in Germany and Switzerland, the division of land in France caused by their system of Land Laws is promoting the contentment, happiness, and prosperity of the yeomen and peasant farming classes of France.

The first fact which strikes one in considering this part of our subject, and which seems to me to prove incontestably the happy working of the French Land Laws even in France, and the perfect satisfaction of both larger and

smaller owners with them, is this-that no matter what the system of government in France, whether limited monarchy, Imperial despotism, or republic, no Government has ventured to propose any change whatever of these laws, or to abolish or limit the system of compulsory subdivision. The just weight of this remark will be understood if it is considered how rejoiced the Government of Louis Philippe or of Louis Napoleon would have been to have created a great territorial aristocracy, as a support for their systems of government, if it had been possible for them to have dared to propose such a scheme to the Chamber. And this is all the more striking when it is remembered by what a very small number of middle-class, well-to-do electors the Chamber of Representatives was elected during Louis Philippe's reign. But throughout his sham of constitutional government, throughout the despotism of Louis Napoleon, throughout the struggles of the reactionary parties, the one system of laws in France which has remained unassailed and truly unassailable has been their system of Land Laws, so strongly are they now rooted in the cordial satisfaction, contentment, and well-being of the French rural classes.

But another equally remarkable fact, which shows, independently of statistics, how these laws are promoting the economy, prudence, thrifty habits, and well-being of the French rural classes, notwithstanding their ignorance, is the wonderful way in which these classes have come forward and taken up a large part of the great loans of the Empire, and of the immense sums raised by M. Thiers' Government to pay the frightful burdens of the war-burdens which all Europe thought would have crushed France for a long space of time. But the sums to meet these terrible demands were found to a very great extent by the small agricultural owners themselves, and the world was astounded by ascertaining that, although in 1823 Mr. M'Culloch had prophesied that in "half a century it (France) would certainly be the greatest pauper warren in Europe, and, along with Ireland, have the honour of furnishing hewers of wood and drawers of

water for all other countries in the world," in 1872 this same France, Mr. M'Culloch's "pauper warren," was paying off with apparently the greatest ease one of the heaviest, if not the heaviest, fine that had ever been laid upon the shoulders of any nation in the world, and that the rural classes were to a very great extent, if not mainly, finding the funds by which this most extraordinary feat was accomplished; and what is equally, if not more, remarkable is that these same classes, who by this time were to have formed such a "pauper warren," are supporting with enthusiasm a Government which has been forced to raise the scale of taxation on many, if not most, of the articles of their daily life.

NOTE. The "Edict for the Better Cultivation of the Land," referred to by Mr. Kay in this letter, formed part of the legislation known as that of Stein and Hardenburg; and the following are the passages of this Edict which he had before him when writing the letter :"The proprietor shall henceforth (excepting always where the rights of third parties are concerned) be at liberty to increase his estate, or diminish it, by buying or selling, as may seem good to him. He can leave the appurtenances thereof (the 'Grundstücke,' or parcels distributed in the three fields) to one heir or to many as he pleases. He may exchange them or give them away, or dispose of them in any and every legal way, without requiring any authorisation for such changes.

"This unlimited right of disposal has great and manifold advantages. It affords the safest and best means for preserving the proprietor from debt, and for keeping alive in him a lasting and lively interest in the improvement of his estate, and it raises the general standard of cultivation.

"The interest in the estate is kept alive by the freedom left to parents to divide their estate amongst their children as they think fit, knowing that the benefit of every improvement will be reaped by them."

Mr. Kay intended to explain in his subsequent letters on the Land Laws of Germany the limitations of devise actually imposed by the law of Prussia in favour of natural heirs, and the rare exceptions due to Fidei commissa and Majorats. He did not, however, consider these limitations and exceptions of such importance and extent as to inter, fere with the principle of free trade in land, which he has mentioned in several of his letters, as existing in the greater part of Germany, but he did not live to explain his views on this point. The Editor refers readers who are desirous of following out this subject to two authorities

which Mr. Kay had carefully studied:-The essay on "The Agrarian Legislation of Prussia during the Present Century," by R. B. D. Morier, C. B., in the volume entitled "Systems of Land Tenure," published by the Cobden Club; and the "Reports from Her Majesty's Representatives respecting the Tenure of Land in the several countries of Europe, 1869"-in particular to the Report of Mr. Harriss-Gastrell on Prussia, and that of Mr. Morier on Hesse-Darmstadt.




August 16, 1878.

IN my last letter I tried to show how the French system of Land Laws, which divides a great part of a father's estate upon his death among his children, has operated in France, notwithstanding the ignorance of the peasantry. I stated that I thought that the system of forced subdivision was wrong; but I wished to show that even this system, with all its faults, promotes the prosperity, moral wellbeing, and happiness of the yeomen farmers and peasants better than our system of huge estates and long settlements. I said that I did this because the instance of France was always being brought forward, by ignorant opponents of free trade in land, as if it were an unanswerable argument against any reform of our feudal Land Laws, and as if no other system were possible. I reminded your readers that many of the best and most richly cultivated parts of Europe were cultivated under the French system of laws. I now propose to show what the highest and ablest authorities say of the effects of the French Land Laws in France, notwithstanding the great drawback of the want of education.

And first, let me cite some sentences from an extremely able and interesting letter on this subject, written by our great economist, Mr. Cobden, and published by his great ally, Mr. Bright, in the "Times," on the 7th January, 1873. Mr. Cobden says, "Nobody has, I believe, proposed that

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