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movement is also always going on in the land market towards the enlargement of small properties, the consolidation of small parcels, and even in some places towards the acquisition of what in France are considered as large estates. The continuous acquisitions of land by purchase by the French yeomen, peasant, and labouring classes is indeed one of the best proofs of their social and moral wellbeing, and of the admirable effects of the division of the land upon them.

In another celebrated work, "The Rural Economy of Great Britain," M. de Lavergne says (I quote now from Mr. Leslie's essay, page 293): “The extent of farms, besides, is determined by other causes, such as the nature of the soil, the climate, and the kinds of crops prevailing. Almost everywhere the soil of France may be made to respond to the labour of man, and almost everywhere it is for the advantage of the community that manual labour should be actively bestowed upon it. Let us suppose ourselves in the rich plains of Flanders, or on the banks of the Rhone, the Garonne, or the Charente. We there meet with the petite culture, but it is rich and productive. Every method for increasing the fruitfulness of the soil and making the most of labour is there known and practised, even amongst the smallest farmers. Notwithstanding the active properties of the soil, the people are constantly renewing and adding to its fertility by means of quantities of manure, collected at great cost; the breed of animals is superior, and the harvests magnificent. In one district we find maize and wheat; in another, tobacco, flax, rape, and madder; then again, the vine, olive, plum, and mulberry, which to yield their abundant treasures require a people of laborious habits. Is it not also to small farming that we owe most of the market-garden produce raised at such great expenditure round Paris?"

And then, writing of the cottages of the small peasant farmers, M. de Lavergne goes on to say (I still quote from Mr. Leslie): "There is nothing so delightful as the interior

of these humble cottages; so clean and orderly, the very air about them breathes peace, industry, and happiness; and it is pleasing to think that they are not likely to be done away with," or, as M. de Lavergne might have added, that any great landlord could evict the tenants, as the cottages as well as the farm belong to the inhabitants.

And speaking of the interior of the houses of the small peasant farmers, Mr. Hamerton, in his most interesting work "Round my House" (page 235), says: "In the furniture of their houses the peasants are equally regulated by fixed usages. The cabinetmaker's work is always of walnut, and nearly of the same design. The bed, the linen-press, and the clock are the three items to which most care is given. Sometimes you will find two beds, two linen-presses, and two clocks in the same room, one set belonging to the parents, the other to a married son. The women are proud of their linen-presses, which are prettily panelled, and they rub the panels till they shine."

The amount of debt on the peasant properties of France has been enormously exaggerated. M. de Lavergne estimated it at five per cent. on an average of their total value; and Mr. Leslie (in his Essay, p. 298), says: "The marked improvement in the food, clothing, lodging, and appearance of the whole rural population is of itself unmistakable evidence that they are not an impoverished class, but, on the contrary, are rapidly rising in the economic and social scale."

That this must be so is shown still more clearly by the statistics published by M. de Lavergne. He estimates the increase in the yield of wheat in the 25 years preceding 1851 at 7,000,000 quarters. In 1850 he says the gross money yield would reach £44,000,000; in 1876, £58,000,000. He says that in 1850, the produce of wine was less than 900,000,000 gallons and the price only 5d. per gallon, and that the produce is now (that is in 1876) over 1,000,000,000 gals. and the price is 10d. per gal. He says that milk has increased in about the same proportion

as wine; and that butter is also made more largely, and that beetroot has progressed with enormous strides. He says finally, that, taking agricultural progress as a whole, the £200,000,000 of twenty-five years ago are now £300,000,000, in spite of the loss of Alsace and Lorraine, but that much of this increase is due to the opening of new railways, and improved means of transport. (See Richardson's "Corn and Cattle Producing Districts of France," p. 522.)

But still it must be borne in mind that the very opening of these new modes of communication, especially after the fearful disasters and losses of France and the tremendous taxation, is a marvellous proof of the rapidly growing wealth and resources of that country, and a wonderful refutation of M'Culloch's dismal prophecy.

I shall have to return again to this important subject.



August 26, 1878.

IN my Letters No. IX. and No. X. I have endeavoured to explain, as simply as I could, what the French system of Land Laws is, and what effect this system is producing in France upon the yeomen and peasant farmers of that country. I am most anxious that it should not be supposed for a moment that I am arguing in favour of our adopting the French system of compulsory subdivision; but so many absurd statements have been made in this country about the ruinous effects of that system, for the purpose of throwing obstacles in the way of the reform of our own feudal Land Laws-as if there were no intermediate system of Land Laws between the French and our own-that I wish to prove by the highest authorities that even the French system, instead of promoting the ruin or impoverishment of the countries in which it prevails, and spite of the ignorance of the French yeomen and peasant farmers, is rapidly increasing the wealth of the country, promoting the moral and economical prosperity and happiness of the farming and rural classes, and, by establishing the contentment of these classes, is at the same time increasing the stability of the Government.

This is the reason why I return in this letter to the consideration of the opinions of eminent men upon this most important part of my subject. The elevated character

and eminent position of the French advocates of the French system seem to have had their effect on the conservative and philosophical mind of Dr. Chalmers, who visited France in 1838, imbued with M'Culloch's predilections against the division of landed property. "Dr. Chalmers records in his diary" (see Mr. Cobden's letters), "which has been published since his death, the conversations he had on this. subject with men of the highest social and political position, whom he describes as 'intelligent and truly Conservative.' One of them, François Delessert, member of the Chamber of Deputies, a Parisian merchant, tells him that he 'apprehends no harm from the subdivision of property, speaks of the checks to it, says that it is greatly overrated, and that family arrangements often prevent it.' Dr. Chalmers also says that the then Duke de Broglie made a very able defence of French Land Law.

A few years after 1838, the agricultural districts of France were visited by Mr. Coleman, Professor of Agriculture in Massachusetts. He was sent by that State on a special mission to report on the condition of agriculture in Europe. He was therefore eminently qualified to form a sound and valuable opinion on this subject. It would be difficult to find a witness more deserving of attention. He says-I quote from Mr. Cobden's most able letter:

"At first I thought I should find nothing in French agriculture worthy of much attention, but my opinion has undergone a change, and I begin to think their agriculture not only good, but advanced. They do not grow the same productions as in England; their work is not executed in so neat a manner; their implements are primitive and somewhat rude; their neat stock is less improved, and indeed the whole system is different; but I am disposed to believe that their farming is more economical, and that, taken as a whole, the condition of the labouring classes is superior to that of the English . . . I have never seen a more civil, clean, well-dressed, happy set of people than the French peasantry, with scarcely an exception, and they

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