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ing upon his own land. About one-third of the occupiers of land in Belgium are owners, and the other two-thirds tenants with very short leases.

Professor Baldwin, the chief inspector of agricultural schools in Ireland, was sent to Belgium in 1867 to study the condition of the agricultural tenants in Belgium.

was examined this year, 1878, before the select committee on the Irish Land Act, 1870, and gave some most important evidence upon the comparative condition of the small landowners and of the mere tenants of Belgium.

He says that" the small tenants are in a very indifferent condition, to say the least of it; that they are rack-rented; but the small owners, as a rule, are very prosperous and very contented, as they have an income from two sources; they have the income as proprietors, and the profit of the farm as well. I went in West and East Flanders from house to house, and I found more happiness and comfort and prosperity in the houses of the small proprietors" than in those of the mere tenants. "The tenant farmer has no money, and he is in a wretched state.'


M. de Laveleye (see his Essay in "Systems of Land Tenure," p. 227) says: "If the cultivator of the soil is the owner of it at the same time, his condition is a happy one in Belgium, as everywhere else, unless the plot he holds is insufficient to support him, in which case he has to eke out his existence by becoming also a tenant or labourer. as a rule the peasant proprietor is well off. In the first place, he may consume the entire produce of his land, which being very large, especially in Flanders, his essential wants are amply satisfied; secondly, he is independent, having no apprehensions for the future; he need not fear being ejected from his farm, or having to pay more in proportion as he improves the land by his labour." In short, he knows that the full and entire value of every improvement he effects will be his own or his children's, and that he or they will derive the whole advantage of every extra hour's labour.

But, as M. de Laveleye says (see Essay, p. 228), "the situation of the small Flemish tenant farmers is, it must be owned, a rather sad one. Owing to the shortness of their leases, they are incessantly exposed to having their rents raised or their farms taken from them. Enjoying no security as to the future, they live in perpetual anxiety. So much does this fear of having their rents raised tell upon their minds, that they are afraid to answer any question about farming, fancying that an increase of rent would be the inevitable consequence.”

But this state of things is gradually disappearing, by the gradual division of the larger estates among smaller proprietors, who farm their own land themselves.

In 1846 there were only 758,512 owners of land in the whole of Belgium.

On the 1st January 1865 there were in the entire kingdom 1,069,326 owners. (See M. de Laveleye's Essay, p. 204.) Thus it appears that between 1846 and 1865 the number of landowners had considerably increased.

M. de Laveleye (see his Essay, p. 212) gives the following as the reasons why the Flemish husbandman derives such abundant produce from a soil which is naturally, as he says, "so poor,” viz :—

"1. The perfection of both plough and spade work.

"2. Each field has the perfection of shape given to it to facilitate cultivation and drainage.

"3. Most careful husbanding of manure. None is wasted, either in town or country; and all farmers, down to the poorest tenants and labourers, purchase manure from the dealers."

(I have shown already how extraordinarily careful of their manure the small Swiss farmers are, and what pains they take that none shall be wasted, but that all, both solid and liquid, shall be returned to the land.)

"4. The great variety of crops, especially of industrial plants, viz., colza, flax, tobacco, hops, chicory, &c., yield

ing large returns and admitting of exportation to the most distant countries.

"5. Second, or 'stolen' crops, such as turnips and carrots, after the cereals, of English clover, sparry, &c., whereby the cultivated area is in effect increased onethird.

"6. Abundance of food for cattle. Although the soil is not favourable to meadows, yet, taking the second crops into account, one-half of the available superficies is devoted to the keeping of live stock. Hence the rise of rents, although the price of corn is hardly increased.

"7. House-feeding of the cattle, by which the cows give both more milk and more manure.

"8. Minute weeding."

Writing of the great value set upon manure by the small farmers, M. de Laveleye (Essay, p. 209) says: "The institution in Flanders in aid of agricultural credit is the manure merchant, who has founded it in the best of forms; for money may be spent in a public-house, but a loan of manure must be laid out on the land.

"The poor labourer goes with his wheelbarrow to the dealer in the village to buy a sack or two of guano, undertaking to pay for it after the harvest. The dealer trusts him, and gives him credit, having a lien on the crop produced by the aid of his manure. In November he gets his money; the produce has been doubled, and the land improved.

"The small farmer does as the labourer does; each opens an account with the manure dealer, who is the best of all bankers.

"The large farmers of Hainault and Namur do not buy manure, fancying they would ruin themselves by doing so. The Flemish small farmers invest from fifteen to twenty millions of francs in guano every year, and quite as much in other kinds of manure. Where does large farming make such advances ? "

In another place (see Essay, p. 199) M. de Laveleye says:

"The Flemish farmer scrupulously collects every atom of sewage from the towns; he guards his manure like a treasure, putting a roof over it to prevent the rain and sunshine from spoiling it. He gathers mud from rivers and canals, the excretions of animals along the highroads, and their bones for conversion into phosphate. With cows' urine, gathered in tanks (exactly as in Switzerland), he waters turnips, which would not come up without it; and he spends incredible sums in the purchase of guano and artificial manures."

What a contrast to many parts of our own country! Not many miles from where I am writing there lives a very intelligent farmer, much respected both by his neighbour farmers and by the gentry around. He farms between 100 and 200 acres. His land consists of a loamy soil, perhaps a foot and a half deep, lying on the top of chalk, which is much broken up and more pervious to rain than even gravel. His land requires much manure. He has made, on the higher part of his land, large tanks, cut in the chalk, but not lined with cement or anything which could make them watertight. He has conducted by pipe drains into these tanks the sewage from extensive farm buildings and dwellinghouses. His land slants downwards from these tanks, rendering it very easy to irrigate it with the liquid manure, and, as I have said before, it is land which requires all the manure it can get. What does this intelligent and really superior English farmer do? He allows all the liquid manure, of which there is a vast quantity, to run away into the chalk to be lost, except a small quantity, which he uses for a kitchen garden. The solid sediment he has the good sense to make use of. And then, having thrown away all this valuable liquid manure, he goes to the market from time to time, and buys manure in a stinted manner, as he fancies he can afford.

If he had been a farmer in Switzerland, farming his own. land, his tanks would be watertight, he would have a watercart on his farm, and before the first crop was sown, and as soon as the first crop was removed, the cart, having been

filled from the tank, would water the land, and so prepare it for the next crop that, by the aid of this rich and constant manuring, can be obtained from it. But, alas! there is as much manure wasted and thrown away in England as would, in my opinion, double or treble the produce of our country, if properly applied. I have given an instance of the waste of a very intelligent farmer. What must it be among the small and less scientific farmers throughout the country, farming another man's land, without lease or any valid security for improvements !

M. de Laveleye denies that the small properties of Flanders are burdened with debts, or that loans on them are raised at ruinous rates of interest, as opponents of the French system of Land Laws allege. A similar objection has been brought, as I have shown, against the small properties of France, and, as I have shown, has been disproved by the most competent writers on this subject.

Another objection which has been often urged against la petite culture (or the cultivation of small farms by their owners) in Belgium is that it does not admit of the use of agricultural machinery. I have shown how a similar assertion with respect to France is disproved by the actual facts.

With respect to Belgium M. de Laveleye says:

"To disprove this objection I need not point out that to Flanders are due the best forms of the spade, the harrow, the cart, and the plough-Brabant ploughs having for a long time been imported from Flanders into England. It may be said that these are primitive, and not very costly implements. I need only reply, look at what is going on in Flanders at the present day.

"The most costly agricultural machine in general use in England is the locomotive steam threshing machine. Well, this machine is to be found everywhere in Flanders. Some farmers will club together to purchase one, and use it in turn; or else a villager, often the miller, buys one, and goes round threshing for the small farmers on their own ground at so much per day and per hundred kilos of corn.


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