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the great landowner is an educated, scientific man of business, who makes the scientific care of his estate the business of his life. No one grudges such a man the possession of many acres ; and such a man, if he knew that he could not, as at present, prevent by any deed or will his estate from being sold after his death, would bestow infinite care on the proper education of the son whom he selected to succeed him, so that the estate might continue to be well and scientifically managed, and might not be sold or divided after his own death. And the son, as I have already pointed out, under such a state of law, knowing that the law did not secure the succession to the estate to him, as it does now, and that his father would not leave him the estate unless he fitted himself to manage it properly after his father's death, would be much more likely to fit himself by study for such management than now, when our law seems to do all it can to render the son, under one of our settlements or wills, wholly independent of the father's influence, and wholly indifferent and indisposed to educate himself for the scientific management of the estate. In these respects I have always been strongly of opinion that the immoral influence and results of our system of Land Laws are about as bad for the common weal as they could be.

And if the only choice before us lay between, on the one hand, continuing the injurious unfairness and the great moral evils resulting from our present system, or, on the other hand, adopting the French system even with its defects, I, for one, should not hesitate a moment in electing the French system, which, although open to the objections I have mentioned, at the same time promotes in such a remarkable degree the self-denial, the foresight, the wonderful industry, and the moral habits of the French yeomen and peasant farmers.

[The following sentence, extracted from Mr. Kay's book on the "Social Condition and Education of the people," in which he has discussed this subject, contains the result

he arrived at, and forms a fitting conclusion to this unfinished letter. "The best and soundest plan, however, is to give the proprietor power to leave his land to whomsoever he will, but to deprive him at the same time of all power of preventing his successor from selling any portion of the land and of leaving his successors any other than the whole estate in the land devised to them." The reader is also referred to Letter IX., p. 94, and Appendix, p. 311. EDITOR.]

LETTER XV.

THE SYSTEMS OF LAND LAWS In force in PRUSSIA, AND IN TWO OR THREE OF THE SMALLER GERMAN STATES.

I HAVE now described to those of your readers who are interested in the subject, and in as simple and popular a manner as I could, the nature of the French system of Land Laws, and their effects in the countries in which they are in force-viz., France, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, the Channel Islands, the Rhine provinces of Germany and Norway; and in my last letter I have tried to point out, as fairly as I could, all the disadvantages of which I am aware, which tend in any degree to counterbalance the enormous benefits which these laws have conferred upon all the countries, into which they have been introduced.

I now propose to explain, as clearly as may be, the systems of Land Laws which are in force in the great kingdom of Prussia, and in two or three of the smaller German States. Your readers will soon see how they promote in the fullest manner free trade in land; how they set themselves against the tying up of estates, as in Great Britain and Ireland, for long series of years; and how they facilitate, as much as possible, the acquisition of land, either for gardens, orchards, or farms, by all classes of the people.

The state of the division of the land in Great Britain, as described in No. I. of this series of letters, may well indeed appear astounding to an educated German, when he com

pares it with what the greatest of their statesmen have successfully devoted their energies and abilities to effect in Prussia and Germany, and when he considers that the division of land in his own country meets with the almost universal assent and praise of all thoughtful and intelligent men. But first of all, before we inquire into the nature of their Land Laws, let us consider what the actual state of the division of the land in the kingdom of Prussia was in 1858, the last year, I regret to say, of which I have been able to procure any official and trustworthy returns.

I am indebted for these returns to Mr. Harris-Gastrell's very learned report on Prussia and the North German Confederation, published in Part I. of the "Reports of Her Majesty's Representatives respecting the Tenure of Land in the several Countries of Europe, 1869." Mr. Harris-Gastrell divides the landed estates of Prussia into three classes1. Small properties.

2. Middle properties.
3. Large properties.

As to the small properties, he says, that in 1858 there were in the whole kingdom-estates under 3 acres, 1,087,081, estates between 3 to 20 acres, 609,828. Sites of houses with or without a house-garden attached are excluded from the above numbers.

As to the middle properties, he says, that in 1858 there were in the whole kingdom-estates from 20 to 200 acres, 389,823,-estates from 200 to 400 acres, 15,048.

As to the large properties, he says, that in 1858 there were in the whole kingdom-estates over 400 acres, 18,197, and that of these, in 1865, there were only 108, which were assessed to the Land Tax at a net return of over £1500, or, stating in a summary the total of the above table, there were in 1858, as he says—

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Of the small proprietors, he says that a considerable number

possess sufficient land to support themselves and their families. The minimum for this purpose, he says, is 7 acres, or thereabouts, in very fertile and well-favoured districts; but that the minimum increases to 20 acres or more in districts with decreasing local advantages. The remaining small proprietors are mainly persons, as he observes, “who are auxiliarly occupied with agriculture ;" that is, either labourers, who own a kitchen-garden or a field; or market gardeners, who raise vegetables and fruit for the markets; or owners of vineyards. It appears that there are, or rather were, in 1858, about 800,000 day labourers, working for wages, who owned small plots of land such as I have mentioned above, and that many of these were artisans or the small industrial people of the village.

Only compare this state of things to that described in No. I., and the sizes of what are called "great" estates, with the sizes of the enormous estates of England, Scotland, and poor Ireland, and try to realise the vast difference between the position of a small farmer or a peasant in ourIslands and in Prussia. Remember, that, as I have shown in my first letter, 874 persons in England and Wales own 9,267,031 acres; and that 4500 men in England and Wales own more than 17,498,200 acres; that in Scotland one owner has 1,326,000 acres, and that 12 owners have 4,339,722 acres; while in poor, discontented Ireland, 744 persons hold 9,612,728 acres, or about one-half of the island, and that of these a great number are absentees. And then consider the significance of the fact that, in the great kingdom of Prussia, there are only 108 landowners whose estates are large enough to be rated at £1500 a year.

[NOTE BY THE EDITOR.-Mr. Kay was engaged in writing the above letter on the 5th of October 1878. In the evening he made, as usual, a short entry in his diary :-"Worked at No. XV." These are the last words my husband ever wrote in this diary which he had kept regularly for the greater part of his life. The next day, Sunday the 6th, he was seized with a sudden increase of the painful illness from which he had been suffering during many months, and died on Wednesday the 9th of October 1878.]

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