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strong stimulus to be prudent or industrious. They have no interest in the soil. They are little better than the serfs of the great lords at Vienna."

I travelled through another part of Bohemia with a very intelligent Prussian landlord, with whom I had a great deal of conversation. He said to me, "What a strange spectacle it is to see this fine country so badly cultivated and the peasants so poorly housed. Look, too, what great tracts are left entirely uncultivated. You do not see anything like this in those parts of Prussia where the peasants are educated proprietors. There they are prosperous and the land is beautifully cultivated. Here a great part of the land is waste, while the peasants are the miserable dependents of great landlords, who spend their rents at a distance from their estates. If Bohemia were only cultivated like Prussia, it would be one of the richest countries in the world. But it never can be properly cultivated under the present system."

How all this made me think, not only of England, but still more of unhappy Ireland!

I need not say that, after such an experience and such a lesson as this, all belief in English and Irish and Scotch Land Laws passed away from me for ever. I saw, more clearly than I had ever done, what education and freedom were capable of effecting in all classes, in all nations, and in all departments of human industry. I had been the agent of the Anti-corn-law League while I was a student at Cambridge. I became henceforward the earnest advocate of free trade in land. What may be the state of Bohemia now, since the introduction of Liberal reforms in the Austrian Empire, I know not, but I know I have given a faithful picture of things as they were in the years 1845-48.

Since those years I have lived much among the yeomen and peasant proprietors of Switzerland and Germany, and the more I have seen the more earnestly I have become

convinced of the truth of the conclusions to which I was forced in the years 1844-50.

But it must be borne in mind that I speak of what has been accomplished by the repeal of the feudal laws in countries in which education has progressed hand in hand with the other great social changes. In those parts of

Germany and Switzerland, where the struggles of the religious parties or other difficulties hindered or prevented the progress of education for many years after free trade in land had been introduced, the condition of the yeomen and peasant farmers was most clearly far behind the condition of the same classes in those provinces, in which education had progressed hand in hand with the other great reforms.

In 1844-50, when very little comparatively had been done for education in the cantons of Friburg and Lucerne, and the other lake cantons and the Valais, the condition of the yeomen and peasant farmers, although they had enjoyed free trade in land as long as the other cantons of which I have spoken, was far inferior. The most cursory glance was sufficient to satisfy the traveller of this, as he looked at the villages, the orchards, or the fields.

So, too, in France at the present day. There they have had free trade in land as long as any nation, but the yeomen and peasant farmers have hitherto had nothing. deserving the name of education. Their ignorance is appalling. It is limited to the experience of their own immediate neighbours. They know nothing of the world, even at a distance of 100 miles from their doors. Science is a sealed book to them; agricultural schools and teachers, such as those of Germany and Switzerland, are utterly unknown. Their almost inconceivable ignorance is most strikingly described in Mr. Hamerton's able and interesting book, "Round my House," published as lately as 1876 by a gentleman who has lived for years among the French peasantry, and who probably knows as much, if not more, of their present condition than any other living Englishman.

He says (p. 228), "The ignorance of the French peasantry is difficult to believe when you do not know them, and still more difficult when you know them well, because their intelligence and tact seem incompatible with ignorance. . . . They are at the same time full of intelligence and inconceivably ignorant. ... His ignorance is incredible. He really does not know what the word 'France' means. . . . Fancy the condition of a mind which has no geographical knowledge! I knew an old peasant, who sometimes asked me where places were, and his way was this: He would ask me to point in the direction of the place, and when two places happened to lie in the same direction, it was almost impossible to make him understand that they were not on the same spot." Mr. Hamerton lived in a part of France so near Switzerland that the tops of the Alps were sometimes visible from the summits of the hills in his neighbourhood. But he says (p. 231), "The greater part of the peasantry here have never heard of Switzerland." They adopt the experience and maxims of their predecessors. That is their whole science of farming.

Is it wonderful, then, that France, with only free trade in land, should be half a century behind the countries of Switzerland and Germany, which have had now for so many years the vast combined advantages of free trade in land and education, and, in many parts, of a thoroughly good agricultural training also?

But even in France, how wonderful have been the results of free trade in land, even without education, spite of the dread prophecies that have been uttered since 1830 as to what would be the certain results of the great subdivision of land in that country! Year by year, evidence which cannot be gain said accumulates upon us, showing the remarkable progress among the small French proprietors and the gradual increase of their comfort, savings, capital, and intelligence. Let the Republic only last and accom

plish what it has pledged itself to perform-viz., to give a thoroughly good education to every child from its fifth to its fifteenth year, as in Switzerland and Germany, and the prosperity of the yeomen and peasant proprietors of France will soon rival, if not surpass, the prosperity of their German rivals.

LETTER IX.

ON FRANCE.

August 6, 1878.

I CANNOT too often or too strongly remind those of the public who are interested in the subject of these letters— and, as they are now being regularly republished in various journals both in England and Ireland, I suppose there are many who are so interested—that the first argument brought forward against any one who is in favour of "free trade in land," and consequent subdivision of the great estates, is almost invariably the exclamation, "Look at the state of France."

A short time ago, a very able man, well known in the political world, called on us and entered into a discussion upon the Land Laws. He knew very little of the subject. He had not studied it at all. But his good strong sense had made him revolt against the system of English laws which divided the vast bulk of the land of Great Britain and Ireland among a few owners, while it deprived peasants, small farmers, most of the large farmers, and the tradesmen of the towns of any share, or of anything but a very small share, in the most valuable and most coveted of all property.

Our friend inveighed bitterly against the state of things in one of the counties where he had been visiting, describing in vivid language the enormous possessions, households, wealth, and luxury of the great landowning aristocracy, and describing no less powerfully the poverty and hopelessness of the peasantry, and the utter impossibility of either

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