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Mr. McNeel Cird and now advocated by increasing num bers in our Scotch Chamber of Agriculture, will ultimately prevail.

But it may be urged that landlords would take care to contract themselves out of any rules the legislature may enact, giving, in the absence of contract, compensation for unexhausted manures and improve nents at the end of the occupancy, aud so defeat the object aimed at in their enactment. In answer to that, let me quote Mr. McNeel Caird's remarks on this subject in the last leiter I had from him, written from a sick bed, and which I think sufficiently disposes of this objection. He says: "When we get all the and laws set right, and ail class laws abolished, laudlords will have to compete for tenants, quite as much as tenants for farms. Some may try to continue restrictions on growth, but, as the tenant will be able to stand up for himself, he will either reject them or the landlord will have to pay smartly for them in rent or otherwise, and so practically they will, on the broad scale, come to an end. Legitimate conditious will be made that the land shall not be unduly exhausted but with right to compensation for unexhausted improvements leases will become of much less account, and when a tenant has a right by law to such compensation, and is placed on an equal footing by law in making his contract, you need not be afraid of his foolishly parting with his right without securing something that he considers better. Some men may barter away their right foolishly. can't be helped; but the average of men, when placed in a position of equality by law, will look sharply after their own interest, aud may be trusted to do so, which is all we require." I am, Sir, &c, Bolsham, Arbroath, Dec. 5th.

acterises his writings on agricultural questions. The subject of freedom of contract is one on which the leading agricultural journal of Scotland should give no uncertain sound, and yet it discusses the subject in a way which to me at least is most perplexing. He says the English Agricultural Holdings Act has been condemned "in Scotland as well as south of the Tweed, mainly on account of its permissiveness," but I venture to say it has been condemned quite as much on account of its injustice, and has been repudiated by farmers generally as little better than a mockery and a sham. He admits that if class laws and unjust privileges enjoyed by the landlord were removed, the necessity for interference with contract "would be reduced to a minimum "—such a minimum [ suppose he means as is" involved by making the agricultural Holdings Act in an altered shape compulsory;" but what he means by an "altered shape," he does not define. He demurs to the views "of various members of the Scotch Chamber of Agriculture, who have now and again protested against any check whatever on the contracting powers of parties," and thinks "an attitude of that kind may look wel' on paper," but if he mistake not, "those who indulge most in it would not be satisfied with a permissive measure of compensation for tenants' improvements." True, we certainly would not; but who of us has ever said we would be satisfied with such a measure? Our object is to get the land laws put square, and all unjust privileges and presumptions of law in favour of either party swept away, and a fair field being thus secured to them, landlord and tenant should then be left free to make any bargain they please. Were this done tenants would not have to complain of theirs being the weaker party, and as such needing to be protected by the law in bargaining with their landlords-nor would they be deterred from executing all needful improvements, and from putting their farms into such condition as is essential to the efficient cultivation of them. We concur with him when he says that it would be just and reasonable for the legislature to declare that the tenant shall have full power to protect his crops from all kinds of game and vermin. This is implied in our demand for the removal of all unjust laws and privileges-and the enactment of equitable rules to regulate the rights of parties, in the absence of contract, at the termination of the lease, is all that would be required to secure the tenant getting such compensation for his unexhausted manures and improvements as the equity and justice of the case required.

But the writer of the article in the North British

Agriculturist in a sentence in the last paragraph virtually gives up the case when he says that if the laws were altered as we contend for-and justice he says, demands it" something like rational contracts might be expected between owner and occupier but not till then." Well if that be so why not join us in advocating measures that would supersede the necessity for a compulsory or a permissive measure, seeing the object aimed at can be a'tained in a much more efficient and much less objectionable way. It seems to be an intolerable interference with the rights of an owner to compel him to pay for what the tenant may call improvements, but which he may consider the reverse, and that too on the plea as you put it of paying "for value received" or in other words outlays which may have been made by the tenant not only without the owner's consent, but in the teeth, it may be, of his remonstrances to the contrary. If the rights of the leaseholder can only be preserved by an interference such as this, leaseholding itself as a system of land occupancy would seem to stand condemned; but I think we can shew how the rights of parties can be adjusted without such interference, and I hope the views first cuuuciated by




TO THE EDITOR OF THE MARK LANE EXPRESS. SIR, I have read Mr. Goodlet's letter, and the remarks on it by "A Man of Mark Lane," with great interest. It is, I believe, gratifying to all who have the interests of farmers at heart to find the subject of tenants' right to the ownership of their improvements discussed so dispassionately as it is likely to be by Mr. Goodlet on the one side, and so quick-witted an advocate of farmers' rights as the "Man of Mark Lane," on the other.

I believe Mr. Goodlet fairly represents the position of the Scottish Chamber, although he by no means can be said to advocate the views of many thoughtful Scotchmen, when he says that a presumptive right to tenants' improvements is all that farmers desire iu regard to this question.

What I wish to point out is that in view of the approaching general election it is of the utmost importance that farmers' advocates should be agreed as to the amount of their demands upon the next Government, be it Liberal or Conservative. Mr. Goodlet says, give us but the presumptive right to our own improvement." The "Man of Mark Lane" says that is not enough-give us the inalienable right to such improvements.

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As is suggested in your excellent journal, both parties ought to condescend to particulais. How does Mr. Goodlet propose to turn the presumption in favour of What sort of an Act would accomplish his desire? On the other hand, how would it be possible to give an inalienable right to tenants' improvements?


These seem to me pertinent questions. I would suggest an answer. Perhaps it may displease both sides. As against Mr. Good t I would say the experience of a more presumptive right in England has not done any good. True, it might be more practically beneficial in a land of leases. But I

would as Mr. Goodlet if he would have any objections hat it should be the law that no leise of land should contain a provision by which the lessee gave up his right to the property of his improvements.

Would such a provision in an Act of Parliament satisfy the "Man of Mark Lane"? If not, I think the onus lies on the "Man of Mark Lane" to show how he would construct the inalienable right which he seems to deside


I would suggest to the "Man of Mark Lane" that the claim of the Chamber (Mr. Goodlet's claim) is ouly an instalment of the justice to farmers, which is due to a class fighting against not only foreign competition, but a disastrous home competition for an article which is practically a monopoly.

I have myself suffered from the iniquitous and unjust provisions of the law, and I hope for the sake of others, that no difference between farmers' friends may result in nothing being done by the ensuing Parliament to amend the land laws. No cry is more welcome or more satisfying to enemies of farmers' rights than the cry "gentlemen agree amongst yourselves, before you can expect us to do anything for you." Would not the alteration of the law's presumption be a valuable instalment of justice ? I am aware that Mr. Goodlet used to advocate the ideal settlemeat of such questions, in the hope that the practical solution might be dragged up to a higher level. In view of a general election, ought not both sides to confine themselves to what is likely to be practical?

I am, Sir, &c.,



On Friday, the 21st, inst. Mr. Sergeant SIMON, M.P. addressed a meeting in the Carlinghow Liberal Club, near Baties, on the Land Question. There was a large attendance.Mr. W. BATES (President of the Club) occupied the chair, and having alluded to the recent terrible calamity at the Skating Rink, stated that most present would remember that the learned Sergeant was to have been one of the principal speakers at the opening of the club. Owing to in isposition, however, he was unable to be present, but promised to take the fir-t opportunity of visiting the club, and he was now present to speak on a most interesting subject. A foolish report was being spread about the town, partly on account of the accident at the rink, to the effect that the club-roon was not safe. He could assure all present, however, that if the room were crowded to overflowing it would be perfectly safe.

Sergeant SIMON, M.P., said he need not say how deeply he felt for the unfortunate sufferers, and how much he had been touched and affected by the sad calamity which had removed, Ly an untimely death, no less than four of their fellow-beings; and which had injured many good, industrious, hard-working Ben and women more or less severely. A movement had been commenced to mitigate, as far as possible, the suffering and trial which the unfortunate families would have to undergo by the loss of those upon whom they depended for subsistence. The land question, upon which he was about to speak, could not be properly treated in a speech of half an hour, or even an Four's ui cussion. All he could attempt to do would be to Jay before them some of the salient facts of the case, and to give them, as it were, an outline of the subject; and, whilst intimating his own views, leave them to draw the conclusions which reasonable men would draw. From an early period in his career circumstances brought the lacd question in a special way before his attention. As a student of the law nearly forty years ago his attention was first directed to it. He wis always struck, when he became a student of the law by the cambrousness of their system of land transfer. astonished at the almost insuperable questions to be understood or mastered before they could attain to a knowledge of what was the law relating to real property in the country. young man, he asked himself why in the case of land there should be all this difficulty, when is the case of money-its

He was

As a


acquisition, transfer, and mode of being dealt with-was not encumbered by any of these difficult problems of law or pro cedure. In the old Saxon times every holder of land was his own landlord-in other words, the proprietor of the soil. At the time of the Conquest the feudal system was introduced, and the land of the country was taken possession of by the Crown-granted out in manors and divisions as the Crown pleased to its followers and adherents. The nobles and favoured subjec's of the Crown again allotted their manors, as they were called, into smaller portions to different tenants. process of time the question of the transmutation of landed property, either by will or direct transfer in the lifetime of the holders, became encumbered with a number of feudal customs, or manorial or lordly rights, implying that the tenants were not actually the holders. The whole system was based on the idea of a lord paramount, as he was called, and the lord of the manor under him. The lord of the manor had certain rights from his tenants, or those who were nominally the owners. There was the right of the lord to have a certain uumber of retainers to go to the wars. Theu came in the most unjust law, which they know by the name of primogeni landed property without a will, the whole of the estates went ture, by which, in case of the death of the owner of freehold

to the eldest son to the exclusion of all others. Then came in the system of entail, which tied up the inheritance of the land to male heirs to the exclusion of female heirs. Out of that system had arisen what in his opinion was the great grievance and the great blot of their land system-the system of settlement. Primogeniture on the very face of it was an unjust law, but it was aggravated by the fact that not only was the heir-at-law entitled to the whole of the landed estate, but to his equal share in the personal estate of his father. The system of settlement had had a most pernicious effect on the well being and prosperity of the landed gentry themselves, not to say of the people at large. One of the results of the system was that the land was not let, as a rule, upon leases at all, and seldom upon long leases. The tenant was able to be turned out at any moment, even though he might have spent an enormous amount of money in improving the estate. The present Government, in the session before last, passed what they called the Agricultural Holdings Act, which professed to give the tenant compensation for the improvements he had made upon the land. But the same Act that professed to do that give the landlord the right to covenant himself out of it, and to say to the tenant, "I won't give you anv benefit unless you give me the benefit of the improvements." A more delusive show of legislation to remove a great, unjust, and crying evil, never was passed. (Applause.) But these were only a very small proportion of the practical effects of the system of land settlement. There was the law of distress-a law made really by Parliaments of landlords and land pro| prietors. If any one entered into a contract to supply a merchant with a number of bales of goods, and did supply them, and the merchant failed to pay, the course was to bring an action at law. The dealer had to prove his contract, and establish the fair value of his goods before a jury. The jury found the debt was du, judgment was signed by the Court, and the dealer put in execution his judgment, and took whatever he could from the merchant, wherever he could find it, sufficient to pay his debt and costs. This process, even under their improved system of law, could not be carried out under some two or three months at the least. On the other hand, if the merchant who bought the goods happened in the meantime to become a bankrupt, and the dealer had not proceeded against him by action at law to recover his debt, he had to come in pari passu, with the rest of the creditors. That was not the case with band. A man rented a house or farm from the landlord, and the rent becoming due, was not paid. The landlord had a right to go down at once take the law into his own hands, put in a broker, take possession of the man's goods, and within ten days sell off, in order that he might get every shilling of the money owing. The man might be made a bankrupt in consequence of it, and the rest of his creditors would get little or nothing, because all he possessed might perhaps be taken from him by the landlord. That on the face of it, was an unfair state of law, and yet it was one of the privileges the landed class had in this country over every other. There was another effect of their land system. It had brought about the game laws, by which he thought they had made more criminals than by any other system ever devised. The law made a man who shot a pheasant a criminal, and the


owners of the land themselves ac'ed as accusers, prosecutors,
judges, and the punisher of the offender. He did not mean to
say that an owner would sit and judge a case of poaching on
his own land; but his next door neighbour would, and he
He had
would do the same for his next door neighbour.
obtained from certain public documents statistics which would
show them what the effect had been of the land laws, not
only in tying up the land in the hands of particular persons,
but in aggregating land in the hands of particular persons,
and confining the ownership of it to a comparatively few. It
was Mr. Bright who had stated that the whole land of the
Lord Derby in the
country was held by 30,000 persons.
House of Lords contradicted this, stating his belief that the
number of landowners in the United Kingdom was neater
300,000 than 30,000; that it was a popular fallacy to suppose
that small estates were being gradually absorbed into larger
ones; but that it was true that the class of peasant proprietors,
formerly to be found in the rural districts, was tending to
disappear. A committee was appointed to consider the matter
and a return was made. The revelations were so astounding
that the only wonder was that even they, a patient and long-
suffering people, should have endured the system of the land
laws so long. According to the terms of the Domesday Book,
in the year before last, the total area of England and Wales,
deducting the Metropolitan area, was 37,243,859 acres;
persons owned 1,917,076 acres : 800 owned 3,717,641 acres;
than 280 persons owned 5,425,764, or less than one
sixth of the area of England and Wales; and 710 persons
In Scotland the
owned one-fourth of England and Wales.
case was much worse, for nearly a fourth of the country was
owned by as few as twelve persons. What they wanted to see
was the land set free-free from feudal trammels, customs that
ought to have been obsolete, and conditions that did not apply
to the state of things in which they lived. They wanted the
land to be freed from the trammels which had caused it to
aggregate in the hands of a few persons, whilst it was driving
great masses of the people into poverty, want, and discomfort.


A vote of thanks to Mr. Simon for his address was adopted.

men of the present day. If agriculture was not flourishing it
left its impress upon almost every other class of society, and
looking at the present distress throughout the whole country
he did not think they could hope for any bright times for the
agricultural labourer while there was a want of means on the
part of his employers. For this state of things certain
remedies were suggested, some differ widely from the others,
and some which really only touched the fringe of the question.
It was suggested that there should be peasant proprietors. In
some cases small proprietorships would be very good indeed,
but he thought it would be better for the small proprietor if
he did not own the land, but rented it at a moderate rent,
with security of tenure, and if land was let in that way he
believed it might produce good results. He had let some
land himself in that way, and he had come to the conclusion
that it was much more beneficial to let a man be able to invest
his savings in the cultivation of the ground with proper
security than it was for him to purchase some land of his own.
There were several other subjects, and his friend Lord Henry
Scott had touched upon the Agricultural Holdings Act. He
(Mr. Beach) believed that that Act was a good measure, but
stili it did not go quite far enongh. It would not interfere
with a lease provided it was a good one. He did not want to
interfere with the landlord who made a good understanding
with his tenant, but they wanted to touch the man who would
not do that, and he thought the Act ought to make it com-
pulsory that there should be proper conditions. And with
regard to local rates he thought they bore most unduly upon
the agricultural interest. Mr. Macuaghten had touched upon
the matter, and it was a serious consideration whether the
rates should be charged in full upon one description of
property and not upon another. Of course it was a great
thing to get a reduction from Parliament, and especially at
times like the present, but in previous years certain reductions
had been made in taxation, and he did hope that when more
prosperous times arrived in the country they would be able to
impress upon the Government that some alleviation should be
made in those burdens which so heavily pressed on the
agricultural interest. Of course that could not be done by the
county members alone, and they could not command success
unless they were supported by the members from towns. It

Agricultural Table Talk. was only by appealing for right and justice before all the com

At the annual dinner of the Botley and South Hants Farmers' Club on Mouday week, Mr. W. W. B. Beach, M.P., said:

There was no doubt agriculturists had passed through a period of great trial and difficulty, and in some sense they were in a state of transition, because there was no certainty about agriculture at the present time. They did not know, even if they had a good season next year, what might be the prospects of the agriculturist then. They could not tell what effect the corn import from the United States might have. Perhaps next year the elements might not be so propitious in the west of America; they might have a great deal of rain, or a preponderance of grasshoppers, which he was told were very prolific some years, and were also a great pest and very destructive. Therefore they could not tell, supposing they had a good crop at bome and a good crop in America what would be the price of wheat or what would be the prospects of agriculture. These were considerations which the agriculturist had to watch and bear in mind at the present day Corn was now imported into this country at a price at which it could not be grown in England at a profit, and therefore the prospects of arable farms in this country were most gloomy, but still it was one of those questions which were uncertain and could not be determined upon at the present moment. The whole of the press had lately been turning their attention to agriculture, and no doubt they had been anxious, because the enormous quantity less of corn grown had an effect upon our revenue. The balance of trade had been against us for some time. Our imports were exceeding our exports, while in Germany their exports were exceeding their imports. And what was the meaning of all this? Why that the balance would have to be paid with gold, which only meant ruin in the long run, and therefore it was a consideration with regard to the country at large whether they would be able to stand these enormous imports without doing something to battle against them with their imports, and therefore it was a consideration which should impress itself upon all practical

munities of England that equal measures were dealt out. It was not by the wrongs of one class being urged by those who represented that class alone that their grievances were met, but it was by trying to get others to sympathise and act with


FAT BEAUTIES.-The prevalent leanness of limbs which characterises the Moorish race (collectively) has peradventure lead them to consider that loveliness and embonpoint are identical. Feminine beauty in Morocco, far from being merely skin-deep, is measured by the camel-load; and, fat being more esteemed than features, the homeliest damsel of twenty stone is more admired than one hundredweight of what would seem, to the eve of Europe, perfect prettiness. As wives therefore valued like whales-for their blubber-the Moorish belle seeks from diet the charm denied to her by Nature. Taking as her model the Hottentot Venus, Fatima undergoes-especially during betrothal - a process of cramming very similar to the mode of fattening Strasburg geese. After every meal she moulds with her fingers the crumb of new bread-sometimes mixed with fenugreek-into pellets (called harrable) of the shape and size of Eley's No. 12 central-fire cartridge. This ammunition is rammed down her gullet with the aid of green tea or other beverages; and by stuffing down from fifty to one hundred of these boluses daily for about a month, the fair martyr to Moorish materialism acquires a breadth of body and a mamnioth-like massiveness of limbs which render locomotion a vanity, and getting up stairs a vexation of spirit. With irrepressible mirth I have watched a Jewish matron (five feet by four feet) making the ascent to the upper story of her house, propelled a tergo by three perepiring Israelites. Beneath her elephantine tread earth trembled, ceilings creaked, and chair, not expressly manufactured to sustain her "too solid flesh," shrivelled suddenly, as if smitten by a thunderbolt, into infinitesimal chips!Tinsley's Magzine

Chambers of Agriculture.


A Council meeting of this Chamber was held on Wednesday, Nov. 10, at the Society of Arts, Adelphi, the Marquis of Huntly presiding.

Mr. PHIPPS, M P., as Chairman of the Education Committee, presented its Report, which, on the motion of the hon. gentleman, seconded by Mr. CALDECOTT, was adopted.

In accordance with a suggestion from Mr. CLAY (the Treasurer), it was decided that in future the committee meetings should be held at the offices of the Chamber in Arundel Street.

Mr. STARTIN, in the absence of the Chairman of the Local Taxation Committee (Mr. Pell, M.P.), moved the adoption of the Report of that committee laid before the previous meeting, and Mr. D. LONG having seconded the motion, it was adopted.

Mr. T. BELL, in the absence of the chairman (Mr. Read), read the Report of the Committee on Weights and Measures. In the discussion it raised, Mr. MARSHALL HEANLEY moved "That the present system of taking the corn returns iz most unsatisfactory and unjust to the grower, tithe payer, and receiver; that the tithe rent-charge should tor the future be fixed at the sum of £100 on the tithe commutation; and that if it be found expedient to take the corn returns, they should be taken from the grower and not from the buyer"

Mr. JOSEPH SMITH (Chairman of the York Chamber), having seconded the motion, several gentlemen objected to the proposal as being premature, and ultimately, at the suggestion of the CHAIRMAN, the following resolution was, on the motion of Mr. CALDECOTT, seconded by Mr. ADKINS, adopted unanimously:-That this Council desires to record its conviction that the corn returns as now collected are altogether misleading and incorrect, and that an inquiry by a Select Committee should be made immediately after the assembling of Parliament."

At the close of the proceedings, Mr. ADKINS proposed a vote of thanks to the chairman, observing that he was quite Bare all who had attended the committee meetings would bear testimony to the great kindness and business tact which he had brought to bear on the proceedings (cheers).

Mr. TRASK having seconded the motion, it was put and carried by acc amation, and the noble marquis briefly returned thanks.

The annual meeting of the Chamber immediately followed. Mr. T. WILLSON, as auditor, presented the balance-sheet, showing that the income of the year, including the balance of £31 brought forward, was £537 10s. 7d., and that the balance then in hand was £161 10s. 4d., Mr. Willson adding that the Chamber was financially in a far better position than it had ever been before.

A conversation was introduced by Mr. HERMAN BIDDELL in reference to the item of £50 for reporting. That gentleman contended that it was unfair to other agricultural papers that a subsidy of that amount should virtually be paid to the proprietor of the Chamber of Agriculture Journal, especially as the meetings of the Chamber were properly reported by the older journals; and he ultimately moved a resolution to the effect that the subsidy should be discontinued. Mr. EVERETT seconded this proposal, and after a warm discussion it was put and negatived by a large majority.

The Annual Report of the Council, recapitulating the proceedings of the year, having been taken as read,

The CHAIRMAN said-Gentlemen, I believe it is customary for him who has the honour of being the Chairman of this Chamber to address a few words to you on qutting his office. I hope I shall not be designated, to use some expressions of Lord Salisbury the other day, as "one of those friends of the agricultural interest who take advantage of its misfortunes to give it a great deal of voluminous advice," or as "one who regards agricultural distress as a means of adding arguments in support of particular political views and cro chets" (Hear). I regret that during my year of office such distress should have hung over the agricultural interest. The distress 18, in my opinion, far greater than the majority of people in these islands imagine, more serious, more vital to the true interests of the country, and to a class which has been hitherto part

of the backbone of England. Last March I urged the Goverument to institute an inquiry into the state of the country as regards agricultural depression. I have nothing to withdraw from what I then said, but only to add that matters are far worse now than they were then (Hear, hear). Istated in the House of Lords that I knew of farms within a few miles of large central towns that were let at rents which did not pay the interest on the ou lay that had been incurred upon them in buildings, roads, fencing, draining, &c., and the rates leviable on the land. I can now say that many farms-thousands of acres in the Midland counties, are vacant, and any one can have them, on undertaking to pay the rates for two or three years' rent-free. I don't know under which system of tenure the farmer is worse off, under lease or yearly agreements; but apparently, whatever sys'em has been in force, in all parts of the country, with but few exceptions, the tenants are nearly ruined, and remain on the land simply waiting to see if matters will improve, and preserved, perhaps, by the assistance which their landlords are able to give them. Under these

circumstances it is almost ridiculous to hear of returns of 10 per cent., or general remissions of this sort upon an equal scale, as every case must be dissimilar; and it seems that the time has arrived when the revaluation of land and very large reductions in rent must take place at once (Hear, hear) Whatever the present tenure or condition was under which the tenaut may hold, I fancy that fresh bargains in almost every instance will have to be made between him and his landlord. I state this as evidence of the wide-spread nature of the distress. By the efforts we made I think we greatly assisted Mr. Chaplin in obtaining the appointment of the Royal Commission to inquire into agricultural depression. There was an almost unanimous opinion amongst agriculturists in favour of its appointment. This Chamber has shown in many ways its anxiety to support and assist the inquiry in every way. I may, perhaps, express my disappoint uent that the Commission has commenced its labours in apparently so laborious and elaborate a manner, and my regret that its sittings were not continued throughout the recess; and I would urge upon all agriculturis's the desirability of expediting the inquiry in every way in their power (Hear, hear). Surely numerous points which the Commission reserved for their own consideration might have been proceeded with by its members without waiting for the Reports of the Assistant Commis sioners. The great thing will be to obtain an early Report, that is to arrive at some result as soon as possible (Hear, hear). But we must not allow the great and crying demands of agriculturists to hang upon the result of the Commission's labours. To us already these demands and questions are crying for solution, and we must th erefore press them continuously upon the attention of the public and Parliament, I will touch but briefly upon the various points which the Chamber and the whole agricultural interest must turn to in reviewing their present position. It is absurd for us to look to Protection of our interests. We are a minority of millions benefited by land in England against (roughly speaking) 26 millions having no interest in it. We can only demand fair play, and no favour, alongside of al commercial interests and classes in the country. I would first urge you to confique your efforts towards the reform of local taxation. There are many people who say that most of the burdens upon land having been always borne by it, should remain as an hereditary debt; but they forget that wh en those burde. ■ were imposed land was protected by a tax upon imports, and that several new taxes, such as those for education and highways, have been imposed lately; and these are probably te most unjust and unequal of what I may call the hereditary but unjust taxes. I should like to mention the poor-law. Verily it is hard that so numerous a body of persons, with large incomes in this country, should pay but little towards the relief of the poor. Why should not the poor-rate be levied in the same way as it is done in parts of Scotland, under the graded system, that is, by classification of properties? Then, again, take the police rate. Why should not persons of large income pay equally with those connected with the land (or owners and occupiers of the soil), towards the maintenance of the police I would urge you to consider the desirability of insisting that the police force ehould be maintained entirely out of the Imperial exchequer. There is another rate affecting agricultural interests very largely which I must allude to, especially after the most interesting Report of your Committee bearing upon it. The tithes of England are struck upon the

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cern returns. It is surprising that these have ri en 11 per cent. | in value. Now I do not condenin tithes, but I condemn the system under which the corn returns are fixed, and thereby the tithes are levied; and I am astonished that any Govern ment Department should have undertaken to de'end their accuracy. One of the great mischiefs they create is that en inent statisticians and politicians are led to make deductions from these returns; and their arguments are, therefore, as fallacious and injurious as their suggested remedies are erroneous (Hear, hear). But I pass from these hereditary taxes to the newly appointed ones. His lordship then entered into other questions, most of which had been discus-ed at meetings of the Council: He pointed to the fact that in many towns whilst corn was sold by the measure, in others it was sold by weight. He also referred to the great burden laid upon the agriculturist by the education rate, and he asked why they should be called upon to bear so unequal a charge, which was equal to an income tax of 11d. in the pound, on the farmer. If the agriculturist were to pay so much, surely schools of agriculture ought to be promoted throughout the country. After referring to the highway rate, he advocated the institution of the appointment of a boundary commission. He strongly urged upon the Legislature simplification in the transfer of land, but to carry this into effect it would, he observed, be necessary to obtain the assistance of the lawyers to sweep away the legal cobwebs which surrounded this question. He also referred to the advantage given by the railway companies to foreign over kome produce. Foreign corn and timber from Norway were carried over the lines of English railways at a much less rate than English timber and corn; whilst English butter was charged ten times as much as French butter. In concluding his lordship said-I am not one of those who believe that British agriculture is dead-(Hear, hear)-and although the difficulties surrounding it are enormous and formidable—I believe they can be surmounted, and the business still made a flourishing one. To achieve success, however, every effort must be made. The weak men have already gone to the wall, and it remains for the strong men to fight the battle on behalf of their trade and calling. The programme before you and the campaign to be undertaken are no light matters. I cannot tell what political party will be foremost in the race. places Bri ish agriculture again not only in a successful position, but in the very first position in the commercial contest. I rejice in taking leave of you at the termination of my year of office, that this Chamber is in a prosperous position, and that, di tinctly eschewing party politics, it devotes itself harmoniously to further the best interests of every branch of British agriculture (cheers).


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A meeting of the Scottish Chamber of Agriculture was held on Wednesday, December 10th, at Edinburgh, in the Royal Hotel. Mr. Bethune, of Blebo, one of the vicepresidents, occupied the chair.

The CHAIRMAN called on Mr. John M'Laren, advocate, to read a paper on the Land Laws-a subject, he said, interesting to everyone, whether owners, occupiers, or the public.

After some preliminary remarks, Mr. M'Laren, said :— No treatment of the land question can be regarded as satisfactory which does not deal with the two subjects of tenure or property in laud, and the law of laudlord and tenant. I believe it is the wish of the Scotch farmers that the Land Laws in both branches should be made to conform to the principles of political economy. I, therefore, venture to euggest for your consideration two principles which ought to


guide our inquiries. The first is that free scope should be given to the natural forces which tend to the accumulation and to the dispersion of land, avoiding all direct legislative interference with the action of these forces. My second principle, or motive of legislation, is the removal of the existing obstacles to free contract between landlord and tenant, and the placing the parties as far as possible in a position of such independence that they can contract on equal terms. In forming an opinion as to the legislative reforms which are necessary in the laws relating to tenure and occupation of land, your conclusions are most likely to be well founded if they are based on a fair consideration of the causes of the existing agricultural depression, and the disadvantages to which the occupier of land is exposed in this as compared with other countries. Yon have been told by gentlemen who represent one section of the landed interest, and who, I do not doubt, have a real sympathy with the farmer, that agricultural depression is simply a phase of that general depression under which agriculture must suffer in common with other branches of industry. This, if true at all, is obviously a very partial and incomplete statement of the question. Everyone knows that the conditions of prosperity are very different in an agricultural community from those which affect manufactures, and it is evident that some at least of the causes which have affected trade in the mining and manufacturing districts have no influence whatever on agricultural industry. In a country like ours, where an abundant supply of coal and iron exists, may be affirmed that there is really no physical limit to the production of manufactured goods. Hence there is a constant tendency to work up to the extreme limits of the possible demand for every kind of manufactured product. When, however, from a change of circumstances, it may be in distant parts of the world, there resu'ts a diminished demand for our products, we are at once confronted with all the difficulties incident to over-production, diminished wazes to the workmen, excessive competition, and loss of capital to the employer. In the profession of agriculture, as carried on in this country, I need hardly say over-production is altogether out of the question. There is and can be no competition affecting priees amongst the home growers of grain or wool, simply because their unitel produce under the most perfect farming which the world has seen is wholly insufficient to supply the home market. The competition which has brought down the price of corn, cattle, and dairy produce is necessarily and exclusively a competition with a fore ga producer, who is en bled by the ad antages of cheap land and more favourable economic conditions to unde sell the British producer in his own market, and to make a fair profit after providing for the cost of railway carriage and freight to this country. This competition is obviously an element of a permanent nature, and has no hing to do with the variations of supply and demand which in other industries mainly affect prices. I believe the distinction is perfectly appreciated by our master manufacturers and workmen. They are not asking the Government to do anything for them, unless, perhaps, not to stand between them and the sun, because they know that the causes which affect commercial prosperity, although not altogether uninfluencel by wise or unwise government, are certainly not remediable by Act of Parliament. Parliament has already done all that it can do for commerce by removing the restrictions which interfere with the free interchange of commodities. But this cannot be said with regard to agriculture, and, in the opinion of a powerful section of the agriculturists of this country, the high cost of production which makes it so difficult to compete with the American producer is aggravated by laws which tend to raise land beyond its natural price, and to impede the economical application of capital to its improvement. No argument of mine is needed, in addressing Scotch agriculturists, to prove that the removal of those obstacles is matter of primary and paramount impor tance to your great industrial interest: indeed, it is not too mach to say that it is a question involving the very subsistence of the agricultural population, ani with it of our national prosperity. It is true that we cannot imitate the conditions of agricultural industry in America, in so far as these are due to natural causes, to abundance of land and fertility of soil. But I would venture to point out that the agriculturist of France is in no better position than you are, in regard to the possession of an abundant and unexhausted oil. I', then, the French farmer is able to make a fair profit in the home

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