Images de page
[graphic][merged small]

A Sussex prize cow: the property of James Braby, Esq. Maybanks Rudgwick. Sussex

London Published by Rogerson & Turford,265. Strand, 1880.

[blocks in formation]


Bouncer (1472) calved March, 1872, was bred by Mr. Braby, got by Jupiter (170), dam Beauty (1151) by Blackstone (680). She is a level, nicely proportioned cow, with length, depth and quality, and has had five calves. But what does Anthony Lumpkin, Esquire, say of her? "Ah! could you but see Bouncer of these parts, you might then talk of beauty. Ecod! she has two eyes as black as sloes, and cheeks as broad and red as a pulpit cushion. She'd make two of she."

"As for my Cousin Neville, I renounce her,

Off-in a crack-I'll carry big Bett Bouncer." Bouncer made her first appearance, not on the stage, but in the show-yard in 1877, at the centenary meeting of the Bath and West of England Society at Bath, where she was awarded the

.second honours; and at the Society's meeting at Oxford in 1878, was again placed second in her class. In the same year she won the first prizes at the Royal Counties Show, Southampton, the Royal Agricultural Show at Bristol; Slinfold, and Tunbridge Wells Show; and when eight years old, and soon after calving, the first prize and the champion prize as the best female of the Sussex breed at the Royal International Show at Kilburn. The breed has been much improved in the last twenty years, which has frequently been proclaimed in the columns of the Mark Lane Express and the pages of this Magazine. The principal exhibitors of Sussex cattle are Messrs. Agate, Child, Duke, Heasman, Huth, Stanford, Vickress, and Whitehead.


We congratulate the members of the Farmers' Alliance upon having agreed to add the reform of the laws affecting the ownership and transfer of land to their list of objects. When their programme was first published, we pointed out the inconsistency of their professing to be agricultural reformers and neglecting to include among their objects the most important reform of all. The majority of the Committee, and probably the majority of the members also, were from the first in favour of including that object; but, from what we have always considered a mistaken concession to the wishes of the minority, the object was left out of the original programme. At the general meeting of members, held on Wednesday Dec. 10th, there was some opposition to the addition of the new object; but the grounds of that opposition were not such as to command the respect of thoughtful and consistent agricultural reformers who have the courage of their opinions. It was argued that many farmers were averse to meddling with what they regarded as a landlords' or a national question, and not one affecting their OLD SERIES.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

own interests materially. This was a plea to give way to prejudice, or mistaken ideas, or both. It is as essential to the prosperity of agriculture that the owners of land should be in a position to carry out all profitable landlords' improvements as it is that the occupiers should be able, without unfair risk, to expend their capital in tenants' improvements. In spite of what has recently been said by the Duke of Richmond and Lord Salisbury, nothing is more certain than that the tendency of limited ownership is to render landlords unable or unwilling to do their duty by their estates. It is idle to argue that some of the large entailed estates are the best managed. They may be so; but it is in spite of, and not because of, the hindrances imposed by limited ownership. As nearly all the large estates are entailed and settled, there is no opportunity for fairly comparing them with other large estates which are held by what are called "absolute' owners. A limited owner cannot improve with out disadvantage to himself and to his younger children. If, in spite of this disadvantage

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

wealthy owners of settled estates do their duty by their land, it is all the more to their credit; but it does not show either that the system under which they hold their estates is harmless, or even that they would not be better landlords than they are if they were owners in fee instead of owners for life. It is in cases in which limited owners are impoverished by the encumbrances which exist under a system of settlement that the intrinsic evil of the system is seen. That such cases are very numerous everyone knows. Mr. Fowler, in his speech on Dec. 10, cited two cases that he was personally acquainted with, in which the ostensible owners of extensive estates, with large rent-rolls, are in reality obtaining only a paltry income from the land, not sufficient to keep their households in bread and meat alone. Such instances of the impoverishing effect of entail and settlement may be exceptional; but others, less striking, serve equally well to prove the argument we wish to enforce. We need not quote Lord Carington's case, as that has already been widely noticed. We have a more recent case in point in that of Lord Ailesbury, who, in addressing his tenants on Dec. 10, apologised for not doing more for them than he was doing by saying that his interest in his estate, as they all knew, was only a life interest, and he must therefore think of the interests of others. Every farmer who has been about the country knows that it is quite common for this reason to be given to excuse landlords from the performance of what are their duties as much as farming in "a husband-like manner" is the duty of tenants. Tenants holding under limited owners of either small or encumbered estates know perfectly well that it is useless to ask for money for permanent improvements. "He has only a life interest in the estate, you know," is quite a common answer given to anyone who asks why farm building or cottages are in a dilapidated condition, or why wet land is not drained. "Can I have some draining tiles for draining the farm"? asked an improving tenant of the agent. "Certainly," was the reply; "but there is one thing you must bear in mind-you will have to pay for them yourself." This was on a settled estate, and it is an illustration of a very common state of things where life owners have barely enough income to support the false position which they have to maintain. In such instances the transference of ownership into the hands of wealthy men could not fail to be generally advantageous to the tenants. It is pleaded that rents are lowest on the large entailed estates; but it is absurd to suppose that rents are low because the landlords are life-owners only, unless the land is really worth less to hire because such owners cannot do their duty by it. There are limited owners who are good landlords, and their tenants would have reason to dread a change of ownership. But it is precisely in such cases that no change would be brought about by abolishing the laws of entail and settlement. Owners who are in a position to so treat their tenants that the latter do not feel the evils of limited ownership are not the landlords who would be tempted to sell their estates if we had free trade in land. It is only where owners are embarrassed, and therefore anable to be good landlords, that the abolition of

life-ownership would make a change. Thus it is clear that the fears of tenants who are well treated on large settled estates are groundless. The operation of the reform which we advocate would only remove, as landlords, those who are really cumberers of the soil, or put them-and it would do this instead of removing them in many cases-into a position for being improvers instead.

The objection raised by some of those who opposed the addition of the new object, to the effect that it was a party question, is too weak to deserve much attention. The reform of the laws affecting the ownership and transfer of land cannot be intrinsically a party question, and the fact that more men of one party than of the other favour it does not make it such. As a matter of fact, many Conservatives, like Lord Randolph Churchill, are advocates of the reform. It is true that amongst politicians there are more Liberals than Conservatives in favour of free trade in land; but the Farmers' Alliance would be in a queer position if it were debarred from taking up any questions but those in which the views of Liberals and Conservatives are exactly, or even approximately, balanced. Would Mr. Crouch and his friends admit that the prevention of cattle disease would be an improper object for the Farmers' Alliance to include in its programme, because Conservatives have given more support to measures for securing partial immunity to our herds and flocks from foreign infection than Liberals have given? We feel sure they would not take up so absurd a position. Yet the prevention of cattle disease is quite as much a party question as the reform of the Land Laws is. The fact is, the objection is a party one-not the object.

If there is no reason for refraining from pursuing a legitimate purpose on the ground that the majority of one political party are opposed to it, so there is no sufficient objection to pursuing it in the plea that many farmers are not sufficiently advanced to uphold it. While desiring to treat with all due respect the views of such intelligent members as Mr. Everett and Mr. Henderson, when they urge that it is best to avoid dealing with questions that will cause division amongst those who have joined or might be induced to join the Alliance, we must nevertheless conclude that their argument is insufficient. The members of the Alliance include some of the most intelligent farmers in the country, and they should aspire to lead, as well as to represent, their fellow farmers. There is a great deal in consistency; and, as Mr. Lewis in his very able speech said, for the members of the Farmers' Alliance to act the role of agricultural reformers without dealing with the laws which affect the ownership and transfer of land, would be like attempting to act the play of Hamlet with the part of Hamlet left out. Such a course of action would be all the more indefensible because many large landowners and leading politicians have recently proclaimed themselves as advocates of the reform of these mischievous laws, and for the Alliance to lag behind would be to exhibit a timidity and backwardness that would be quite out of character with its thoroughness in other respects. We rejoice then

928. Aaron Rogers, of The Rodd, Kington, Herefordshire, "GRATEFUL,"

6 y. I w. 1 d. old, bred by Exhibitor; s. Sir Thomas (2228), d. Lady Lizzie by Jupiter (3191), g. d. Lady

« PrécédentContinuer »