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lish opinion is in favor of large farms; on the Continent the weight of authority seems to be on the other side. Professor Rau, of Heidelberg, the author of one of the most comprehensive and elaborate of extant treatises on political economy, and who has that large acquaintance with facts and authorities on his own subject, which generally characterizes his countrymen, lays it down as a settled truth, that small or moderate-sized farms yield not only a larger gross, but a larger net produce; though, he adds, it is desirable there should be some great proprietors, to lead the way in new improvements. The most apparently impartial and discriminating judgment that I have met with is that of M. Passy, who (always speaking with reference to net produce) gives his verdict in favor of large farms for grain and forage; but, for the kinds of culture which require much labor and attention, places the advantage wholly on the side of small cultivation; including in this description, not only the vine and the olive, where a considerable amount of care and labor must be bestowed on each individual plant, but also roots, leguminous plants, and those which furnish the materials of manufactures. The small size, and consequent multiplication, of farms, according to all authorities, are extremely favorable to the abundance of many minor products of agriculture.f.
It is evident that every laborer who extracts from the land more than his own food, and that of any family he may have, increases the means of supporting a non-agricultural population. Even if his surplus is no more than
* See pp. 352 and 335 of a French translation published at Brussels in 1839, by M. Fred. de Kemmeter, of Ghent.
7 “Dans le département du Nord,” says M. Passy, "une ferme de 20 hectares recueille en veaux, laitage, pufs, et volailles, parfois pour un millier de francs dans l'année; et, les frais défalqués, c'est l'équivalent d'une addition au produit net de 15 à 20 francs par hectare.” Des Systèmes de Culture, p. 114.
enough to buy clothes for him, the laborers who make the clothes are a non-agricultural population, enabled to exist by food which he produces. Every agricultural family, therefore, which produces it own necessaries, adds to the net produce of agriculture; and so does every person born on the land, who, by employing himself on it, adds more to its gross produce than the mere food which he eats. It is questionable whether, even in the most subdivided districts of Europe which are cultivated by the proprietors, the multiplication of hands on the soil has approached, or tends to approach, within a great distance of this limit. In France, although the sub-division is confessedly too great, there is proof positive that it is far from having reached the point at which it would begin to diminish the power of supporting a non-agricultural population. This is demonstrated by the great increase of the towns; which have of late increased in a much greater ratio than the population generally, showing (unless the condition of the town laborers is becoming rapidly deteriorated, which there is no reason to believe) that even by the unfair and inapplicable test of proportions, the productiveness of agriculture must be on the increase. This, too, concurrently with the amplest evidence that in the more improved districts of France, and in some which until lately were among the unimproved, there is a considerably increased consumption of country produce by the country population itself.
In the present chapter we do not enter on the question of great and small cultivation in any other respect than as a question of production, and of the efficiency of labor. We shall return to it hereafter as affecting the distribution of the produce, and the physical and social well-being of the cultivators themselves; in which aspects it deserves, and requires, a still more particular examination.
OF THE LAW OF THE INCREASE OF LABOR..
§ 1. We have now successively considered each of the agents or conditions of production, and of the means by which the efficacy of these various agents is promoted. In order to come to an end of the questions which relate exclusively to production, one more, of primary importance, remains.
Production is not a fixed but an increasing thing. When not kept back by bad institutions, or a low state of the arts of life, the produce of industry has usually tended to increase ; stimulated not only by the desire of the producers to augment their means of consumption, but by the increasing number of the consumers. Nothing in political economy can be of more importance than to ascertain the law of this increase of production; the conditions to which it is subject; whether it has practically any limits, and what these are. There is also no subject in political economy which is popularly less understood, or on which the errors committed are of a character to produce, and do produce, greater mischief.
We have seen that the essential requisites of production are three-labor, capital, and natural agents; the term capital including all external and physical requisites which are products of labor, the term natural agents all those which are not. But among natural agents we need not take into account those which, existing in unlimited quantity being incapable of appropriation, and never altering in their qualities, are always ready to lend an equal degree of assistance to production, whatever may be its extent; as air and the light of the sun. Being now about to consider the impediments to production, not the facilities for it, we need advert to no other natural agents than those which are liable to be deficient either in quantity or in productive power. These may be all represented by the term land. Land in the narrowest acceptation, as the source of agricultural produce, is the chief of them; and if we extend the term to mines and fisheries—to what is found in the earth itself, or in the waters which partly cover it, as well as to what is grown or fed on its surface, it embraces everything with which we need at present concern ourselves.
We may say, then, without a greater stretch of language than under the necessary explanations is permissible, that the requisites of production are labor, capital, and land. The increase of production, therefore, depends on the properties of these elements. It is a result of the increase either of the elements themselves, or of their productiveness. The law of increase of production must be a consequence of the laws of these elements; the limits to the increase of production must be the limits, whatever they are, set by those laws. We proceed to consider the three elements successively, with reference to this effect; or in other words the law of the increase of production, viewed in respect of its dependence, first on labor, secondly on capital, and lastly on land.
$ 2. The increase of labor is the increase of mankind; of population. On this subject the discussions excited by Mr. Malthus' Essay, have made the truth, although by no means universally admitted, yet so fully known, that a briefer examination of the question than would otherwise have been necessary, will probably on the present occasion suffice.
The power of multiplication inherent in all organic life may be regarded as infinite. There is no one species of vegetable or animal, which, if the earth were entirely abandoned to it, and to the things on which it feeds, would not in a small number of years overspread every region of the globe of which the climate was compatible with its existence. The degree of possible rapidity is different in different orders of beings; but in all it is sufficient, for the earth to be very speedily filled up. There are species of vegetables of which a single plant will produce in one year the germs of a thousand : if only two come to maturity, in fourteen years the two will have multiplied to sixteen thousand and more. Many animals have the power of quadrupling their numbers in a single year; if they only do as much in half a century, ten thousand will have swelled within two centuries to upwards of two millions and a half. The capacity of increase is necessarily in a geometrical progression ; the numerical ratio alone is different.
To this property of organized beings, the human species forms no exception. Its power of increase is indefinite, and the actual multiplication would be extraordinarily rapid, if that power were exercised to the utmost. It never is exercised to the utmost, and yet, in the most favorable circumstances known to exist, which are those of a fertile region colonized from an industrious and civilized community, population has continued, for several generations, independently of fresh immigration, to double itself in not much more than twenty years. That there is a capacity of multiplication in the human species beyond even this, is evident if we consider how great is the ordinary number of children to a family where the climate is good and early marriages usual ; and how small a proportion of them die before the age of maturity, in the present state of hygienic knowledge, where the locality is healthy, and the family adequately provided with the means of a living. It is a very low estuuate of the capacity of increase, if we only assume,