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granted to the slave-owners for its abolition was not more, perhaps even less,1 than an equivalent for their loss.

More needs not be said here on a cause so completely judged and decided as that of slavery. 2 Its demerits are no longer a question requiring argument; though the temper of mind manifested by the larger part of the influential classes in Great Britain respecting the struggle in America, shows how grievously the feelings of the present generation [1865] of Englishmen, on this subject, had fallen behind the positive acts of the generation which preceded them. That the sons of the deliverers of the West Indian Negroes should expect with complacency, and encourage by their sympathies, the establishment of a great and powerful military commonwealth, pledged by its principles and driven by its strongest interests to be the armed propagator of slavery through every region of the earth into which its power could penetrate, discloses a mental state in the leading portion of our higher and middle classes which it is melancholy to see, and will be a lasting blot in English history. Fortunately they stopped short of actually aiding, otherwise than by words, the nefarious enterprise to which they were not ashamed of wishing success; and at the expense of the best blood of the Free States, but to their immeasurable elevation in mental and moral worth,

1 [" In all probability less," until the 5th ed. (1862).]

2 [The rest of the paragraph as here found was written for the 6th ed. (1865). The original (1848) ran thus: "It will be curious to see how long the other nations possessing slave colonies will be content to remain behind England in a matter of such concernment both to justice, which decidedly is not at present a fashionable virtue, and to philanthropy, which certainly is so. Europe is far more inexcusable than America in tolerating an enormity, of which she could rid herself with so much greater case. I speak of negro-slavery, not of the servage of the Slavonic nations, who have not yet advanced beyond a state of civilization corresponding to the age of villenage in Western Europe, and can only be expected to emerge from it in the same gradual manner, however much accelerated by the salutary influence of the ideas of more advanced countries."

To this, in the 2nd ed. (1849) was added the note : " Denmark has the honour of being the first Continental nation which followed the example of England; and the emancipation of the slaves was one of the earliest acts of the French Provisional Government. Still more recently, the progress of the American mind towards a determination to rid itself of this odious stain has been manifested by very gratifying symptoms."

In the 3rd ed. (1852) the latter part of the reference to the Slavonic nations was made to read : " who, to all appearance, will be indebted for their liberation from this great evil to the influence of the ideas of the more advanced countries, rather than to the rapidity of their own progress in improvement." In the note, "heroic and calumniated" was inserted before "French Provisional Government." In the 5th ed. (1862) the second sentence of the note was replaced by "The Dutch Government is now seriously engaged in the same beneficent enterprise."]

the curse of slavery has been cast out from the great American republic, to find its last temporary refuge in Brazil and Cuba. No European country, except Spain alone, any longer participates in the enormity. Even serfage has now ceased to have a legal existence in Europe. Denmark has the honour of being the first Continental nation which imitated England in liberating its colonial slaves; and the abolition of slavery was one of the earliest acts of the heroic and calumniated Provisional Government of France. The Dutch Government was not long behind, and its colonies and dependencies are now, I believe without exception, free from actual slavery, though forced labour for the public authorities is still [1865] a recognised institution in Java, soon, we may hope, to be exchanged for complete personal freedom.

CHAPTER VI

OF PEASANT PROPRIETORS

§ 1. In the regime of peasant properties, as in that of slavery, the whole produce belongs to a single owner, and the distinction of rent, profits, and wages, does not exist. In all other respects, the two states of society are the extreme opposites of each other. The one is the state of greatest oppression and degradation to the labouring class. The other is that in which they are the most uncontrolled arbiters of their own lot.

The advantage, however, of small properties in land, is one of the most disputed questions in the range of political economy. On the Continent, though there are some dissentients from the prevailing opinion, the benefit of having a numerous proprietary population exists in the minds of most people in the form of an axiom. But English authorities are either unaware of the judgment of Continental agriculturists, or are content to put it aside, on the plea of their having no experience of large properties in favourable circumstances: the advantage of large properties being only felt where there are also large farms ;, and as this, in arable districts, implies a greater accumulation of capital than usually exists on the Continent, the great Continental estates, except in the case of grazing farms, are mostly let out for cultivation in small portions. There is some truth in this; but the argument admits of being retorted; for if the Continent knows little, by experience, of cultivation on a large scale and by large capital, the generality of English writers are no better acquainted practically with peasant proprietors, and have almost always the most erroneous ideas of their social condition and mode of life. Yet the old traditions even of England are on the same side with the general opinion of the Continent. The "yeomanry" who were vaunted as the glory of England while they existed, and have been so much mourned over since they disappeared, were either small proprietors or small farmers, and if they were mostly the last, the character they bore for sturdy independence is the more noticeable. There is a part of England, unfortunately a very small part, where peasant proprietors are still [1848] common; for such are the "statesmen" of Cumberland and Westmoreland, though they pay, I believe, generally if not universally, certain customary dues, which, being fixed, no more affect their character of proprietor, than the land-tax does. There is but one voice, among those acquainted with the country, on the admirable effects of this tenure of land in those counties. No other agricultural population in England could have furnished the originals of Wordsworth's peasantry.*

The general system, however, of English cultivation, affording no experience to render the nature and operation of peasant properties familiar, and Englishmen being in general profoundly ignorant of the agricultural economy of other countries, the very idea of peasant proprietors is strange to the English mind, and does not easily find access to it. Even the forms of language stand in the way: the familiar designation for owners of land being "landlords," a term to which " tenants " is always understood as a correlative. When, at the time of the famine, the suggestion of peasant properties as a means of Irish improvement found its way into parliamentary and newspaper discussions, there were writers of

* In Mr. Wordsworth's little descriptive work on the scenery of the Lakes, he speaks of the upper part of the dales as having been for centuries "a perfect republic of shepherds and agriculturists, proprietors, for the most part, of the lands which they occupied and cultivated. The plough of each man was confined to the maintenance of his own family, or to the occasional accommodation of his neighbour. Two or three cows furnished each family with milk and cheese. The chapel was the only edifice that presided over these dwellings, the supreme head of this pure commonwealth; the members of which existed in the midst of a powerful empire, like an ideal society, or an organized community, whose constitution had been imposed and regulated by the mountains which protected it. Neither high-born nobleman, knight, nor esquire was here; but many of these humble sons of the hills had a consciousness that the land which they walked over and tilled had for more than five hundred years been possessed by men of their name and blood . . . Corn was grown in these vales sufficient upon each estate to furnish bread for each family, no more. The storms and moisture of the climate induced them to sprinkle their upland property with outhouses of native stone, as places of shelter for their sheep, where in tempestuous weather, food was distributed to them. Every family spun from its own flock the wool with which it was clothed; a weaver was here and there found among them, and the rest of their wants was supplied by the produce of the yarn, which they carded and spun in their own houses, and carried to market either under their arms or more frequently on packhorses, a small train taking their way weekly down the valley, or over the mountains, to the most commodious town."—A Description of the Scenery of the Lakes in the North of England, 3rd edit. pp. 50 to 53 and 63 to 65.

pretension to whom the word "proprietor" was so far from conveying any distinct idea, that they mistook the small holdings of Irish cottier tenants for peasant properties. The subject being so little understood, I think it important, before entering into the theory of it, to do something towards showing how the case stands as to matter of fact; by exhibiting, at greater length than would otherwise be admissible, some of the testimony which exists respecting the state of cultivation, and the comfort and happiness of the cultivators, in those countries and parts of countries, in which the greater part of the land has neither landlord nor farmer, other than the labourer who tills the soil.

§ 2. I lay no stress on the condition of North America, where, as is well known, the land, except in the former Slave States,1 is almost universally owned by the same person who holds the plough. A country combining the natural fertility of America with the knowledge and arts of modern Europe, is so peculiarly circumstanced, that scarcely anything, except insecurity of property or a tyrannical government, could materially impair the prosperity of the industrious classes. I might, with Sismondi, insist more strongly on the case of ancient Italy, especially Latium, that Campagna which then swarmed with inhabitants in the very regions which under a contrary regime have become uninhabitable from malaria. But I prefer taking the evidence of the same writer on things known to him by personal observation.

"It is especially Switzerland," says M. de Sismondi, "which should be traversed and studied to judge of the happiness of peasant proprietors. It is from Switzerland we learn that agriculture prac-.tised by the very persons who enjoy its fruits, suffices to procure great comfort for a very numerous population; a great independence of character, arising from independence of position; a great commerce of consumption, the result of the easy circumstances of all the inhabitants, even in a country whose climate is rude, whose soil is but moderately fertile, and where late frosts and inconstancy of seasons often blight the hopes of the cultivator. It is impossible to see without admiration those timber houses of the poorest peasant, so vast, so well closed in, so covered with carvings. In the interior, spacious corridors separate the different chambers of the numerous family; each chamber has but one bed, which is abundantly furnished

1 [Substituted in the 7th ed. (1871) for "wherever free from the curse of slavery."]

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