Principles of Political Economy with some of their Applications to Social Philosophy
* The Library of Economics and Liberty electronic edition is taken from that prepared by W. J. Ashley in 1909, based on Mill's 7th edition, 1870. Footnote references in the text are color coded according to authorship as follows:
Book II. Chapter I. Section 1
1. [So since the 3rd ed. (1852). The original ran: "But howsoever... things, those limits exist; there are ultimate laws, which we did not make, which we cannot alter, and to which we can only conform."]
2. [The concluding words of this sentence were added in the 3rd ed., and "general" was deleted before "consent." In the next sentence the keeping of property was made to depend on "the permission" and not on "the will" of society.]
Book II. Chapter I. Section 2
4. [Here followed in the original text the following passage: "Owenism, or Socialism, in this country, and Communism on the continent, are the most prevailing forms of the doctrine. These suppose a democratic government of the industry and funds of society, and an equal division of the fruits. In the more elaborate and refined form of the same scheme, which obtained a temporary celebrity under the name of St. Simonism, the administering authority was supposed to be a monarchy or aristocracy, not of birth but of capacity; the remuneration of each member of the community being by salary, proportioned to the importance of the services supposed to be rendered by each to the general body."
This was replaced in the 2nd ed. (1849) by the present reference to "the late revolutions in Europe," and by the following paragraph, dividing "the assailants of the principle of individual property" into two classes. The present form, however, of the clause beginning "Nor is this attention" dates from the 3rd ed. (1852). In the 2nd it ran: "This attention is not likely to diminish; attacks on the institution of property being, in the existing state of human intellect, a natural expression of the discontent of all those classes on whom, in whatever manner, the present constitution of society bears hardly: and it is a safe prediction that, unless the progress of the human mind can be checked, such speculations will never cease, until the laws of property are freed from whatever portion of injustice they contain, and until whatever is well grounded in the opinions and legitimate in the aims of its assailants is adopted into the framework of society."]
Book II. Chapter I. Section 3
5. [The whole of this section was rewritten in the 3rd ed. (1852), with the aid of some passages from the 2nd ed. (1849), for the reason stated in the Preface to the 3rd edition. The present first paragraph of § 4 was added, and the next paragraph modified by the omission of the assertion that the arguments of § 3 while "not applicable to St. Simonism" were, to his mind, "conclusive against Communism." For the original text of § 3 see Appendix K. Mill's earlier and later writings on Socialism.]
6. [The last sentence of this paragraph ("The impossibility of foreseeing and prescribing the exact mode in which its difficulties should be dealt with, does not prove that it may not be the best and the ultimate form of human society") was omitted in the 4th ed. (1857).]
Book II. Chapter I. Section 4
8. [The next sentence of the original was omitted in the 3rd ed. (1852). "Society, thus constituted, would wear as diversified a face as it does now; would be still fuller of interest and excitement, would hold out even more abundant stimulus to individual exertion, and would nourish, it is to be feared, even more of rivalries and of animosities than at present."]
10. [The remainder of the paragraph as it now stands dates from the 3rd ed. 1852). In the 2nd ed. (1849) the paragraph went on from "influenced" as follows: "All persons would have a prospect of deriving individual advantage from every degree of labour, of abstinence, and of talent, which they individually exercised. The impediments to success would not be in the principles of the system, but in the unmanageable nature of its machinery. Before large bodies of human beings could be fit to live together in such close union, and still more, before they would be capable of adjusting, by peaceful arrangement among themselves, the relative claims of every class or kind of labour and talent, and of every individual in every class, a vast improvement in human character must be presupposed. When it is considered that each person who would have a voice in this adjustment would be a party interested in it, in every sense of the term—that each would be called on to take part by vote in fixing both the relative remuneration, and the relative estimation, of himself as compared with all other labourers, and of his own class of labour or talent as compared with all others; the degree of disinterestedness and of freedom from vanity and irritability which would be required in such a community from every individual in it, would be such as is now only found in the élite of humanity: while if those qualities fell much short of the required standard, either the adjustment could not be made at all, or, if made by a majority, would engender jealousies and disappointments destructive of the internal harmony on which the whole working of the system avowedly depends. These, it is true, are difficulties, not impossibilities; and the Fourierists, who alone among Socialists are in a great degree alive to the true conditions of the problem which they undertake to solve, are not without ways and means of contending against these. With every advance in education and improvement, their system tends to become less impracticable, and the very attempt to make it succeed would cultivate, in those making the attempt, many of the virtues which it requires. But we have only yet considered the case of a single Fourierist community. When we remember that the communities themselves are to be the constituent units of an organised whole, (otherwise competition would rage as actively between rival communities as it now does between individual merchants or manufacturers,) and that nothing less would be requisite for the complete success of the scheme than the organisation from a single centre of the whole industry of a nation, and even of the world; we may, without attempting to limit the ultimate capabilities of human nature, affirm, that the political economist, for a considerable time to come, will be chiefly concerned with the conditions of existence and progress belonging to a society founded on private property and individual competition; and that, rude as is the manner in which those two principles apportion reward to exertion and to merit, they must form the basis of the principal improvements which can for the present be looked for in the economical condition of humanity."
Then began a new section: "And those improvements will be found to be far more considerable than the adherents of the various Socialist systems are willing to allow. Whatever may be the merit or demerit of their own schemes of society, they have hitherto shown themselves extremely ill acquainted with the economical laws of the existing social system; and have, in consequence, habitually assumed as necessary effects of competition, evils which are by no means inevitably attendant on it. It is from the influence of this erroneous interpretation of existing facts, that many Socialists of high principles and attainments are led to regard the competitive system as radically incompatible with the economical well-being of the mass.
"The principle of private property has never yet had a fair trial," &c., as now, supra, p. 208, and the remainder of that paragraph.
The chapter ended with the following paragraph, of which the first sentence was retained later (supra, p. 209): "We are as yet too ignorant either of what individual agency in its best form, or Socialism in its best form, can accomplish, to be qualified to decide which of the two will be the ultimate form of human society. In the present stage of human improvement at least, it is not (I conceive) the subversion of the system of individual property that should be aimed at, but the improvement of it, and the participation of every member of the community in its benefits. Far, however, from looking upon the various classes of Socialists with any approach to disrespect, I honour the intentions of almost all who are publicly known in that character, the acquirements and talents of several, and I regard them, taken collectively, as one of the most valuable elements of human improvement now existing; both from the impulse they give to the reconsideration and discussion of all the most important questions, and from the ideas they have contributed to many; ideas from which the most advanced supporters of the existing order of society have still much to learn."]
Book II. Chapter II. Section 1
14. [Here was omitted in the 3rd ed. the following passage of the original: "It may be said, they do not meet on an equal footing: the capitalist, as the richer, can take advantage of the labourer's necessities, and make his conditions as he pleases. He could do so, undoubtedly, if he were but one. The capitalists collectively could do so, if they were not too numerous to combine, and act as a body. But, as things are, they have no such advantage. Where combination is impossible, the terms of the contract depend on competition, that is, on the amount of capital which the collective abstinence of society has provided, compared with the number of the labourers."]
"A joint administration on account of the state would not make the fund go further, or afford better terms to the labourers, unless either by enforcing, on the society collectively, greater abstinence, or by limiting more strictly the number of the labouring population. It is impossible to increase the quotient that falls to the share of each labourer, without either augmenting the dividend, or diminishing the divisor."
To the substituted passage, the words "and much... England" were added in the 3rd ed.]
Book II. Chapter II. Section 3
17. [The rest of this paragraph replaced in the 3rd ed. (1852) the following original text: "but from accident or negligence or worse causes he failed to do. Whether it would be possible, by means of a public administrator of intestate estates, to take cognizance of special claims and see justice done in detail, is a question of some difficulty into which I forbear to enter. I shall only consider what might with best reason be laid down as a general rule."]
18. [From the 3rd ed. (1852) was omitted the following passage of the original: "If any near relatives, known to be such, were in a state of indigence, a donation, or a small pension, according to circumstances, might, in case of intestacy, be assigned to them when the State appropriated the inheritance. This would be a justice, or a generosity, which they do not experience from the present law, since that gives all to the nearest collaterals, however great may be the necessities of those more distant."]
Book II. Chapter II. Section 4
20. [From the 3rd ed. was here omitted the following passage of the original: "But however the case may be as to a mere provision, I hold that justice and expediency are wholly, against compelling anything beyond. That a person should be certain from childhood of succeeding to a large fortune independently of the good will and affection of any human being, is, unless under very favourable influences of other kinds, almost a fatal circumstance in his education."]
21.  In the case of capital employed in the hands of the owner himself, in carrying on any of the operations of industry, there are strong grounds for leaving to him the power of bequeathing to one person the whole of the funds actually engaged in a single enterprise. It is well that he should be enabled to leave the enterprise under the control of whichever of his heirs he regards as best fitted to conduct it virtuously and efficiently: and the necessity (very frequent and inconvenient under the French law) would be thus obviated, of breaking up a manufacturing or commercial establishment at the death of its chief. In like manner, it should be allowed to a proprietor who leaves to one of his successors the moral burthen of keeping up an ancestral mansion and park or pleasure-ground, to bestow along with them as much other property as is required for their sufficient maintenance.
23. "Munificent bequests and donations for public purposes, whether charitable or educational, form a striking feature in the modern history of the United States, and especially of New England. Not only is it common for rich capitalists to leave by will a portion of their fortune towards the endowment of national institutions, but individuals during their lifetime make magnificent grants of money for the same objects. There is here no compulsory law for the equal partition of property among children, as in France, and on the other hand no custom of entail or primogeniture, as in England, so that the affluent feel themselves at liberty to share their wealth between their kindred and the public; it being impossible to found a family, and parents having frequently the happiness of seeing all their children well provided for and independent long before their death. I have seen a list of bequests and donations made during the last thirty years for the benefit of religious, charitable, and literary institutions in the state of Massachusetts alone, and they amounted to no less a sum than six millions of dollars, or more than a million sterling.'—Lyell's Travels in America, vol. i. p. 263.
 In England, whoever leaves anything beyond trifling legacies for public or beneficent objects when he has any near relatives living, does so at the risk of being declared insane by a jury after his death, or at the least, of having the property wasted in a Chancery suit to set aside the will.
Book II. Chapter II. Section 5
24. "What endowed man with intelligence and perseverance in labour, what made him direct all his efforts towards an end useful to his race, was the sentiment of perpetuity. The lands which the streams have deposited along their course are always the most fertile, but are also those which they menace with their inundations or corrupt by marshes. Under the guarantee of perpetuity men undertook long and painful labours to give the marshes an outlet, to erect embankments against inundations, to distribute by irrigation-channels fertilizing waters over the same fields which the same waters had condemned to sterility. Under the same guarantee, man, no longer contenting himself with the annual products of the earth, distinguished among the wild vegetation the perennial plants, shrubs, and trees which would be useful to him, improved them by culture, changed, it may almost be said, their very nature, and multiplied their amount. There are fruits which it required centuries of cultivation to bring to their present perfection, and others which have been introduced from the most remote regions. Men have opened the earth to a great depth to renew the soil, and fertilize it by the mixture of its parts and by contact with the air; they have fixed on the hillsides the soil which would have slid off, and have covered the face of the country with a vegetation everywhere abundant, and everywhere useful to the human race. Among their labours there are some of which the fruits can only be reaped at the end of ten or of twenty years; there are others by which their posterity will still benefit after several centuries. All have concurred in augmenting the productive force of nature, in giving to mankind a revenue infinitely more abundant, a revenue of which a considerable part is consumed by those who have no share in the ownership of the land, but who 'would not have found a maintenance but for that appropriation of the soil' by which they seem, at first sight, to have been disinherited."—Sismondi, Etude sur l'Economie Politique, Troisième Essai, De la Richesse Territoriale.
Book II. Chapter II. Section 6
25.  I must beg the reader to bear in mind that this paragraph was written fifteen years ago. So wonderful are the changes, both moral and economical, taking place in our age, that, without perpetually re-writing a work like the present, it is impossible to keep up with them. [In ed. 1865, "eighteen years"; in ed. 1871, "more than twenty."]
26. [This, and the previous sentence replaced in the 3rd ed. (1852) the original text: "Public reasons exist for its being appropriated. But if those reasons lost their force, the thing would be unjust."]
27. [In the 3rd ed. the following passage of the original was here omitted: "I do not pretend that occasions can often arise on which so drastic a measure would be fit to be taken into serious consideration. But even if this ultimate prerogative of the state should never require to be actually exercised, it ought nevertheless to be asserted, because the principle which permits the greater of two things permits the less, and though to do all which the principle would sanction should never be advisable, to do much less than all not only may be so, but often is so in a very high degree."]
Book II. Chapter II. Section 7
Book II. Chapter III. Section 2
30. "The Norwegian return" (say the Commissioners of Poor Law Enquiry, to whom information was furnished from nearly every country in Europe and America by the ambassadors and consuls there) "states that at the last census in 1825, out of a population of 1,051,318 persons, there were 59,464 freeholders. As by 59,464 freeholders must be meant 59,464 heads of families, or about 300,000 individuals, the freeholders must form more than a fourth of the whole population. Mr. Macgregor states that in Denmark (by which Zealand and the adjoining islands are probably meant) out of a population of 926,110, the number of landed proprietors and farmers is 415,110, or nearly one-half. In Sleswick-Holstein, out of a population of 604,085, it is 196,017, or about one-third. The proportion of proprietors and farmers to the whole population is not given in Sweden; but the Stockholm return estimates the average quantity of land annexed to a labourer's habitation at from one to five acres; and though the Gottenburg return gives a lower estimate; it adds that the peasants possess much of the land. In Wurtemburg we are told that more than two-thirds of the labouring population are the proprietors of their own habitations, and that almost all own at least a garden of from three-quarters of an acre to an acre and a half." In some of these statements, proprietors and farmers are not discriminated; but "all the returns concur in stating the number of day-labourers to be very small."—(Preface to Foreign Communications, p. xxxviii.) As the general status of the labouring people, the condition of a workman for hire is  almost peculiar to Great Britain.
Book II. Chapter IV. Section 2
31. The ancient law books of the Hindoos mention in some cases one-sixth, in others one-fourth of the produce, as a proper rent; but there is no evidence that the rules laid down in those books were, at any period of history, really acted upon.
Book II. Chapter IV. Section 3
Book II. Chapter V. Section 1
36. ["Or of production" was added in the 3rd ed. (1852), and the following passage of the original omitted: "This" (i.e. slow growth of population) "cannot be from physical privation, for no slave-labourers are worse fed, clothed, or lodged, than the free peasantry of Ireland. The cause usually assigned is the great disproportion of the sexes which almost always exists where slaves are not bred but imported; this cannot however be the sole cause, as the negro population of our West India colonies continued nearly stationary, after the slave-trade to those colonies was suppressed. Whatever be the causes, a slave population is seldom a rapidly increasing one." The text of the next sentence was slightly readjusted.]
Book II. Chapter V. Section 2
43. The Hungarian revolutionary government, during its brief existence, bestowed on that country one of the greatest benefits it could receive, and one which the tyranny that succeeded did not dare to take away: it freed the peasantry from what remained of the bondage of serfdom, the labour rents; decreeing compensation to the landlords at the expense of the state, and not at that of the liberated peasants.
Book II. Chapter V. Section 3
46. [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."]
Book II. Chapter VI. Section 1
47. 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.
Book II. Chapter VI. Section 2
50. And in another work (Nouveaux Principes d'Economie Politique, liv. iii. ch. 3,) he says: "When we traverse nearly the whole of Switzerland, and several provinces of France, Italy, and Germany, we need never ask, in looking at any piece of land, if it belongs to a peasant proprietor or to a farmer. The intelligent care, the enjoyments provided for the labourer, the adornment which the country has received from his hands, are clear indications of the former. It is true an oppressive government may destroy the comfort and brutify the intelligence which should be the result of property; taxation may abstract the best produce of the fields, the insolence of government officers may disturb the security of the peasant, the impossibility of obtaining justice against a powerful neighbour may sow discouragement in his mind, and in the fine country which has been given back to the administration of the King of Sardinia, the proprietor, equally with the day-labourer, wears the livery of indigence." He was here speaking of Savoy, where the peasants were generally proprietors, and, according to authentic accounts, extremely miserable. But, as M. de Sismondi continues, "it is in vain to observe only one of the rules of political economy; it cannot by itself suffice to produce good; but at least it diminishes evil."
53.  There have been considerable changes in the Poor Law administration and legislation of the Canton of Berne since the sentence in the text was written. But I am not sufficiently acquainted with the nature and operation of these changes to speak more particularly of them here.
54. "Eine an das unglaubliche gränzende Schuldenmasse" is the expression. (Historisch-geographisch-statistische Gemälde der Schweiz. Erster Theil. Der Kanton Zürich. Von Gerold Meyer von Knonau, 1834, pp. 80-81.) There are villages in Zurich, he adds, in which there is not a single property unmortgaged. It does not, however, follow that each individual proprietor is deeply involved because the aggregate mass of encumbrances is large. In the Canton of Schaffhausen, for instance, it is stated that the landed properties are almost all mortgaged, but rarely for more than one-half their registered value (Zwölfler Theil. Der Kanton Schaffhausen, von Edward Im-Thurn, 1840, p. 52), and the mortgages are often for the improvement and enlargement of the estate. (Siebenzehnter Theil. Der Kanton Thürgau, von J. A. Pupikofer, 1837, p. 209.)
Book II. Chapter VI. Section 3
56.  Reichensperger (Die Agrarfrage) quoted by Mr. Kay (Social Condition and Education of the People in England and Europe,) observes, "that the parts of Europe where the most extensive and costly plans for watering the meadows and lands have been carried out in the greatest perfection, are those where the lands are very much subdivided, and are in the hands of small proprietors. He instances the plain round Valencia, several of the southern departments of France, particularly those of Vaucluse and Bouches du Rhône, Lombardy, Tuscany, the districts of Sienna, Lucca, and Bergamo, Piedmont, many parts of Germany, &c., in all which parts of Europe the land is very much subdivided among small proprietors. In all these parts great and expensive systems and plans of general irrigation have been carried out, and are now being supported by the small proprietors themselves; thus showing how they are able to accomplish, by means of combination, work requiring the expenditure of great quantities of capital." Kay, i. 126.
57. Laing, Journal of a Residence in Norway, pp. 36, 37. [From the 3rd ed. (1852) was omitted the following further passage from Laing, quoted in the 1st and 2nd: "It is, I am aware, a favourite and constant observation of our agricultural writers, that these small proprietors make the worst farmers. It may be so; but a population may be in a wretched condition, although their country is very well farmed; or they may be happy, although bad cultivators.... Good farming is a phrase composed of two words which have no more application to the happiness or well-being of a people than good weaving or good iron-founding. That the human powers should be well applied, and not misapplied, in the production of grain, or iron, or clothing, is, no doubt, an object of great importance; but the happiness or well-being of a people does not entirely depend upon it. It has more effect on their numbers than on their condition. The producer of grain who is working for himself only, who is owner of his land, and has not a third of its produce to pay as rent, can afford to be a worse farmer by one-third, than a tenant, and is, notwithstanding, in a preferable condition. Our agricultural writers tell us, indeed, that labourers in agriculture are much better off as farm-servants than they would be as small proprietors. We have only the master's word for this. Ask the servant. The colonists told us the same thing of their slaves. If property is a good and desirable thing, I suspect that the smallest quantity of it is good and desirable; and that the state of society in which it is most widely diffused is the best constituted."]
59. The manner in which the Swiss peasants combine to carry on cheesemaking by their united capital deserves to be noted. "Each parish in Switzerland hires a man, generally from the district of Gruyère in the canton of Freyburg, to take care of the herd, and make the cheese. One cheeseman, one pressman or assistant, and one cowherd are considered necessary for every forty cows. The owners of the cows get credit each of them, in a book daily for the quantity of milk given by each cow. The cheeseman and his assistants milk the cows, put the milk all together, and make cheese of it, and at the end of the season each owner receives the weight of cheese proportionable to the quantity of milk his cows have delivered. By this co-operative plan, instead of the small-sized unmarketable cheeses only, which each could produce out of his three or four cows' milk, he has the same weight in large marketable cheese superior in quality, because made by people who attend to no other business. The cheeseman and his assistants are paid so much per head of the cows, in money or in cheese, or sometimes they hire the cows, and pay the owners in money or cheese." Notes of a Traveller, p. 351. A similar system exists in the French Jura. See, for full details, Lavergne, Economie Rurale de la France, 2nd ed., pp. 139 et seqq. One of the most remarkable points in this interesting case of combination of labour is the confidence which it supposes, and which experience must justify, in the integrity of the persons employed.
Book II. Chapter VI. Section 4
67. The Social Condition and Education of the People in England and Europe; showing the results of the Primary Schools, and of the division of Landed Property in Foreign Countries. By Joseph Kay, M.A., Barrister-at-Law, and late Travelling Bachelor of the University of Cambridge. Vol. i. pp. 138-40.
Book II. Chapter VI. Section 5
75.  As much of the distress lately complained of in Belgium, as partakes in any degree of a permanent character, appears to be almost confined to the portion of the population who carry on manufacturing labour, either by itself or in conjunction with agricultural; and to be occasioned by a diminished demand for Belgic manufactures.
To the preceding testimonies respecting Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium, may be added the following from Niebuhr, respecting the Roman Campagna. In a letter from Tivoli, he says, "Wherever you find hereditary farmers, or small proprietors, there you also find industry and honesty. I believe that a man who would employ a large fortune in establishing small freeholds might put an end to robbery in the mountain districts."—Life and Letters of Niebuhr, vol. ii. p. 149.
Book II. Chapter VI. Section 6
Book II. Chapter VI. Section 7
Book II. Chapter VII. Section 1
"If we would know the inmost thought, the passion, of the French peasant, it is very easy. Let us walk out on Sunday into the country and follow him. Behold him yonder, walking in front of us. It is two o'clock; his wife is at vespers; he has on his Sunday clothes; I perceive that he is going to visit his mistress.
"What mistress? His land.
"I do not say he goes straight to it. No, he is free to-day, and may either go or not. Does he not go every day in the week? Accordingly, he turns aside, he goes another way, he has business elsewhere. And yet—he goes.
"It is true, he was passing close by; it was an opportunity. He looks, but apparently he will not go in; what for? And yet—he enters.
"At least it is probable that he will not work; he is in his Sunday dress: he has a clean shirt and blouse. Still, there is no harm in plucking up this weed and throwing out that stone. There is a stump, too, which is in the way; but he has not his tools with him, he will do it to-morrow.
"Then he folds his arms and gazes, serious and careful. He gives a long, a very long look, and seems lost in thought. At last, if he thinks himself observed, if he sees a passer-by, he moves slowly away. Thirty paces off he stops, turns round, and casts on his land a last look; sombre and profound, but to those who can see it, the look is full of passion, of heart, of devotion."—Le Peuple, by J. Michelet, 1re partie, ch. 1.
Book II. Chapter VII. Section 2
The parish is bound to find us.
But unless so shielded, the day labourer," &c.]
Book II. Chapter VII. Section 4
105. The Prussian minister of statistics, in a work (Der Volkswohlstand im Preussischen Staate) which I am obliged to quote at second hand from Mr. Kay, after proving by figures the great and progressive increase of the consumption of food and clothing per head of the population, from which he justly infers a corresponding increase of the productiveness of agriculture, continues: "The division of estates has, since 1831, proceeded more and more throughout the country. There are now many more small independent proprietors than formerly. Yet, however many complaints of pauperism are heard among the dependent labourers, we never hear it complained that pauperism is increasing among the peasant proprietors."—Kay, i. 262-6.
But the number given by Moreau de Jonnès, he adds, is not entitled to implicit confidence.
The following table given by M. Quetelet (Sur l'Homme et le Développement de ses Facultés, vol. i. ch. 7) also on the authority of Rau, contains additional matter, and differs in some items from the preceding, probably from the author's having taken, in those cases, an average of different years:
A very carefully prepared statement, by M. Legoyt, in the Journal des Economistes for May 1847, which brings up the results for France to the census of the preceding year 1846, is summed up in the following table:
110. M. Legoyt is of opinion that the population was understated in 1841, and the increase between that time and 1846 consequently overstated, and that the real increase during the whole period was something intermediate between the last two averages, or not much more than one in two hundred.
112. Journal des Economistes for February 1847.— In the Journal for January 1865, M. Legoyt gives some of the numbers slightly altered, and I presume corrected. The series of percentages is 1.28, 0.31, 0.69, 0.60, 0.41, 0.68, 0.22, and 0.20. The last census in the table, that of 1861, shows a slight reaction, the percentage, independently of the newly acquired departments, being 0.32. [M. Emile Levasscur (La Population Francaise, 1889, vol. i. p. 315) cites a calculation of M. Loua, according to which the increase per cent for the territory which has constituted France since 1871, was for the period 1801-1821 0.56; 1821-1841, 0.59; 1841-1861, 0.36; 1861-1881, 0.27.]
In the last two years the births, according to M. Legoyt, were swelled by the effects of a considerable immigration. "This diminution of births," he observes, "while there is a constant, though not a rapid increase both of population and of marriages, can only be attributed to the progress of prudence and forethought in families. It was a foreseen consequence of our civil and social institutions, which, producing a daily increasing subdivision of fortunes, both landed and moveable, call forth in our people the instincts of conservation and of comfort."
In four departments, among which are two of the most thriving in Normandy, the deaths even then exceeded the births.— The census of 1856 exhibits the remarkable fact of a positive diminution in the population of 54 out of the 86 departments. A significant comment on the pauper-warren theory. See M. de Lavergne's analysis of the returns.
114. "The classes of our population which have only wages, and are therefore the most exposed to indigence, are now (1846) much better provided with the necessaries of food, lodging, and clothing than they were at the beginning of the century. This may be proved by the testimony of all persons who can remember the earlier of the two periods compared. Were there any doubts on the subject they might easily be dissipated by consulting old cultivators and workmen, as I have myself done in various localities, without meeting with a single contrary testimony; we may also appeal to the facts collected by an accurate observer, M. Villermé (Tableau de l'Etat Physique et Moral des Ouvriers, liv. ii. ch. i.)." From an intelligent work published in 1846, Recherches sur les Causes de l'Indigence, par A. Clément, pp. 84-5. The same writer speaks (p. 118) of: "the considerable rise which has taken place since 1789 in the wages of agricultural day-labourers;" and adds the following evidence of a higher standard of habitual requirements, even in that portion of the town population, the state of which is usually represented as most deplorable. "In the last fifteen or twenty years a considerable change has taken place in the habits of the operatives in our manufacturing towns: they now expend much more than formerly on clothing and ornament.... Certain classes of workpeople, such as the canuts of Lyons," (according to all representations, like their counterpart, our handloom weavers, the very worst paid class of artizans,) "no longer snow themselves, as they did formerly, covered with filthy rags." (Page 164.)
 The preceding statements were given in former editions of this work, being the best to which I had at the time access; but evidence, both of a more recent, and of a more minute and precise character, will now be found in the important work of M. Léonce de Lavergne, Economie Rurale de la France depuis 1789. According to that painstaking, well-informed, and most impartial enquirer, the average daily wages of a French labourer have risen, since the commencement of the Revolution, in the ratio of 19 to 30, while, owing to the more constant employment, the total earnings have increased in a still greater ratio, not short of double. The following are the words of M. de Lavergne (2nd ed. p. 57): "Arthur Young estimates at 19 sous [9½d.] the average of a day's wages, which must now be about 1 franc 50 centimos [1s. 3d.], and this increase only represents a part of the improvement. Though the rural population has remained about the same in numbers, the addition made to the population since 1789 having centred in the towns, the number of actual working days has increased, first because, the duration of life having augmented, the number of able-bodied men is greater, and next, because labour is better organized, partly through the suppression of several festival-holidays, partly by the mere effect of a more active demand. When we take into account the increased number of his working days, the annual receipts of the rural workman must have doubled. This augmentation of wages answers to at least an equal augmentation of comforts, since the prices of the chief necessaries of life have changed but little, and those of manufactured, for example of woven, articles, have materially diminished. The lodging of the labourers has also improved, if not in all, at least in most of our provinces."
M. de Lavergne's estimate of the average amount of a day's wages is grounded on a careful comparison, in this and in all other economical points of view, of all the different provinces of France.
115. In his little book on the agriculture of the Palatinate, already cited. He says that the daily wages of labour, which during the last years of the war were unusually high, and so continued until 1817, afterwards sank to a lower money-rate, but that the prices of many commodities, having fallen in a still greater proportion, the condition of the people was unequivocally improved. The food given to farm labourers by their employers has also greatly improved in quantity and quality. "It is to-day considerably better than it was about forty years ago, when the poorer class obtained less flesh-meat and puddings, and no cheese, butter, and the like" (p. 20). "Such an increase of wages" (adds the Professor), "which must be estimated not in money, but in the quantity of necessaries and conveniences which the labourer is enabled to procure, is by universal admission, a proof that the mass of capital must have increased." It proves not only this, but also that the labouring population has not increased in an equal degree; and that, in this instance as well as in that of France, the division of the land, even when excessive, has been compatible with a strengthening of the prudential checks to population.
Book II. Chapter VII. Section 5
117. One of the many important papers which have appeared in the Journal des Economistes, the organ of the principal political economists of France, and doing great and increasing honour to their knowledge and ability. M. Passy's essay has been reprinted separately in a pamphlet.
120. P. 117. See, for facts of a similar tendency, pp. 141, 250, and other passages of the same important treatise: which, on the other hand, equally abounds with evidence of the mischievous effect of subdivision when too minute, or when the nature of the soil and of its products is not suitable to it.
121.  Mr. Laing, in his latest publication, Observations on the Social and Political State of the European People in 1848 and 1849, a book devoted to the glorification of England and the disparagement of everything elsewhere which others, or even he himself in former works, had thought worthy of praise, argues that "although the land itself is not divided and subdivided" on the death of the proprietor, "the value of the land is, and with effects almost as prejudicial to social progress. The value of each share becomes a debt or burden upon the land." Consequently the condition of the agricultural population is retrograde; "each generation is worse off than the preceding one, although the land is neither less nor more divided, nor worse cultivated." And this he gives as the explanation of the great indebtedness of the small landed proprietors in France (pp. 97-9). If these statements were correct, they would invalidate all which Mr. Laing affirmed so positively in other writings, and repeats in this, respecting the peculiar efficacy of the possession of land in preventing over-population. But he is entirely mistaken as to the matter of fact. In the only country of which he speaks from actual residence, Norway, he does not pretend that the condition of the peasant proprietors is deteriorating. The facts already cited prove that in respect to Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland, he assertion is equally wide of the mark; and what has been shown respecting the slow increase of population in France, demonstrates that if the condition of the French peasantry was deteriorating, it could not be from the cause supposed by Mr. Laing. The truth I believe to be that in every country without exception, in which peasant properties prevail, the condition of the people is improving, the produce of the land and even its fertility increasing, and from the larger surplus which remains after feeding the agricultural classes, the towns are augmenting both in population and in the well-being of their inhabitants.
122. French history strikingly confirms these conclusions. Three times during the course of ages the peasantry have been purchasers of land; and these times immediately preceded the three principal eras of French agricultural prosperity.
"In the worst times," says the historian Michelet (Le Peuple, 1re partie, ch. 1), "the times of universal poverty, when even the rich are poor and obliged to sell, the poor are enabled to buy: no other purchaser presenting himself, the peasant in rags arrives with his piece of gold, and acquires a little bit of land. These moments of disaster in which the peasant was able to buy land at a low price, have always been followed by a sudden gush of prosperity which people could not account for. Towards 1500, for example, when France, exhausted by Louis XI., seemed to be completing its ruin in Italy, the noblesse who went to the wars were obliged to sell: the land, passing into new hands, suddenly began to flourish: men began to labour and to build. This happy moment, in the style of courtly historians, was called the good Louis XII.
"Unhappily it did not last long. Scarcely had the land recovered itself when the tax-collector fell upon it; the wars of religion followed, and seemed to rase everything to the ground; with horrible miseries, dreadful famines, in which mothers devoured their children. Who would believe that the country recovered from this? Scarcely is the war ended, when from the devastated fields, and the cottages still black with the flames, comes forth the hoard of the peasant. He buys; in ten years, France wears a new face; in twenty or thirty, all possessions have doubled and trebled in value. This moment, again baptized by a royal name, is called the good Henry IV. and the great Richelieu."
Of the third era it is needless again to speak: it was that of the Revolution.
Whoever would study the reverse of the picture, may compare these historic periods, characterized by the dismemberment of large and the construction of small properties, with the wide-spread national suffering which accompanied, and the permanent deterioration of the condition of the labouring classes which followed the "clearing" away of small yeomen to make room for large grazing farms, which was the grand economical event of English history during the sixteenth century. [This quotation from Michelet originally came at the end of chapter x, infra, on Means of Abolishing Cottier Tenancy. It was transferred to its present position in the 5th ed. (1862).]
123. [The last two sentences replaced in the 3rd ed. (1852) the concluding sentence of the original text: "Whether and in what these considerations admit of useful application to any of the social questions of our time, will be considered in a future chapter."
The position of peasant proprietors in Germany in more recent decades may be studied in Buchenberger, Agrarwesen, one of the volumes in Wagner's Lehrbuch der Politischen Oekonomie (1892), §§ 69, 70, 73; Blondel, Études sur les Populations Rurales de l'Allemagne (1897); and David, Sozialismus and Landwirthschaft (1903). As to whether morcellement is progressing in France, see Gide, Économic Sociale (1905), pp. 429 seq.]
Book II. Chapter VIII. Section 1
1. In France before the Revolution, according to Arthur Young (i. 403), there was great local diversity in this respect. In Champagne "the landlord commonly finds half the cattle and half the seed, and the metayer, labour, implements, and taxes; but in some districts the landlord bears a share of these. In Roussillon, the landlord pays half the taxes; and in Guienne, from Aueh to Fleuran, many landlords pay all. Near Augillon, on the Garonne, the metayers furnish half the cattle. At Nangis, in the Isle of France, I met with an agreement for the landlord to furnish live stock, implements, harness, and taxes; the metayer found labour and his own capitation tax: the landlord repaired the house and gates, the metayer the windows: the landlord provided seed the first year, the metayer the last; in the intervening years they supply half and half. In the Bourbonnois the landlord finds all sorts of live stock, yet the metayer sells, changes, and buys at his will; the steward keeping an account of these mutations, for the landlord has half the product of sales, and pays half the purchases." In Piedmont, he says, "the landlord commonly pays the taxes and repairs the buildings, and the tenant provides cattle, implements, and seed." (ii. 151.)
4. This virtual fixity of tenure is not however universal even in Italy; and it is to its absence that Sismondi attributes the inferior condition of the metayers in some provinces of Naples, in Lucca, and in the Riviera of Genoa; where the landlords obtain a larger (though still a fixed) share of the produce. In those countries the cultivation is splendid, but the people wretchedly poor. "The same misfortune would probably have befallen the people of Tuscany if public opinion did not protect the cultivator; but a proprietor would not dare to impose conditions unusual in the country, and even in changing one metayer for another he alters nothing in the terms of the engagement."—Nouveaux Principes, liv. iii. ch. 5.
Book II. Chapter VIII. Section 2
"It is a well-ascertained fact that the tendency to excessive multiplication is chiefly manifested in the class who live on wages. Over these the forethought which retards marriages has little operation, because the evils which flow from excessive competition appear to them only very confusedly, and at a considerable distance. It is, therefore, the most advantageous condition of a people to be so organized as to contain no regular class of labourers for hire. In metayer countries, marriages are principally determined by the demands of cultivation; they increase when, from whatever cause, the metairies offer vacancies injurious to production; they diminish when the places are filled up. A fact easily ascertained, the proportion between the size of the farm and the number of hands, operates like forethought, and with greater effect. We find, accordingly, that when nothing occurs to make an opening for a superfluous population, numbers remain stationary: as is seen in our southern departments." Considérations sur le Métayage, Journal des Economistes for February 1846. [The description of Bastiat as "a high authority among French political economists" was omitted from the 3rd ed. (1852).]
Book II. Chapter VIII. Section 3
12. M. de Tracy is partially an exception, inasmuch as his experience reaches lower down than the revolutionary period; but he admits (as Mr. Jones has himself stated in another place) that he is acquainted only with a limited district, of great subdivision and unfertile soil.
M. Passy is of opinion, that a French peasantry must be in indigence and the country badly cultivated on a metayer system, because the proportion of the produce claimable by the landlord is too high; it being only in more favourable climates that any land, not of the most exuberant fertility, can pay half its gross produce in rent, and leave enough to peasant farmers to enable them to grow successfully the more expensive and valuable products of agriculture. (Systèmes de Culture, p. 35.) This is an objection only to a particular numerical proportion, which is indeed the common one, but is not essential to the system.
13. See the "Mémoire sur la Surcharge des Impositions qu'éprouvait la Généralité de Limoges, adressé au Conseil d'Etat on 1766," pp. 260-304 of the fourth volume of Turgot's Works. The occasional engagements of landlords (as mentioned by Arthur Young) to pay a part of the taxes, were, according to Turgot, of recent origin, under the compulsion of actual necessity. "The proprietor only consents to it when he can find no metayer on other terms; consequently, even in that case, the metayer is always reduced to what is barely sufficient to prevent him from dying of hunger" (p. 275).
"28 shifts, 7 best dresses (of particular fabrics of silk), 7 dresses of printed cotton, 2 winter working dresses (mezza lana), 3 summer working dresses and petticoats (mola), 3 white petticoats, 5 aprons of printed linen, 1 of black silk, 1 of black merino, 9 coloured working aprons (mola), 4 white, 8 coloured, and 3 silk, handkerchiefs, 2 embroidered veils and one of tulle, 3 towels, 14 pairs of stockings, 2 hats (one of felt, the other of fine straw); 2 canicos set in gold, 2 golden earrings, 1 chaplet with two Roman silver crowns, 1 coral necklace with its cross of gold.... All the richer married women of the class have, besides, the veste di seta, the great holiday dress, which they only wear four or five times in their lives."
25. Of the intelligence of this interesting people, M. de Sismondi speaks in the most favourable terms. Few of them can read; but there is often one member of the family destined for the priesthood, who reads to them on winter evenings. Their language differs little from the purest Italian. The taste for improvisation in verse is general. "The peasants of the Vale of Nievole frequent the theatre in summer on festival days, from nine to eleven at night: their admission costs them little more than five French sous [2½d.]. Their favourite author is Alfieri; the whole history of the Atridae is familiar to these people who cannot read, and who seek from that austere poet a relaxation from their rude labours." Unlike most rustics, they find pleasure in the beauty of their country. "In the hills of the vale of Nievole there is in front of every house a threshing-ground, seldom of more than 25 or 30 square fathoms; it is often the only level space in the whole farm; it is at the same time a terrace which commands the plains and the valley, and looks out upon a delightful country. Scarcely ever have I stood still to admire it, without the metayer's coming out to enjoy my admiration, and point out with his finger the beauties which he thought might have escaped my notice."
Book II. Chapter VIII. Section 4
26. "We never," says Sismondi, "find a family of metayers proposing to their landlord to divide the metairie, unless the work is really more than they can do, and they feel assured of retaining the same enjoyments on a smaller piece of ground. We never find several sons all marrying, and forming as many new families; only one marries and undertakes the charge of the household: none of the others marry unless the first is childless, or unless some one of them has the offer of a new metairie." New Principles of Political Economy, book iii. ch. 5.
Book II. Chapter IX. Section 1
27. In its original acceptation, the word "cottier" designated a class of subtenants, who rent a cottage and an acre or two of land from the small farmers. But the usage of writers has long since stretched the term to include those small farmers themselves,and generally all peasant farmers whose rents are determined by competition.
29. "It is not uncommon for a tenant without a lease to sell the bare privilege of occupancy or possession of his farm, without any visible sign of improvement having been made by him, at from ten to sixteen, up to twenty and even forty years' purchase of the rent."—(Digest of Evidence taken by Lord Devon's Commission, Introductory Chapter.) The compiler adds, "the comparative tranquillity of that district" (Ulster) "may perhaps be mainly attributable to this fact."
30. "It is in the great majority of cases not a reimbursement for outlay incurred, or improvements effected on the land, but a mere life insurance or purchase of immunity from outrage."—(Digest, ut supra.) "The present tenant-right of Ulster" (the writer judiciously remarks) "is an embryo copyhold." "Even there, if the tenant-right be disregarded, and a tenant be ejected without having received the price of his goodwill, outrages are generally the consequence."—(Ch. viii.) "The disorganised state of Tipperary, and the agrarian combination throughout Ireland, are but a methodized war to obtain the Ulster tenant-right."
Book II. Chapter IX. Section 2
32. Evils of the State of Ireland, their Causes and their Remedy. Page 10. A pamphlet containing, among other things, an excellent digest and selection of evidence from the mass collected by the Commission presided over by Archbishop Whately.
Book II. Chapter IX. Section 3
Book II. Chapter IX. Section 4
36. [In the original text there next came the following passages: "But in this ill judged measure there was one redeeming point, to which may probably be ascribed all the progress which the Bengal provinces have since made in production and in amount of revenue. The ryots were reduced, indeed, to the rank of tenants of the zemindar; but tenants with fixity of tenure. The rents were left to the zemindars to fix at their discretion; but once fixed, were never more to be altered. This is now the law and practice of landed tenure, in the most flourishing part of the British Indian dominions.
"In the parts of India into which the British rule has been more recently introduced, the blunder has been avoided of endowing a useless body of great landlords with gifts from the public revenue; but along with the evil, the good also has been left undone. The government has done less for the ryots than it has required to be done for them by the landlords of its creation."
These were omitted (as incorrect—see note of 1871, infra, p. 328) in the 3rd ed. (1852). In that edition was added the reference to Madras and Bombay, with the statement that "the rent on each class of land is fixed in perpetuity." This incorrect statement was struck out of the 4th ed. (1857), and the reference to the North-Western Provinces added.]
Book II. Chapter X. Section 1
42. Author of numerous pamphlets, entitled True Political Economy of Ireland, Letter to the Earl of Devon, Two Letters on the Rackrent Oppression of Ireland, and others. Mr. Conner has been an agitator on the subject since 1832.
"§ 5. Some persons who desire to avoid the term fixity of tenure, but who cannot be satisfied without some measure co-extensive with the whole country, have proposed the universal adoption of 'tenant-right.' Under this equivocal phrase, two things are confounded. What it commonly stands for in Irish discussion, is the Ulster practice, which is in fact, fixity of tenure. It supposes a customary, though not a legal, limitation of the rent; without which the tenant evidently could not acquire a beneficial and saleable interest. Its existence is highly salutary, and is one principal cause of the superiority of Ulster in efficiency of cultivation, and in the comfort of the people, notwithstanding a minuter sub-division of holdings than in the other provinces. But to convert this customary limitation of rent into a legal one, and to make it universal, would be to establish a fixity of tenure by law, the objections to which have already been stated.
"The same appellation (tenant right) has of late years been applied, more particularly in England, to something altogether different, and falling as much short of the exigency, as the enforcement of the Ulster custom would exceed it. This English tenant right, with which a high agricultural authority has connected his name by endeavouring to obtain for it legislative sanction, amounts to no more than this, that on the expiration of a lease, the landlord should make compensation to the tenant for 'unexhausted improvements.' This is certainly very desirable, but provides only for the case of capitalist farmers, and of improvements made by outlay of money; of the worth and cost of which, an experienced land agent or a jury of farmers could accurately judge. The improvements to be looked for from peasant cultivators are the result not of money but of their labour, applied at such various times and in such minute portions as to be incapable of judicial appreciation. For such labour, compensation could not be given on any principle but that of paying to the tenant the whole difference between the value of the property when he received it, and when he gave it up: which would as effectually annihilate the right of property of the landlord as if the rent had been fixed in perpetuity, while it would not offer the same inducements to the cultivator, who improves from affection and passion as much as from calculation, and to whom his own land is a widely different thing from the most liberal possible pecuniary compensation for it."]
44. [Little more than this remained in the 3rd ed. (1852)—modified to its present shape in the 5th (1862)—of the argument in favour of measures of reclamation of waste land which occupied five pages in the original edition. It opened thus: "There is no need to extend them to all the population, or all the land. It is enough if there be land available, on which to locate so great a portion of the population, that the remaining area of the country shall not be required to maintain greater numbers than are compatible with large farming and hired labour. For this purpose there is an obvious resource in the waste lands; which are happily so extensive, and a large proportion of them so improvable, as to afford a means by which, without making the present tenants proprietors, nearly the whole surplus population might be converted into peasant proprietors elsewhere."
After this argument came the following account of the English experiments associated with the name of Feargus O'Connor: "There are yet other means, by which not a little could be done in the dissemination of peasant proprietors over even the existing area of cultivation. There is at the present time an experiment in progress, in more than one part of England, for the creation of peasant proprietors. The project is of Chartist origin, and its first colony is now in full operation near Rickmansworth, in Hertfordshire. The plan is as follows:—Funds were raised by subscription, and vested in a joint-stock company. With part of these funds an estate of several hundred acres was bought. This estate was divided into portions of two, three, and four acres, on each of which a house was erected by the Association. These holdings were let to select labourers, to whom also such sums were advanced as were thought to amount to a sufficient capital for cultivation by spade labour. An annual payment, affording to the Company an interest of five per cent. on their outlay, was laid on the several holdings as a fixed quit-rent, never in any circumstances to be raised. The tenants are thus proprietors from the first, and their redemption of the quit-rent, by saving from the produce of their labour, is desired and calculated upon.
"The originator of this experiment appears to have successfully repelled (before a tribunal by no means prepossessed in his favour, a Committee of the House of Commons) the imputations which were lavished upon his project, and upon his mode of executing it. Should its issue ultimately be unfavourable, the cause of failure will be in the details of management, not in the principle. These well-conceived arrangements afford a mode in which private capital may co-operate in renovating &c." In the first edition it was said that "at present there seems no reason to believe" the issue would be unfavorable; and in the second the reference was inserted to the parliamentary enquiry. For the subsequent history of the National Land Company, see L. Jobb, Small Holdings, (1907), p. 121.]
45.  Though this society, during the years succeeding the famine, was forced to wind up its affairs, the memory of what is accomplished ought to be preserved. The following is an extract in the Proceedings of Lord Devon's Commission (page 84) from the report made to the society in 1845, by their intelligent manager, Colonel Robinson:—
"Two hundred and forty-five tenants, many of whom were a few years since in a state bordering on pauperism, the occupiers of small holdings of from ten to twenty plantation acres each, have, by their own free labour, with the society's aid, improved their farms to the value of 4396l.; 605l. having been added during the last year, being at the rate of 17l. 18s. per tenant for the whole term, and 2l. 9s. for the past year; the benefit of which improvements each tenant will enjoy during the unexpired term of a thirty-one years' lease.
"These 245 tenants and their families have, by spade industry, reclaimed and brought into cultivation 1032 plantation acres of land, previously unproductive mountain waste, upon which they grew, last year, crops valued by competent practical persons at 3896l., being in the proportion of 15l. 18s. each tenant; and their live stock, consisting of cattle, horses, sheep, and pigs, now actually upon the estates, is valued, according to the present prices of the neighbouring markets, at 4162l., of which 1304l. has been added since February 1844, being at the rate of 16l. 19s. for the whole period, and 5l. 6s. for the last year; during which time their stock has thus increased in value a sum equal to their present annual rent; and by the statistical tables and returns referred to in previous reports, it is proved that the tenants, in general, improve their little farms, and increase their cultivation and crops, in nearly direct proportion to the number of available working persons of both sexes of which their families consist."
There cannot be a stronger testimony to the superior amount of gross, and even of net produce, raised by small farming under any tolerable system of landed tenure; and it is worthy of attention that the industry and zeal were greatest among the smaller holders; Colonel Robinson noticing, as exceptions to the remarkable and rapid progress of improvement, some tenants who were "occupants of larger farms than twenty acres, a class too often deficient in the enduring industry indispensable for the successful prosecution of mountain improvements."
Book II. Chapter X. Section 2
47. There is, however, a partial counter-current, of which I have not seen any public notice. "A class of men, not very numerous, but sufficiently so to do much mischief, have, through the Landed Estates Court, got into possession of land in Ireland, who, of all classes, are least likely to recognise the duties of a landlord's position. These are small traders in towns, who by dint of sheer parsimony, frequently combined with money-lending at usurious rates, have succeeded, in the course of a long life, in scraping together as much money as will enable them to buy fifty or a hundred acres of land. These people never think of turning farmers, but, proud of their position as landlords, proceed to turn it to the utmost account. An instance of this kind came under my notice lately. The tenants on the property were, at the time of the purchase, some twelve years ago, in a tolerably comfortable state. Within that period their rent has been raised three several times; and it is now, as I am informed by the priest of the district, nearly double its amount at the commencement of the present proprietor's reign. The result is that the people, who were formerly in tolerable comfort, are now reduced to poverty: two of them have left the property and squatted near an adjacent turf bog, where they exist trusting for support to occasional jobs. If this man is not shot, he will injure himself through the deterioration of his property, but meantime he has been getting eight or ten per cent on his purchase-money. This is by no means a rare case. The scandal which such occurrences cause, casts its reflection on transactions of a wholly different and perfectly legitimate kind, where the removal of the tenants is simply an act of mercy for all parties.
"The anxiety of landlords to get rid of cottiers is also to some extent neutralized by the anxiety of middlemen to get them. About one-fourth of the whole land of Ireland is held under long leases; the rent received, when the lease is of long standing, being generally greatly under the real value of the land. It rarely happens that the land thus held is cultivated by the owner of the lease: instead of this, he sublets it at a rackrent to small men, and lives on the excess of the rent which he receives over that which he pays. Some of these leases are always running out; and as they draw towards their close, the middleman has no other interest in the land than, at any cost of permanent deterioration, to get the utmost out of it during the unexpired period of the term. For this purpose the small cottier tenants precisely answer his turn. Middlemen in this position are as anxious to obtain cottiers as tenants, as the landlords are to be rid of them; and the result is a transfer of this sort of tenant from one class of estates to the other. The movement is of limited dimensions, but it does exist, and so far as it exists, neutralizes the general tendency. Perhaps it may be thought that this system will reproduce itself; that the same motives which led to the existence of middlemen will perpetuate the class; but there is no danger of this. Landowners are now perfectly alive to the ruinous consequences of this system, however convenient for a time; and a clause against sub-letting is now becoming a matter of course in every lease."—(Private Communication from Professor Cairnes.)
Book II. Chapter XI. Section 1
49. [The present text of this paragraph dates from the 3rd ed. (1852). The original text ran, after the word "custom": "but the last is not a common case. A custom on the subject, even if established, could not easily maintain itself unaltered in any other than a stationary state of society. An increase or a falling off in the demand for labour, an increase or diminution of the labouring population, could hardly fail to engender a competition which would break down any custom respecting wages, by giving either to one side or to the other a strong direct interest in infringing it. We may at all events speak of the wages of labour as determined, in ordinary circumstances, by competition."]
Book II. Chapter XI. Section 2
52. See the historical sketch of the condition of the English peasantry, prepared from the best authorities, by Mr. William Thornton, in his work entitled Over-Population and its Remedy: a work honourably distinguished from most others which have been published in the present generation, by its rational treatment of questions affecting the economical condition of the labouring classes.
54. A similar, though not an equal, improvement in the standard of living took place among the labourers of England during the remarkable fifty years from 1715 to 1765, which were distinguished by such an extraordinary succession of fine harvests (the years of decided deficiency not exceeding five in all that period) that the average price of wheat during those years was much lower than during the previous half century. Mr. Malthus computes that on the average of sixty years preceding 1720, the labourer could purchase with a day's earnings only two-thirds of a peck of wheat, while from 1720 to 1750 he could purchase a whole peck. The average price of wheat, according to the Eton tables, for fifty years ending with 1715, was 41s. 7¾d. per quarter, and for the last twenty-three of these, 45s. 8d., while for the fifty years following, it was no more than 34s. 11d. So considerable an improvement in the condition of the labouring class, though arising from the accidents of seasons, yet continuing for more than a generation, had time to work a change in the habitual requirements of the labouring class; and this period is always noted as the date of "a marked improvement of the quality of the food consumed, and a decided elevation in the standard of their comforts and conveniences."—(Malthus, Principles of Political Economy, p. 225.) For the character of the period, see Mr. Tooke's excellent History of Prices, vol. i. pp. 38 to 61, and for the prices of corn, the Appendix to that work.
Book II. Chapter XI. Section 3
Book II. Chapter XI. Section 4
Book II. Chapter XI. Section 5
63. "In general," says Sismondi, "the number of masters in each corporation was fixed, and no one but a master could keep a shop, or buy and sell on his own account. Each master could only train a certain number of apprentices, whom he instructed in his trade; in some corporations he was only allowed one. Each master could also employ only a limited number of workmen, who were called companions, or journeymen; and in the trades in which he could only take one apprentice, he was only allowed to have one, or at most two, journeymen. No one was allowed to buy, sell, or work at a trade, unless he was either an apprentice, a journeyman, or a master; no one could become a journeyman without having served a given number of years as an apprentice, nor a master, unless he had served the same number of years as a journeyman, and unless he had also executed what was called his chef d'œuvre (masterpiece), a piece of work appointed in his trade, and which was to be judged of by the corporation. It is seen that this organization threw entirely into the hands of the masters the recruiting of the trade. They alone could take apprentices; but they were not compelled to take any; accordingly they required to be paid, often at a very high rate, for the favour; and a young man could not enter into a trade if he had not, at starting, the sum required to be paid for his apprenticeship, and the means necessary for his support during that apprenticeship; since for four, five, or seven years, all his work belonged to his master. His dependence on the master during that time was complete; for the master's will, or even caprice, could close the door of a lucrative profession upon him. After the apprentice became a journeyman he had a little more freedom; he could engage with any master he chose, or pass from one to another; and as the condition of a journeyman was only accessible through apprenticeship, he now began to profit by the monopoly from which he had previously suffered, and was almost sure of getting well paid for a work which no one else was allowed to perform. He depended, however, on the corporation for becoming a master, and did not, therefore, regard himself as being yet assured of his lot, or as having a permanent position. In general he did not marry until he had passed as a master.
"It is certain both in fact and in theory that the existence of trade corporations hindered, and could not but hinder, the birth of a superabundant population. By the statutes of almost all the guilds, a man could not pass as a master before the age of twenty-five; but if he had no capital of his own, if he had not made sufficient savings, he continued to work as a journeyman much longer; some, perhaps the majority of artisans, remained journeymen all their lives. There was, however, scarcely an instance of their marrying before they were received as masters; had they been so imprudent as to desire it, no father would have given his daughter to a man without a position."—Nouveaux Principes, book iv. ch. 10. See also Adam Smith, book i. ch. 10, part 2.
66. [The proposal was mentioned in the 1st ed. (1848); the Act was referred to in the 7th ed. (1871). For the Union Chargeability Act of 1865 and previous and subsequent legislation, see Majority Report of the Poor Law Commission (1909), Part iv. ch. 4.]
Book II. Chapter XI. Section 6
67. [The words here following in the original text: "Especially considering how much the Irish themselves contribute to it, by migrating to this country and underbidding its native inhabitants," were omitted from the 5th ed. (1862).]
69. [From the 3rd ed. (1852) was here omitted a paragraph of the original text criticising "the conduct, during ten important years, of a large portion of the Tory party" with regard to "an enactment" (the Poor Law Reform of 1834) "most salutary in principle, in which their own party had concurred, but of which their rivals were almost accidentally the nominal authors."]
Book II. Chapter XII. Section 2
Book II. Chapter XII. Section 3
72. [The present text dates only from the 7th ed. (1871). Until then it had read: "This deplorable system... has been abolished, and of this one abuse at least it may be said that nobody professes to wish for its revival."]
Book II. Chapter XII. Section 4
Book II. Chapter XIII. Section 1
76. [The remainder of this sentence appeared first in the 3rd ed. (1852). In the 1st and 2nd ed. (1848, 1849), the text ran: "Is it not to this hour the favourite recommendation for any parochial office bestowed by popular election to have a large family and to be unable to maintain them? Do not the candidates placard their intemperence upon walls, and publish it through the town in circulars?" Cf. Dickens, The Election for Beadle in Sketches by Boz, "Our Parish," ch. iv.]
77. Little improvement can be expected in morality until the producing large families is regarded with the same feelings as drunkenness or any other physical excess. But while the aristocracy and clergy are foremost to set the example of this kind of incontinence, what can be expected of the poor?
Book II. Chapter XIII. Section 2
Book II. Chapter XIII. Section 4
80. [The following sentences of the original text were omitted in the 3rd ed. (1852) from the beginning of this paragraph: "To the case of Ireland, in her present crisis of transition, colonization, as the exclusive remedy, is, I conceive, unsuitable. The Irish are nearly the worst adapted people in Europe for settlers in the wilderness: nor should the founders of nations, destined perhaps to be the most powerful in the world, be drawn principally from the least civilized and least improved inhabitants of old countries. It is most fortunate therefore that the unoccupied lands of Ireland herself afford a resource so nearly adequate to the emergency, as reduces emigration to a rank merely subsidiary. In England and Scotland, with a population much less excessive, and better adapted to a settler's life, colonization must be the chief resource for easing the labour market, and improving the condition of the existing generation of labourers so materially as to raise the permanent standard of habits in the generation following. But England too has waste lands, though less extensive than those of Ireland: and the second resource, &c."
Book II. Chapter XIV. Section 1
84. [This paragraph was inserted in the 3rd ed. (1852). At the same time the following paragraph disappeared from the preceding page: "There is no difficulty in understanding the operative principle in all these cases. If, with complete freedom of competition, labour of different degrees of desireableness were paid alike, competitors would crowd into the more attractive employments, and desert the less eligible, thus lowering wages in the first, and raising them in the second, until there would be such a difference of reward as to balance in common estimation the difference of eligibility. Under the unobstructed influence of competition, wages tend to adjust themselves in such a manner that the situation and prospects of the labourers in all employments shall be, in the general estimation, as nearly as possible on a par."]
Book II. Chapter XIV. Section 2
Book II. Chapter XIV. Section 3
Book II. Chapter XIV. Section 4
87. Four-fifths of the manufacturers of the Canton of Zurich are small farmers, generally proprietors of their farms. The cotton manufacture occupies either wholly or partially 23,000 people, nearly a tenth part of the population, and they consume a greater quantity of cotton per inhabitant than either France or England. See the Statistical Account of Zurich formerly cited, pp. 105, 108, 110.
Book II. Chapter XIV. Section 5
91. [Here the following passage was omitted from the 3rd ed.: "When an employment (as is the case with many trades) is divided into several parts, of some of which men alone are considered capable, while women or children are employed in the others, it is natural that those who cannot be dispensed with, should be able to make better terms for themselves than those who can."]
Book II. Chapter XIV. Section 6
92. [The present text of this paragraph dates from the 5th ed. (1862). In the original of 1848 it ran, after the words "this peculiar nature": "I find it impossible to wish, in the present state of the general habits of the people, that no such combinations existed. Acts of atrocity are sometimes committed by them, in the way... repressed: and even their legitimate liberty of refusing to work unless their own terms are conceded to them, they not unfrequently exercise in an injudicious, unenlightened manner, ultimately very injurious to themselves. But in so far as they do succeed in keeping up the wages of any trade by limiting its numbers, I look upon them as simply intrenching... themselves. And I should rejoice if by trade regulations, or even by trades unions, the employments thus specially protected could be multiplied to a much greater extent than experience has shown to be practicable. What at first sight seems the injustice... level. If indeed the general mass of the people were so improved in their standard of living, as not to press closer against the means of employment than those trades do; if, in other words, there were no greater degree of overcrowding outside the barrier, than within it—there would be no need of a barrier, and if it had any effects at all, they must be bad ones; but in that case the barrier would fall of itself, since there would no longer be any motive for keeping it up. On similar grounds, if there were no other escape from that fatal immigration of Irish, which has done and is doing so much to degrade the condition of our agricultural, and some classes of our town population, I should see no injustice, and the greatest possible expediency, in checking that destructive inroad by prohibitive laws. But there is a better mode of putting an end to this mischief, namely, by improving the condition of the Irish themselves; and England owes an atonement to Ireland for past injuries, which she ought to suffer almost any inconvenience rather than fail to make good, by using her power in as determined a manner for the elevation of that unfortunate people, as she used it through so many dreary centuries for their abasement and oppression."
In the 3rd ed. (1852) this was replaced by the following (which appeared also in the 4th (1857)): "their existence, it is probable, has, in time past, produced more good than evil. Putting aside the atrocities sometimes committed by them, in the way... themselves. The time, however, is past when the friends of human improvement can look with complacency on the attempts of small sections of the community, whether belonging to the labouring or any other class, to organize a separate class interest in antagonism to the general body of labourers, and to protect that interest by shutting out, even if only by a moral compulsion, all competitors from their more highly paid department. The mass of the people are no longer to be thrown out of the account, as too hopelessly brutal to be capable of benefiting themselves by any opening made for them, and sure only, if admitted into competition, to lower others to their own level. The aim of all efforts should now be, not to keep up the monopoly of separate knots of labourers against the rest, but to raise the moral state and social condition of the whole body; and of this it is an indispensable part that no one should be excluded from the superior advantages of any skilled employment, who has intelligence enough to learn it, and honesty enough to be entrusted with it."]
Book II. Chapter XV. Section 1
93. It is to be regretted that this word, in this sense, is not familiar to an English ear. French political economists enjoy a great advantage in being able to speak currently of les profits de l'entrepreneur.
Book II. Chapter XV. Section 2
Book II. Chapter XV. Section 3
96. [So from the 4th ed. (1857). In earlier editions: "this sort of combination exists; though individual interest is often too strong for its rules; nor, indeed, does the combination itself include the whole trade."]
Book II. Chapter XV. Section 4
Book II. Chapter XV. Section 5
Book II. Chapter XV. Section 7
102. [So from the 6th ed. (1865). The earlier editions ran: "the cost of labour to the capitalist is considerably lower than in Europe. It must be so, since the rate of profit is higher; as indicated by the rate of interest, which is six per cent at New York when it is three or three and a quarter per cent in London."]
Book II. Chapter XVI. Section 2
Book II. Chapter XVI. Section 4
Book II. Chapter XVI. Section 5
108. [So from the 5th ed. (1862). Until then the concluding sentence of the paragraph had been: "It would be difficult to show that the whole land of the country can yield a rent on any other supposition."]
Book II. Chapter XVI. Section 6