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with capital will come towns, manufactures, large estatesaristocracy, a middle class, a labouring class, and the complicated social relations which belong to a rich civilized community.
On the other hand, in a country possessing abundant capital, the absence of small proprietors of land, though attended by considerable political inconvenience and danger-inconvenience and danger, perhaps, outweighing its economical advantages-is not inconsistent with general comfort and prosperity; and perhaps is a condition necessary to the greatest productiveness of labour, and greatest accumulation of wealth. In such a country, if the territory be considerable, a great, perhaps the greater portion of the existing capital is employed on the land, and the remainder in manufactures and commerce. The land is occupied in the divisions, and in the manner most conducive-not to the largest possible amount of produce—but to the largest in proportion to the labour employed on it. Agriculture becomes a business requiring a considerable capital, both fixed and circulating ; and as the landlord is unwilling to devote himself to the unremitted superintendence and constant bargaining which are required from a practical farmer, and the farmer will not sink his capital in the permanent improvement of another man's land, it becomes usual that almost all the buildings, drainage, and planting, and, in fact, the greater part of the fixed capital, should be supplied by the landlord, and only the circulating and perishable capital by the tenant. The ownership of land becomes, in a great measure, the luxury of the rich of those who can afford to possess a property requiring great occasional outlay-and therefore, unless when held in large masses, giving an uncertain revenue. The
occupancy of land falls into the hands of a class more numerous and less opulent than its owners, but who still, when compared with the bulk of the community, are few and wealthy. In England and Scotland, a farm of 250 acres, even of rich land, is not considered large: yet such a farm can seldom be well farmed by a tenant whose capital is much less than L.2000; and it will generally be found, that a much larger capital has been expended on it by the owner, in buildings and other works, which must, from time to time, be renewed by him. The landlord and tenant are partners; they have common feelings and common interests. The tenant is anxious to induce the land. lord to add to the fixed capital, in order that his own circulating capital may be more productive; the landlord is anxious to see the tenant's circulating capital increase, as it is the instrument by which his own fixed capital is made serviceable. The great body of the rural population are in the state which, in poor countries, is one of want almost approaching to destitution. They
are labourers dependent on daily or weekly wages; with scarcely any property except their clothes and furniture, and perhaps a pig or a small deposit in a Savings Bank, and without any land, except perhaps a small garden or allotment to cultivate in spare moments. Such a labouring population, however, if well educated and undepraved by the follies or the frauds of ill-administered poor-laws, may, in a rich country, attain a degree of comfort, superior to that of the small proprietors of a poor country. The agricultural labourers of the best parts of England are better clothed, better fed, better lodged, and better warmed, than the small proprietors of France, or even of Switzerland.
They form, however, only a minority. In the advanced state of agriculture, in which the labour of one family can raise the raw produce required by three or four, those who are not wanted in the country naturally collect in the towns, and devote themselves to manufactures and commerce. ductiveness of the labour of women and children in such occupations generally enables the work-people in towns to obtain, per head, a much larger income than can be obtained by an agricultural family; and this opens to them, if prudent and frugal, an indefinite prospect of advancement. Some of the richest families in Britain were, two generations or one generation ago, mere work-people, on daily or weekly wages.
Though the difference between the extremes is vast, the gradations of wealth are insensible. Who can say where the middle class in Great Britain begins or ends ? Every separate employment has within itself a higher, a lower, and an intermediate order. Every individual is striving to reach the step that for the time is immediately above him, and the whole community is in a state of ferment and struggle incompatible with content, and possibly unfavourable to happiness, but eminently productive of wealth, power, and intelligence.
But where there is little capital, and therefore few small proprietors, society is divided into the very rich and the very poor, with scarcely any intermediate class. The land is cut into small holdings, because it is only in small holdings that a tenant, without capital, can cultivate it. And this very subdivision renders the landlord often unable, and almost always unwilling, to employ on it capital of his own. The productiveness of his estate might be doubled by an extensive drainage ; but the consent, perhaps the co-operation of the tenants, is necessary; and a poor, ignorant, and suspicious population believe either that what is beneficial to their landlord must be mischievous to themselves, or, at least, that, if their consent is to be asked, it must be paid for. Their health and efficiency might be improved
by improving their residences; but he finds them ready to inhabit the hovels which they can raise with their own hands, and doubts whether, if he were to build for them, he would be repaid. The land which a family with little capital can cultivate, does not, except during a small part of the year, afford profitable employment for their whole time. If it were their own indeed, they might, and probably would, keep constantly at work on it, and so gradually improve it; but they have no motive to treat thus another man's land. As the supply of labour, except during the short busy seasons, is great, and the demand almost nothing-in other words, as almost every body is willing to be hired, and scarcely any body willing or able to hire—the wages of labour are very low, and employment, at any wages at all, is scarce and precarious. The whole rural population, therefore—and, where there is little capital, this is nearly the whole population—is thrown for support on the occupation of land.
It is absurd to complain, that under such circumstances rents are excessive--that every thing beyond a miserable subsistence is extorted from the tenant. The price of the use of land, like the price of every other commodity of limited supply, is fixed not by the seller, but by the purchaser. In England and Scotland the competition of the bidders for farms is limited by the amount of capital and skill required ; and is further limited by the general rate of profit. No one will knowingly offer a rent which does not allow him an average return for his capital. And as to the labourers, to them a bit of land is a luxury, like the possession of a small estate to a shopkeeper. If it comes in their way, they take it; but they will make no sacrifices to obtain it, and never look to it as a means of subsistence. But in a country in which every one who can find a landlord to accept him can be a farmer, and scarcely any one can be a labourer; where the three only alternatives are—the occupation of land, beggary, or famine--where there is nothing to repress competition, and every thing to inflame it—the treaty between landlord and tenant is not a calm bargain, in which the tenant, having offered what he thinks the land worth to him, cares little whether his offer be accepted ;-it is a struggle like the struggle to buy bread in a besieged town, or to buy water in an African caravan. It is a struggle in which the landlord is tempted by an extravagant rent; the agent, by fees or by bribes; the person in possession, by a premium to take him to another country; and rivals are scared away by threats, or punished by torture, mutilation, or murder. The successful competitor knows that he has engaged to pay a rent, which will swallow the surplus beyond the poorest maintenance for his family, that with his trifling stock he can force the land to produce. He knows that if he fails to pay he must expect ejectment, and that ejectment is beggary. He calculates how small a portion of his tenement, devoted to the most abundant variety of the most abundant species of food, will feed his family. He grows on that portion, in our climates, lumper potatoes, and cultivates on the remainder something better-not to consume, but to sell, in order to meet his rent. If, as is frequently the case, he has not been able to obtain land more than enough to supply his family with potatoes, he works out his rent by hiring himself to his landlord. Though his labour is rated at an almost nominal sum, it is generally dear to the landlord even at that price; partly because it is reluctant and inefficient, and partly because the landlord has little use for it, though he accepts it as the only substitute for his rent. If the potatoes of an individual fail, he sends out his wife and children to beg; if those of a district fail, there is a famine.
It must, we think, be admitted, that we have now described the state of the greater part of the South of Ireland; and, consequently, that we have made out our first proposition, that the Material evils of that country are owing to the want of capital, and the want of small proprietors.
When a country has fallen into this state, there seem to be three means, and only three, by which it can be extricated. First, a revolution subversive not merely of its government, and of its institutions, but of almost all its social relations ;-a revolution which should destroy or banish its aristocracy, confiscate their property, and convert the occupiers into proprietors; or, secondly, the generation of capital, by the industry and frugality of individuals; or, thirdly, the introduction of capital from abroad.
The first involves the certainty of the destruction of the happiness and morals of the existing generation. It involves the risk of a succession of revolutions terminating in anarchy, despotism, or subjugation—probably partition by foreign powers.
The second might require centuries. There are no classes that accumulate so slowly as small occupiers and landlords. The first want the power; the second the motive.
The third, the introduction of capital from abroad, if it could be adopted, would effect all that the optimist could desire. It would be a remedy operating tutò, citò, et jucunde. But it is a remedy to which scarcely any country has ever been able to have recourse. No great country, indeed, forming a separate community, with a government and institutions of its own, could resort to it. A sufficient number of capitalists willing to trust This again ap
their property to foreign laws and foreign management could not be found.
But if the community in question were a member of a large empire, of which the other portions were overflowing with capital, seeking employment—if it possessed rivers and harbours for commerce and mineral wealth, and water-power for manufactures; if, with an abundant supply of labour, and a fertile soil, its lands were only half cultivated_it seems, at first sight, probable---we had almost said certain—that its Material evils would rapidly find a remedy in the natural course of events. plies to Ireland. When her Material condition alone is considered, she appears to afford a field in which the surplus capital of England and Scotland might set to work her own surplus popuJation. The supply of labour in proportion to the demand is so . much greater in Ireland than in England or Scotland, that after allowing for the inferiority, for a time at least, of Irish labour, a considerable profit might be obtained by the establishment of manufactures. The land affords equal opportunities for profitable investment. The evidence collected in 1836 and 1837 by the Poor-law Commissioners shows, that at that time the land of Ireland, though four times as much labour as in England was expended on it, yet gave per acre only half what would have been the English produce. And when we recollect that the Irish husbandry is of the kind most favourable to a large gross produce ; and further, that the agriculture of England is still lamentably imperfect-far inferior to the ordinary agriculture of our Lowlands, which itself is far inferior to the best that is now practised, and still more to what may be expected-it must follow that the land of Ireland does not return a fourth, perhaps not an eighth, of what might be obtained from it by fair industry and competent skill. And yet these elements of wealth are left to waste. When British capitalists—omnibus modis trahunt, vexant pecuniam, nequeunt tamen vincere—send it to Spain, to Greece, to Turkey, to South America, and to the United States, at the mercy of barbarous, unsettled, or fraudulent governments, and of laws intended for the protection rather of the debtor than of the creditor; Ireland, under the same government and laws as England, and within a day's post of London, has received, during the last twenty years, a less amount of British capital than that which has crossed the Atlantic! It is obvious that some deepseated obstacle must intervene. It is obvious that there is something in the institutions of Ireland, or in the habits of her people, which deters British capital from one of its most natural, and apparently one of its most productive employments. It is obvious, in short, that it must be the Moral evils of Ireland which