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• The reason,' says M. Cohadon, 'why it is impossible not to employ auxiliaries, is that you cannot turn back large orders-if you do, you lose your customers. In theory an association should employ its members only: in practice this is impossible. It is equally impossible to award to auxiliaries a share of profits. In the first place, how can you always be sure to make profits? And if there are losses, how can the auxiliaries be expected to take their share of these? It is inadmissible in principle that those who take no share in losses should take shares in profits.
If work people themselves,' says M. About, the moment they have to handle capital, adopt the received principles of social economy, it is because those principles are true.' No stricter enforcers of orthodox economical principles than associated workpeople, when their visual orbs are purged with the euphrasy and rue of self interest in enforcing them! M. Blaise, another practical man of the manufacturing region of the Vosges observes on this point:
'In the legal point of view, the rules which govern co-operative productive associations are identical with those which govern other employers of labour ; in a moral point of view, they proceed pretty much in the same manner. Like those, they employ wage-paid workpeople under the name of auxiliaries ; they pay them no more than others do, and no more guarantee them permanent employment. Nay, the workpeople complain of being more hardly dealt with by operative associations than by other employers. These societies, when their members possess those rare qualities, commercial, technical, and governmental, which secure success, are doubtless profitable to those who form them, or are admitted into them; but they constitute an addition to the previous body of employers; and even if their numbers multiplied to the utmost supposable extent, as they never can comprise more than a comparatively small fraction of the labouring class, they do not appear destined to exercise any considerable influence on the economic condition of the masses.'
If the contemplated industrial Utopia of the economical school at present in the ascendant might be comprised in the formula of every operative his own capitalist,' their contemplated agricultural Utopia might be formulated in like manner as 'every labourer his own landlord.'. Now that something may be done in the way of approximation to both these Utopias—that shares may be allotted to the savings of operatives in industrial establishments, and allowance made in extra pay for their extra exertions beyond the exigible day's tale of labour—that the agricultural labourer ought to be restored to the contact he has too generally in this country lost with the soil he cultivates, and supplied with a plot of ground sufficient to occupy his hours of leisure, and supplement his wages of labour at slack seasons
none none will deny who have duly noted the effects of what has been already done in these directions. By all means encourage the upward struggles of industry, exceeding in its efforts and energies the mere day-labour sufficiently remunerated by day-wages. But don't imagine that you can elevate all labourers into proprietors, whether of commercial or manufacturing establishments or landed estates. Don't imagine that if you can cut all Ireland up into cottier-crofts to-morrow (since merely to convert her half million tenant-farmers, according to Mr. Mill's recipe, into (mis-called) peasant-proprietors would be discovered the day after to be a measure not half revolutionary enough in the interest of the outlying majority of non-tenant labourers), you could ipso facto invest Irishmen with the indefatigable industry and skill for small culture transmitted from age to age among the Lilliputian landowners and still more Lilliputian tenant-farmers of East Flanders. It may further be affirmed that such enthusiastic English and Irish champions of peasant-proprietorship as Mr. Mill, Mr. Thornton, and Mr. Cliffe Leslie, have greatly exaggerated the agricultural regimen of Belgium as the paradise of peasant-proprietors. Their chief authority, M. de Laveleye, in his treatise on Belgium in the Cobden Club volume, by no means recommends the land system of Flanders to foreign imitation. On the contrary, he says expressly, the system of tenure of Jand in Flanders (the pet province of our exclusive enthusiasts of peasant-proprietorship) is anything but worthy of imitation. There are too many tenant-farmers, and too few peasant-proprietors; the leases are excessively short, and the rents exceedingly high.
Just the state of things Lord Dufferin had predicted that Mr. Mill's project for investing Irish tenantry with proprietary rights and powers over their present holdings infallibly would produce in Ireland :- .
'It is probable,' says Lord Dufferin, 'that within a very brief period of the new land settlement a considerable proportion of the original occupiers will have found it convenient to devolve their interest on others, under the conditions proposed by Mr. Mill. The community will then be divided into two important classes—peasant-landlords and peasant-tenants.
• In what respect would the then condition of affairs be an improvement on the present? You would not have got rid of "landlordism ;” you would only have substituted an innumerable crowd of needy landlords for the present more affluent proprietors. Evictions for non-payment of rent would be as rife as ever, for the necessities of those to whom the rent was due would preclude them from exercising the indulgence now extended to their tenants by the present proprietors; while dispossession for other causes, such as waste, extravagance, and bad management, would be multiplied in excess of the small proportion of those which are now effected in Ireland on such accounts.
English and Irish landlords,' says M. de Laveleye, do not put on the screw of a continual increase of rent with anything like the harshness habitual with Belgian landowners. ... The peasants of Flanders unfortunately will not leave their own province, and their intense competition for farms raises the rents in a manner ruinous to themselves. . . . In consequence of excessive competition, the Flemish farmer is much more ground down by his landlord than the Irish tenant.
There certainly was a curious felicity in the selection of Belgium by Messrs. Mill, Thornton, and Leslie, as exhibiting in the excellence of its culture and the wellbeing of its cultivators a Labour Utopia, to which legislation should seek to assimilate England and Ireland. Not one of the conditions which they affirm to be indispensable to good cultivation and the good condition of the cultivators can be affirmed with truth to prevail generally in Belgium ; every one of the characters of absolute proprietorship, facilities for summary eviction, and agrarian outrage (only that in Belgium agrarian outrage is suppressed, instead of being made political capital of), which they denounce as evidences of landlord law in Ireland, are equally to be found in Belgium. We find it stated in the Reports from our Ministers abroad, compiled from official documents, that in East and West Flanders, the provinces specially selected by our peasant-proprietary-fanciers, as exemplifying the agrarian regimen they would introduce at home, the land is almost entirely worked by tenants,' whereas in Luxemburg, where much of the land is poor and of but comparatively little value, it is mostly cultivated by proprietors. Taking the whole of the little kingdom, not half the land is retained in the hands of its proprietors, and it is further stated that 'the bulk of the land in the hands of owners consists of wood, wastes, &c.' Those parts of Belgium specially selected as illustrating by their skilled and careful cultivation the magic of property 'triumphing over all disadvantages of soil and climate, are precisely those parts which are neither owned by their cultivators, nor held on a tenure described as absolutely indispensable to encourage culture by its security. The peasant-proprietor is unknown in the Pays de Waes,' and very whimsical are the varieties of the truck system' inflicted on the farmers in that favoured district, where written leases do not exist,' and where one farmer very generally holds of several landlords, who are for the most part tradesmen in the neighbouring towns :
• The small as well as the large farmer is liable to have as landlords,
at one and the same time, a brewer, a grocer, a haberdasher, a manufacturer, a clockmaker, a publichouse keeper, a farmer, a doctor, a lawyer, a parish-priest (rarely owner of land), a Liberal, a Catholic. The brewer expects him to drink his beer-if he objects, he evicts him from the plot of land he holds of him, and lets it to a more profitable tenant: the grocer expects him to buy his coffee at his shop; his wife and daughters must dress well in order to please the haberdasher; he must purchase a watch and change it occasionally to please the watchmaker; he must assist his farmer-landlord in getting in his crops before he attends to his own; if he or his family do not require the doctor's attendance two or three times a year, the doctor seeks for a less healthy tenant.
About two-thirds of the arable lands of Belgium,' says Consul Grattan, "are cultivated by tenants.' A former Belgian Minister stated some years back, in a Report on the subject, that “it is in the poorer and more thinly inhabited districts that proprietors are the most apt to cultivate their own land,' and that 'in populous districts proprietors farming their own lands become coinparatively rare.'
If, in most parts of Belgium, .farming is carried on upon traditional principles,' and has become a sort of unimproving routine, the petty farmer has become an equally unimproving and equally rooted human vegetable. “In certain localities,' says Consul Grattan, taking as an example the province of East Flanders, where an excess of population brings with it increased rent and diminished wages, the remedy would seem to be in emigration; yet strong local attachments, added perhaps in some degree to jealousy of race, appear to prevent the Flemish peasant from removing even as far as the neighbouring Walloon province of Hainault, where the want of agricultural labourers forms a source of complaint, and is looked upon as a serious inconvenience.
. Although the rights of property,' says Mr. Wyndham, "are in some parts of Belgium (Pays de Waes, and in the immediate vicinity of Brussels, for instance,) exercised with little if any consideration for the tenant, the Government have hitherto abstained, and I have been assured always would abstain, from legislating upon the relations of landlords with their tenants, as to the granting of leases, raising rents, &c., considering that such action would be interfering with the individual rights of property. . . . No attempts have been made by Government to create or increase the number of freeholders in Belgium (beyond the endeavour which I have stated, to colonize the Campine, and which failed). Such a scheme is looked upon as impracticable, and as one which would only lead to forming a class of persons who would always be looking to Government for assistance.'
Vol. 131.-No. 261.
Let Mr. Mill ponder well this arertissement to administrative philanthropy, and take note of the details (which we have not space for here) of the failure of the Belgian Government in its Campine project of colonization, before he next proposes that the English Government should buy with public money, on public account, land coming into the market, to cut up into small holdings on the East Flanders model, or lease in larger portions to co-operative associationsof labourers. The Campine tenants,' says Mr. Wyndham, 'according to my informant, who was on the spot in charge of the works for irrigating the country, from the first considered themselves as Government pensioners; considered further that it was to the Government rather than to their own industry that they were thenceforth to look for a living; and moreover they turned to other purposes the subsidies which the Government gave to enable them to buy stock.'
After ten years' experiment' the Belgian Government had enough of it, put up the land and buildings to auction, and recovered about a sixth-part of what they had cost them. The purchaser at once evicted all the idle tenants he found upon the estate, granted six years' leases to other tenants (rather a long lease for Belgium), and converted the administrative failure into an improving private property.*
The exclusive partisans of peasant-proprietorship always conclude by citing the Channel Islands as the palmary instance of high prosperity produced by small culture. Mr. Mill says, “Of the efficiency and productiveness of agriculture on the small properties of the Channel Islands Mr. Thornton's " Plea for Peasant Proprietors, &c.,” produces ample evidence, the result of which he sums up as follows:
“ Thus it appears that in the two principal Channel Islands the agricultural population is in the one twice, and in the other three times as dense as in Britain; there being in the latter country only
* The Hon. T. J. Hovell Thurlow, in his volume entitled “Trades' Unions Abroad,' &c., gives the following account of the final results of the establishment by the Dutch Government of the four pauper colonies of Fredericks-oord, Willemsoord, Veenhuizen and Ommerschans:
Notwithstanding all the advantages these poor colonists have possessed, in having the idle eliminated from their ranks, and all their wants at the commencemer succeeded as a self-supporting institution. An item of charge in support of these pauper colonies (established in 1818, and meant to be self-supporting) is now of annual occurrence in the Badget of the Dutch Minister for the Home Department, and amounted in the Estimate for 1869 to 322,000 florins. As a means of reforming mendicity, and of raising the condition of the shall occupiers, the result has not been more successful than from a mere financial point of view. Barely five per cent. of the small occupiers are stated to have cleared themselves from the debt they incurred (on entering the colony) to the Commune they came from, and to the Society, and have been able after the first sixteen years to pay a moderate rent. By some the failure of this laudable attempt is attributed to too much being done for the Colonists--their not indeed being allowed to starve. .... The sudden creation of means of permanent relief, be they ateliers nationaux or pauper colonies, is the planting of a cancer in the body corporate of society-an institution of artificial origin, requiring artificial support, and representing ultimately purely artificial charity.'