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cess, if the manufacturing and commercial interests are not brought to throw in their quota both of wealth and sway, to alleviate the present burden of the poor laws.
I have thus stated all that occurs to me on this very interesting article in your 720 Number; and conclude with a repetition of my earnest wish that your humane and enlightened views may meet the full degree of support and success they deserve. As far as this particular measure goes, and a great way in this special branch of civil policy it does go, I do not know that I can frame a better wish for my country.
does aloes, and success the
On the remaining article in your Review that I have named in my title-page, that " on planting waste lands," I have but little to say beyond expressing the general interest with which I read it, because I am not able to estimate adequately either the full extent of your plan to the planter, or the value of the picturesque effect produced to the country at large. It is only in its connexion with the subjects of the two preceding articles, and the remarks I have built on them, that I can venture to touch it; viz. as an extensive source of employment to the poor out of work. If the present state of agriculture is considered, with the burdens on it, it seems out of the question to anticipate that any adequate encouragement can be now held out to a cultivator of waste land for production of the ordinary fruits of the earth, even if the population of the country stood in need of increased cultivation, which I presume from appearances and from the state of prices it does not. If therefore waste land is at present to be brought into a productive state, planting seems if not the only, at least the most obvious mode of doing it: and as far as I am able to judge, you have offered more than enough to encourage the experiment. The · profit, with any thing like prudent management, seems pretty certain ; the collateral advantages to agriculture considerable; and in point of picturesque appearance, it cannot need the eye of a painter to be convinced of the vast advantage of a country spotted with woods and coppices over a dreary waste without any single object of interest for several miles. In every point of view, therefore, it seems to hold out encouragement to the proprietor of land, whether as a speculator (without any very great risk), a patriot, or a man of taste. Not to mention with regard to patriotic views in particular; that anything calculated to strengthen one of the main bulwarks of our country, the navy, as encouraging the growth of timber obviously is, is an object well worthy the attention, and calculated to rouse the energies of the enlightened patriot. But to all this the single view I am now going briefly to take of it, adds one more great advantage--it is a source of employment to
the unemployed poor. Few men in health amongst the laboring poor can be so ignorant of the use of a spade, as not to be able to dig a hole to put a tree into; and the nicer departments of draining, fencing, &c. might be left to abler hands. Even if an opulent and well-disposed landowner should undertake planting in a parish where there was no very great want of work, there are few districts in which adjoining parishes may not be found within reasonable distance, that might be sensibly benefited by a draft of laborers from them to such work. If it had no other use than in some cases accustoming the manufacturing laborer to a knowlege of the use of the spade, it would be conferring a vast benefit on the community, in furnishing him with the means of turning his hand to other work, when his own regular employment was not to be had. In this point of view, if the owner of waste land can at once improve his property, beautify his estate and the surrounding country, and open a door of employment to the unemployed poor ; it should seem as if nothing but want of capital, want of energy, or want of public spirit and enterprise, could stand in the way of such an experiment.
As it seems evident that the present state of agriculture forbids all immediate prospect of the enclosure of waste land for the growth of grain and the propagation of cattle, there is one species of property which appears to demand attention in this particular point of view-I mean waste land belonging to clergymen in right of their benefices. I suspect there may be a good deal of land throughout the kingdom of this description : though I may possibly be adverting to a case not so common as I imagine, from the circumstance of being myself, as already stated, the owner of a tract of land of this description, in right of my vicarage. As it seems clear, both from your remarks and from common sense, that the planting of waste lands to any extent must require considerable expenditure at first, for which a mere lifeholder might often not be able to calculate on a return (not to mention the actual unprofitableness of the land itself in the mean time); I would submit the wisdom of enacting, that, in the case of the property I am now on (provided it is of sufficient extent to warrant legislative enactment), clergymen be allowed to take up money on mortgage on their livings for planting waste lands, in the same way that they can now for building parsonage-houses, &c. An allowance should be made, too, out of the money raised to the planting incumbent, for the loss of rent he sustains whilst the land remains unprofitable : whilst, on the other hand, both he and his successor should be restricted to their proportion of cutting down and selling. The sum thus allowed to be raised should be limited to the cost of a certain number of acres, at an average sum, say perhaps not exceeding onetenth of the waste glebe. Without some such provision as this, it cannot reasonably be expected that such waste land as belongs to benefices can be brought under this description of management. I have only one more point to advert to, in close connexion with the subject now before us, and it is this:—Even if waste planting cannot always be introduced, I wish at least that waste land could be partially applied to assist in teaching manufacturing laborers, when out of work, the use of the spade and hoe. And even if waste land be not exclusively applied to this purpose, there might possibly be encouragement to the agriculturist to encourage spadehusbandry on land of better quality, for the sake of supplying occasional employ to this class of the poor population; as it would do to an incredible extent, whenever it was practicable. In fact, in those districts it would employ at once the whole laboring population. When the savings in stock, in implements, and in poor's rates are put together, it might perhaps appear to be much more worth the farmer’s while to turn his mind to this mode of tilling some of his land, than is commonly imagined. I am not prepared to offer any hints in detail on this subject, though I have heard intelligent practical persons speak strongly in favor of it. I simply throw it out here in a general way, as an extension of your principle of “planting waste land” in the particular shape I have viewed it, not unworthy of consideration. I have thus completed my reflections such as they are, occasioned by the three articles in your Review, which I have adverted to. But for these articles, I think I may safely say the present observations would never have assumed the features of minute detail they now do : such as they are, I lay them before you, Sir, and the public. Most heartily shall I rejoice, should they tend in their measure to throw light on a subject which I am confident now claims the attention of the legislator, the civil economist, the moralist, and I may even with safety add, the divine. Would that these united classes may construct a plan worthy of the nation's confidence, and entitled to the nation's prompt and vigorous adoption : Three things, I think, must appear manifest from your articles and these remarks.-First, That whatever depresses agriculture in an unreasonable degree, is a most serious injury to the community at large.—Secondly, That the manufacturing and commercial interests, especially the former, must find their real interest in not declining to aid, both by increased pecuniary contribution and increased deliberation, measures to relieve the burdens of the poor. —And, lastly, That no hope is to be entertained of having a strictly religious, moral, useful, and serviceable poor population, till they can be awakened to a sense of the credit and advantage of sup
porting themselves, rather than being supported by others.-If these maxims be true, enough has been said to entitle the present subject to the deepest consideration of every lover of his country.
I am, with great respect, Sir,
FRANCIS MEREWETHER. Cole Orton Rectory, February 1, 1828.
Postscript.—The case of the township of Thringstone, within the parish of Whitwick, deserves to be noticed, in connexion with the remarks from pp. 154—157. In this township, consisting of about 870 acres, nearly £800 will be raised for the poor this year; that is, almost a pound an acre. The population, too, is almost of the same description as that of Whitwick: only that there are a few, though but a few, more opulent landholders and others; and the land of this township is certainly for the most part better.
THE LAW OF THE COUNTRY;
DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 1828.
MR. BROUGHAM rose to bring forward his motion touching the State of the Law in this country, and spoke to the following effect:
Sir,--In bringing before the House certainly one of the most important subjects which can possibly interest the legislature, I feel deeply impressed with the consideration, that it is one of the most difficult, and the largest, to which their attention could be drawn. I stand engaged to bring before the House the state of the common law of England-the common law, as contradistinguished from the equity administration in certain parts of the judicial system-with the view of pointing out the defects which existed in its original structure, or which have subsequently been introduced into it by the gradual operation of time, as well as of suggesting the remedies which, in both cases, are applicable to its correction. In undertaking so difficult a task, nothing strengthens me, or bears me up so much, as the consideration that parts of this system have long ceased to be venerated, have been touched with a view to improvement, and are now in the hands of those who will do the necessary justice to their several undertakings. I feel, too, supported by the conviction, that this inquiry is no longer to be avoided, and that I can approach the subject with the respect to which venerable institutions are entitled ; and that, above all, I can come to the discussion without uttering one word tending to hurt the feelings of any of the classes in whose hands