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deficiency. The importation and distribution of food under the direction or control of the proper official department, was so judiciously managed as to prevent much actual suffering. The French rulers and politicians have been thought, and we suppose with some justice, to be affected with the mania of governing too much; but we believe this extraordinary exerercise of authority was an unequivocal benefit.
"Few things have struck me more forcibly than the difference in the agricultural population of France and that of Great Britain, a subject to which I have already referred. I have never seen a more healthy, a better clad, or a happier population than the French peasantry. Something may be ascribed to their nat urally cheerful temperament, and something to that extraordinary sobriety which every where, in a remarkable degree, characterizes the French people; but much more to the favorable condition in which this law of distribution, which renders attainable the possession of a freehold in the soil, places them."
"No observing American comes from the United States to Europe, without soon becoming convinced that economy of living is nowhere so little understood as in his own country; and that for nothing are the Americans more distinguished than for a reckless waste of the means of subsistence. The refuse of many a family in the United States, even in moderate circumstances, would often support in comfort a poor family in Europe."
"The inhabitants of the United States enjoy an abundance for which they cannot be too grateful; but which is very little understood in Europe, where, with a large portion of the population, including many in the middle condition of life, it is a constant struggle to live and to bring even their necessary expenditure within their restricted means, and where the constant inquiry is, not what they want, but what they can afford; not what they will have, but what they can do without."
One of the most remarkable features in the agricultural and social system of England is the small number of landholders. In a former number of this Review we have made some remarks on the law and custom of primogeniture, one of the most obvious causes which have contributed to produce this effect. But there are other causes which must have had an important bearing on this subject, and among these are especially to be enumerated the want of a public registry of deeds conveying real estate, and the enormous expense attending the sale of land. The expense of conveying a small parcel of
*See No. VII., p. 344, et seq.
land would often be more than the value of the land itself. Of course there are few instances of a transfer of title, except where the amount is large.
The Edinburgh Review lately remarked —
"We bitterly regret our execrable system of tenures, by making the legal forms attending the sale and purchase of a small piece of ground cost more than the value of the thing which they convey, and our execrable poor-law system, by denying employment to a man who is supposed to be able to exist without it, have destroyed the small properties of England. We believe that if we could call into existence the English yeoman, we should add to our social system a most valuable member. We believe that the relics of that race, the Cumberland and Westmoreland statesmen, are the best agricultural population in Great Britain."
It is not easy to ascertain how many land owners there may be now in England; at least, we have seen no statements of the number on which much reliance is to be placed. It is known, however, that they are rapidly diminishing. Some English statements that we have seen make the whole number of proprietors of land in the United Kingdom less than twenty thousand. But this must be far too low, and probably less than one half of the actual number.
In the United States, perhaps nothing has more contributed to the prosperity of the people than our system of landed property, the facility and cheapness of conveying any real estate, and the security given to land titles by a public registry of deeds. Here the expense of conveying the smallest property in land is so trifling as to be no obstacle to the sale. Our system of disposing of the public lands is probably the best ever adopted in any conntry, and has contributed essentially to the unexampled growth of the new states.
From the English system of agriculture we may expect more splendid results, more extensive and rapid improvements, and a much greater surplus of food and other agricultural produce beyond the wants of the agricultural population for the consumption of the other classes. The French and American agriculturalists may themselves consume, on an average, from one-half to two-thirds of the produce of their farms. The English agricultural class, in Great Britain, not more than from one fourth to one third.
The English system will produce a much greater net income from the land for somebody. The same number of agricultural
laborers accomplish more and spend less. By means of large farms, abundant capital, an unsparing use of machinery, and cheap labor, the product beyond the cost of production will be much greater, and of course there will be a much greater surplus or profit for somebody or other; that is, for the landholders, the large farmers, and receivers of tithes, whether lay or ecclesiastic. In general, there will be a much larger amount or disposable surplus annually, either to be invested. as capital in railroads, foreign loans, or agricultural improvements, or to be expended in building costly mansions and forming parks and pleasure-grounds, or in the promotion of science, literature, and the liberal and elegant arts, or to be squandered at Newmarket or Crockfords, at Paris, Rome, or Naples.
The landholders, tenant farmers, and clergy will undoubt edly have their maintenance from the land; but after a liberal allowance for their expenditure, we believe there will be a much greater surplus to be invested or squandered than in the case of any other agricultural population of equal numbers.
The American system, we speak of the free states, - where the land is chiefly cultivated by the owners in comparatively small farms, gives a more comfortable livelihood to the agricul tural population, more ease, security, and independence, and in the long run may be better for the whole nation, as well as for the agricultural class. On this system a much larger proportion of the products of agriculture is consumed by those who perform its labors, and of course a much smaller proportion is left for the rest of the community. The American farmers, or the population concerned in agriculture, constitute the great bulk of the nation, and produce not only enough for the wants of our community, but a large surplus for exportation. But they produce less in proportion to their numbers, and a much larger proportion of the community must be employed in this way to furnish food and other agricultural produce for the whole.
The great objection to the English system, is the condition of the laborers. It is natural to wish that those who perform the work should have a larger share of the product, and that in such a rich and flourishing agriculture, those who endure the toil should get something more than a bare subsistence. We suppose this to be a necessary part of the English social system, and that all possible advantages of society cannot be united in any one form. The advantages of the social sys
tem of England are many and great, but they appear to us to be dearly purchased, at the expense of a large portion of the laboring classes.
In conclusion, we think Mr. Colman's work a very valuable acquisition to our knowledge of European agriculture. Few men have the talent of describing what they have seen with so much life and accuracy, or of writing with such facility and perspicuity. The warmth of his benevolence, and his sympathy with the laboring classes add much to the interest of the reader. Our limits permit us to give only a very imperfect idea of the extent and value of the work, which, we presume, will be read not only by practical and speculative farmers, but also by those who are interested in the social systems of the most enlightened states of Europe.
Thus far we had written prior to the decease of the lamented author, whose work we have been considering. The many testimonies to his worth that have appeared in various parts of our country, render it unnecessary for us to dwell here on his character and the loss our community has sustained.
To show the estimation in which he was held abroad, in the country where he resided so long as to be well known and appreciated, we give the following extract of a letter to a gentleman in this city, from a noble friend of Mr. Colman's, eminent in political life, and distinguished for his improvements in agriculture.
"MY DEAR SIR:-I am sure you will have heard with the deepest regret of poor Colman's death. Here we all lament it, as we should that of our habitual and oldest friend, so entirely was he regarded in our respective family circles as one of ourselves. I never knew any foreigner so identified with us and our habits and so entirely adopted by the country. And yet there was no lack of independence of thought and action, and of avowed preference of most things, both in civil and social life, in his own country. He was so candid, and true, and honest, and so fond of these qualities in others; and with great talents, there was so charming a simplicity of character about him that he won on every body he approached. There is no exaggeration in his printed letters, in which he so often speaks of the innumerable solicitations he received from persons in every part of England to visit them. All who had once received him wished a repetition of the pleasure, and the report caused him to be coveted by others. All these qualities, with his passion for our favorite pursuit, Agriculture, gave him the key of every house among all ranks. He really is a very great loss. His circulation among
us did great good. I have read his letters with much interest. There is in them a great deal that is admirable in feeling and in style. They are much read here, and will have a permanent place in the libraries of all who knew him, and of many who did
We hardly know where to look for his superior in active benevolence, or in a fervent and enlightened piety, in a sin cere zeal to promote the well being of all his fellow-men, without distinction of party or sect, and especially for the moral and mental advancement of any portion of the human race, within the sphere of his influence.
ART. VI. THE FINANCIAL CONDITION OF RUSSIA.
WHOEVER undertakes to speak of the financial condition of Russia, finds a difficult task before him. In a country where all that relates to the affairs of government is made public only so far as it serves the policy of the imperial cabinet; where the authorities themselves, for various reasons, cannot place confidence in official statements; where, besides, the truth is continually, intentionally, and unhesitatingly sacrificed to specious and splendid appearances, there it must always be difficult in general to speak with certainty. But in Russia a veil of lies and deceit has been designedly and diligently drawn over all that relates to the finances. How, then, can a private man arrive at certain results?
Be assured we have lost no opportunity of obtaining infor mation. We have been able to ascertain some facts pertaining to the department of finance, but the results of all the numerous communications thereon still amount only to views, opinions, and conjectures; at the most only to the most general glimpses into the finances. Russia owes large sums to England, and makes statements of her financial condition from time to time; but there is a very strong suspicion that these statements are deceitful. It is highly probable that nobody but the Minister of Finance, in whose hands all the several threads of this wide extended system are united- could, if he were so inclined, give more accurate information than we have now to offer. But it is probable that no statement from