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more serf tenants than are sufficient for the cultivation of his domair ; and he refuses allotments of land to any greater number, or perhaps forbids them to marry. The power of doing this at one time or other existed as a legal right wherever labour rents have prevailed. The owner of a domain cultivated by metayers has an interest in not multiplying his tenants, and the mouths to be fed, beyond the number necessary to its complete cultivation. When he refuses to subdivide the ground further, fresh families can find no home, and the increase of the aggregate numbers of the people is checked. The thinness of the population in ryot countries is ordinarily caused by the vices and violence of the government, and there is no question that this is what keeps so large a portion of Asia ill-peopled or desolate. But when cottier rents have established themselves, the influence of the landlord is not exerted to check the multiplication of the peasant cultivators till an extreme case arrives. The first effects of the increasing numbers of the people, that is, the more ardent competition for allotments, and the general rise of rents, seem for a time unquestionable advantages to the landlords, and they have no direct or obvious motive to refuse further subdivision, or to interfere with the settlement of fresh families, till the evident impossibility of getting the stipulated rents, and perhaps the turbulence of peasants starving on insufficient patches of land, warn the proprietors that the time is come, when their own interests imperiously require that the multiplication of the tenantry should be moderated. We know, however, from the instance of Ireland, the only one on a large scale open to our observation, that, while rents are actually rising, a conviction that their nominal increase is preparing a real diminution comes slowly, and is received reluctantly; and that before such a conviction begins to be generally acted upon, the cultivators may be reduced to a situation, in which they are both wretched and dangerous.

The tardiness with which landlords exert their influence in repressing the multiplication of the people, must be ranked then among the disadvantages of the cottier, when compared with serf or metayer rents.

The second disadvantage is the want of any influence of custom and prescription, in keeping the terms of the contract between the proprietors and their tenantry steady and fixed.

In surveying the habits of a serf or metayer country, we are usually



able to trace some effects of ancient usage. The number of days' labour performed for the landlord by the serf remains the same, from generation to generation, in all the provinces of considerable empires. The metayer derived his old name of Colonus Medietarius from taking half the produce; and half the produce we see still his usual portion, throughout large districts containing soils of very different qualities. It is true that the influence of ancient usage does not always protect the tenant from want or oppression; its tendency, however, is decidedly, in his favour. But cottier rents, contracted to be paid in money, must vary in nominal amount with the variations in the price of produce : after change has become habitual, all traces of a rent, considered equitable because it is prescriptive, are wholly lost, and each bargain is determined by competition.

There can be little doubt that the tendency to constancy in the terms of their contract, observable in serf and metayer countries, is on the whole a protection to the cultivators; and that change and competition, common amongst cottiers, are disadvantageous to them.

The third disadvantage of cottier rents is the absence of such a direct and obvious common interest between landlord and tenant, as might secure to the cultivator assistance when in distress.

There can be no case in which there is not, in reality, a community of interest between the proprietors of the soil and those who cultivate it; but their common interest in the other forms of peasant holding is more direct and obvious, and therefore more influential,


the habits and feelings of both tenants and landlords. The owner of a serf relies upon

the labour of his tenants for producing his own subsistence, and when his tenant becomes a more inefficient instrument of cultivation, he sustains a loss. The owner of a metairie, who takes a proportion of the produce, cannot but see that the energy and efficiency of his tenant are his own gain : languid and imperfect cultivation his loss, The serf, therefore, relies upon his lord's sense of interest, or feelings of kindness, for assistance, if his crops fail, or calamity overtakes him in any shape, and he seldom is repulsed or deceived. This half-recog. nised claim to assistance seems, we know, occasionally, so valuable to the serfs, that they have rejected freedom from the fear of losing it. The metayers receive constantly loans of food and other assistance from the landlord, when from any causes their own resources fail. The fear of losing their stock, their revenue, and all the advances already made, prevent the most reluctant landlords from withholding aid on such occasions. Even the ryot, miserable as he ordinarily is, and great as is the distance which separates him from the sovereign proprietor, is not always without some share in these advantages. His exertions are felt to be the great source of the revenue of the state, and under tolerably well regulated governments, the importance is felt and admitted of aiding the cultivators when distressed, by forbearance, and sometimes by advances. The interests of the cottier tenant are less obviously identified with those of the proprietor: changes of tenants, and variations of rent, are common occurrences; and the removal of an unlucky adventurer, and the acceptance of a more sanguine bidder, are expedients more easy and palatable to the proprietors than that of mixing themselves up with the risks and burdens of cultivation by advances to their tenants. In the highlands of Scotland, indeed, the chief assisted his clan largely. They were his kinsmen and defenders, bound to him by ties of blood, and the guardians of his personal safety. The habits engendered while these feelings were fresh are not yet worn out. But the cottier, merely as such, the Irish cottier for instance, has no such hold on the sympathies of his landlord; and there can be no question that, of the various classes of peasant tenantry, they stand the most thoroughly desolate and alone in the time of calamity; that they have the least protection from the ordinary effects of disastrous reverses, or of the failure of their scanty resources from




Such are the disadvantages of this the least extensive system of peasant rents. The principal advantage the cottier derives from his form of tenure is the great facility with which, when circumstances are favourable to him, he changes altogether his condition in society. In serf, metayer, or ryot countries, extensive changes must take place in the whole frame-work of society, before the peasants become capitalists, and independent farmers. The serf has many stages to go through before he arrives at this point. The metayer, too, must become the owner of the stock on his farm, and be able to undertake to pay a money rent.

Both changes take place slowly and with difficulty, especially the last, the substitution of money rents, which supposes a considerable previous improvement in the internal commerce of the nation, and is ordinarily the result, not the commencement, of improvement in the condition of the cultivators. But the cottier is already the owner of his own stock, he exists in a society in which the power of paying money rents is already established. If he thrives in his occupation, there is nothing to prevent his enlarging his holding, increasing his stock, and becoming a capitalist, and a farmer in the proper sense of the word. It is pleasing to hear the resident Irish landlords who have taken some pains, and made some sacrifices, to improve the character and condition of their tenantry, bearing their testimony to this fact, and stating the rapidity with which some of the cottiers have, under their auspices, acquired stock, and become small farmers. Most of the countries occupied by metayers, serfs, and ryots, will probably contain a similar race of tenantry for some ages. If the events of the next half century are favourable to Ireland, her cottiers are likely to disappear, and to be merged in a very different race of cultivators. This facility for gliding out of their actual condition to a higher and a better is an advantage, and a very great advantage, of the cottier over the other systems of peasant rents, and atones for some of its gloomier features.

Making allowances for the peculiarities pointed out, the effects of cottier rents on the wages of labour, and other relations of society, will be similar to those of other peasant rents. The quantity of produce being determined by the fertility of the soil, the extent of the allotment, and the skill and industry of the cottier; the division of that produce on which his wages depend is determined by his contract with the landlord, and by the rent he pays. And again, the whole amount of produce being determined as before, the landlord's share, the rent, depends upon the maintenance left to the peasant, that is, upon his wages.

The existence of rent under a system of cottier tenants is in no degree dependent upon the existence of different qualities of soil, or of different returns to the stock and labour employed. Where, as has been repeatedly observed, no funds sufficient to support the body of the labourers are in existence, they must raise food themselves from the earth or starve; and this circumstance would make them tributary to the landlords, and give rise to rents, and, as their number in. creased, to very high rents, though all the lands were perfectly equal in quality

Cottier rents, like other peasant rents, may increase from two causes ; first, from an increase of the whole produce, of which increase the landlord takes the whole or a part; or, the produce remaining stationary, they may increase from an augmentation of the landlord's share, that of the tenant being diminished to the exact amount of the additional rent.

When the rent increases and the produce remains stationary, the increase of rent indicates no increase of the riches and revenue of the country : there has been a transfer of wealth, but no addition to it: one party is impoverished to the precise amount to which another is enriched.

When, on the other hand, increased rents are paid by increased produce, there is an addition to the wealth of the country; not a mere transfer of that already existing, the country is richer to the extent, at least, of the increased rent; and, probably, to a greater extent, from the increased revenues of the cultivators.

It is obviously the interest of the landlord of cottier, as of other peasant tenants, that an increase of his rents should always originate in the prosperity of cultivation, not in pressure on the tenants. The power of increase from the last source is very limited, from improvement indefinite.

It is clearly too the interest of the landlord that the cottier tenantry should be replaced by capitalists, capable of pushing cultivation to the full extent to which both skill and means can carry it, instead of the land being entrusted to the hands of mere labourers struggling to exist, unable to improve, and, when much impoverished by competition, degraded, turbulent, and dangerous.


D'AUBIGNÉ. [THE · History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century,' by J. H. Merle D’Aubigné, D.D., President of the Theological School of Geneva, and Vice-President of the Société Evangélique, is amongst the most popular of modern books. The work is not yet complete. Our extract is from the authorized translation of the first four vo

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