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ber it will not be received without a heavier amount of interest, and certain expenses. If the parties do not pay by that time, notice is given on the door of the Court House of Ely, that the lands are in arrears for the tax, and if this publication do not enforce compliance, notice is given of the lands in default in the Cambridge and other local papers, a certain time before the annual meeting of the trustees at Ely, in the month of March. If by that day the tax, with interest, and all incidental expenses, is not paid, the lands are set up to a sort of Dutch auction.
The amount to be paid is a fixed quantity, and the biddings being for so much of the land as the bidders are willing to take for it, biddings gradually fall till the last bidder is he who offers to take the minimum quantity of land. He is then put into possession by the trustees, and his title is absolute against the world, the Court of Chancery, or any other court, not being allowed to molest him. There is no trouble in recovering the rates. There is no distraining of tenants, no scenes of any kind, and the tenants may, if they like, attorn to the new purchaser, and hold on in undisturbed possession. This system is better than that of the United States, where the purchase is liable for the space of two years to be redeemed by the former owner on payment of the purchase money, with interest at twenty per cent per annum, and where also his title is liable to be defeated for non-compliance with certain of the preliminary formalities.
Another just mode of forcing the owners of wastes into cultivation, would be to impose a fair share of any additional war taxes upon them, in the shape of a tax on every acre tilled or untilled in the island, with a like summary power of sale.
By the present system of taxation nearly all the excise duties are borne by the small portion of land in tillage, the pasture and waste being favoured by exemption from taxes. Indeed, the excise duties are borne almost exclusively by the one-ninth of the surface of the island, whose produce forms the basis of the malt and spirit duties. Thus the excise duties in 1854 were £1,865,385 : 9:41, of which £1,479,964 : 8 : 69 arose from spirits, and £210,005:1:87 from malt, while only 2,330,731 acres were under oats, barley, bere, rye, &c. If these duties were abolished, and an acreable land tax were imposed in lieu of them, it would, in addition to freeing industry from
restrictions, and restoring a just equality of taxation, force quantities of the wastes into the market, and consequently into cultivation.
But the main measure should be a recognition of the principle that tillage is of as much importance to society as travelling, and the application of the Land Clauses Consolidation Act to the compulsory taking of land for cultivation as well as for the making of roads, railways, canals, harbours, and other public objects, and the authorising of, not merely a joint stock company of “adventurers,” but any one" adventurer," who wanted to reclaim a surface waste, to do what he may do in a mining waste of Cornwall or Derbyshire, go and mark out by metes and bounds so much of it as he may be reasonably considered competent to work and manage, register the claim" in a land office of the locality, and invite the sheriff and a jury, or an arbitrator under the provisions of the above statute, to assess the value of the fee simple, and on payment thereof to have the same transferred to him and his heirs for ever, without further form or question. “Of the perfect competence of Parliament to direct some arrangement of this kind there can be no question. An authority which compels individuals to part with their most valued property on the slightest pretext of public convenience, and permits railway proprietors to throw down family mansions, and cut up favourite pleasure grounds, need not be very scrupulous about forcing a sale of boggy meadows or mountain pastures, in order to obtain the means of curing the destitution and misery of an entire people.
Paley, who thinks that the first rule of national policy requires that the occupier should have "sufficient power over the soil for its perfect cultivation," and that “it is indifferent to the public in whose hands this power resides, if it be rightly used; it matters not to whom the land belongs if it be well cultivated,” disapproves of "conditions of tenure, which condemn the land itself to perpetual sterility," and contends that an Act for abolishing such a state of things, "whilst it has in view the melioration of the soil, and tenders an equitable compensation for every right that it takes away, is neither more arbitrary nor more dangerous to the stability of pro
* Thornton cited with Approbation in Mill, vol. i. p. 411.
perty than that which is done in the construction of roads, bridges, embankments, navigable canals, and, indeed, in almost every public work, in which private owners of property are obliged to accept that price for their property which an indifferent jury may award.”'i
We feel certain that such a measure as we have suggested would be amply sufficient, without any government aids or advances, and that under its operation the peasantry would buy up and reclaim the wastes, and recur to the practice, from which the earliest of our colonists derived the name of Firbolgs, and would soon restore our bogs and mountains to the fertility for which they were anciently celebrated. There may be many other modes of bringing these wastes into cultivation. We have confined ourselves to pointing out a few of the most effective. We do not dwell on the importance to the empire of keeping this island in the hands of a large population engaged in agriculture, as a nursery for soldiers to fight its battles, and a sort of market-garden, or outfarm, to supply its manufacturers with provisions. These, and a thousand other advantages of the suggestions which we have proposed, are obvious enough. We know too that the present Chief Secretary formerly entertained and avowed right opinions on this subject, The antecedents of the Lord Lieutenant would also lead one to think that he could not be indifferent respecting it. Still we can scarcely hope that their good intentions will not be thwarted by the mischievous jobbers, the genii loci, of the Castle, and that the unaccountable and wonderful folly which has marked the career of our masters from the beginning will not continue to mark it to the end of the chapter.
+ Moral and Political Philosophy, p. 425.
Art. III.1. Evidence, before the Committee of the House of Commons
on Juvenile Crime. 2. Mettray. A Lecture read before the Leeds Philosophical and
Literary Society, by Robert Harl, M.A., Recorder of Doncaster.
W. and F. G. Cash. 3. Letters of the Lord Abbot of St. Bernard's as to Establishment of a
Reformatory School Weekly Register.
REAT Britain, riding on the crest of the wave of
commercial prosperity, sees, at the same moment, immediately beneath her the yawning trough of deepest poverty and darkest crime. Extremes thus brought into startling proximity, are the result of excessive competition insufficiently regulated by charity or religion. The most wealthy is assuredly not the least criminal nation upon the earth. The eager reaching upwards in the social struggle impels many to tread upon their weaker neighbours, the very accumulations of some, strip and expose the bareness and nakedness of many others. Want neglected leads to crime. Crime punished when detected, but not cured or reformed, leads, in a wealthy community like ours, to the development of a hardened, astute, and organized band of criminals, who not only co-operate with each other and systematically live by violations of the law, but constantly keep alive the effective force of the body by training up and instructing a large proportion of the rising generation in the art and mystery of crime as a regular means of livelihood. No better illustration can be furnished of natural quickness combined with skilful, but perverted education, than Dickens's “ Artful D
er." Yet this is only a specimen of a class of youths whom old criminals take far more pains to instruct in crime than honest men take to instruct in virtue, and who consequently become diabolically wise in their evil generation. We have amongst us a numerous body of artful dodgers in various stages of existence, the chrysalis, the ugly grub, and the mischievous insect, coming rapidly on and constantly increasing. How is the increase of this evil to be arrested ? If the accumulation of capital involve some concomitant evils, it supplies the means of doing everything remedial which can be done by means of money. To some of our statesmen and political economists has, therefore, recently occurred the idea that some portion of our ample capital might be advantageously invested in the reformation of our young criminals. We must feed, and clothe, and keep them secure whilst punishing them. Is it possible at the same time to put them through a reformatory instead of a hardening process? The question is both interesting and important as a problem in political economy, making it a mere question of profit and loss in the national accounts. If it be susceptible of proof that it will cost no more to return into the world, in the shape of industrious and skilful workmen, instead of accomplished plunderers, some eighty or ninety per cent. of the young offenders committed to prison, then, we presume, there would be no objection to attempt the reform of young criminals even upon the same principle that we break in young horses or train any other useful animals.
Viewing the matter in this mere mercantile light, as a profit and loss account, society would incur the additional outlay of the longer period of detention and maintenance requisite for the reformatory process (which at Mettray in France amounts only to 4d. per head per day) whilst on the other hand, presuming the instances of relapse to be as at Mettray, only eleven per cent., society would save the loss involved in the subsequent idleness, and subsequent depredations of eighty-nine out of every hundred young offenders under sixteen years of age once committed to prison, the subsequent cost of prosecuting and convicting them a second, third, or possibly a tenth time, or whatever may be the average number of recommittals after the first, the subsequent cost of maintaining these eighty-nine in each hundred in prison, during their second and subsequent periods of confinement, each in all probability exceeding the duration of the first, and the subsequent consequences of these eighty-nine in every hundred not only continuing bad themselves, but each of them, both in prison and out of prison, being actively employed in teaching many others to be adepts in crime, these pupils again in their turn, becoming apt instructors, so that the mischievous and costly consequences of every unreformed criminal, spread over and through, and darken, and vitiate society in an almost geometrical ratio. We cannot entertain a doubt that if a debtor and creditor account were