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the Highland Railway, said lately that the men, what is really wanted is not a tempo. present rate of £4 and £4 ios. the ton rary but a permanent provision for that for carrying fresh fish by passenger train purpose. Most Scotch fishermen who from Strome Ferry, Stornoway, and Wick have boats now have been assisted to purto the English markets could not be con- chase them by loans, usually given by sidered excessive, because it was no more curers, who charge interest for the accointhan £d. the pound; but though id. the modation, and obtain the fish besides at a pound is not a serious charge on salmon, less rate than they should pay to fisher. or even cod, 12. the pound is positively men who were free of debt. Wherever probibitory on herrings. It exactly any provision exists for supplying such doubles the price of the poor man's fish, loans to fishermen, great benefit accrues, and that is really the only reason why as is now being shown by Lady Burdett Scotch herrings go so entirely abroad and Coutts at Cape Clear, although she adopts never reach the vast body of consumers the most objectionable principle of charge at home. In fixing railway rates, atten. ing no interest; and the experiences of tion ought to be paid to these differences the Irish Reproductive Loan Fund for in the value of different kinds of goods, the last eight years show that the loans and also to the specially great increase of and interest are both paid up with fair traffic which, as Mr. Bruce admits, is to punctuality. Something more and better be expected from the Highland herring ihan either of these schemes is needed, fishery. A reduction to the present rate and that is an institution of popular credit of transit by goods trains, or even lower, like the Schulze Delitzsch People's Banks. would not be considered unreasonable, Just as the trades-union is the ameliora. and, anyhow, such a reduction is the re- tive agency for the modern wage laborer, form that is at present most indispensable who has no capital and needs none for his for the developinent of the Highland fish- work, so the people's bank is the amelieries, and it would confer equal benefit on orative agency for small working farmers the crofters of the Hebrides and the work and tradesmen and fishermen who want a ing millions of our large cities.
little capital to work upon. In Germany, Now, not for the moment to speak of Austria, and Italy these banks have be. the agricultural changes that seem to become one of the most remarkable social imminent, it is surely idle to talk of a ne-growths of the century; they are founded cessity for exceptional and extensive emi. and managed and kept financially sound gration at the public expense for a class without difficulty, and have proved of the of people who are actively engaged in an highest advantage to the classes who use industry capable of so great development, them. They are exactly adapted to comif an obstacle, which can only at best be munities like our Highland crofters and regarded as temporary in its nature, were fishermen, who need credit in their busito be seasonably removed. The wealth ness, and who, it appears from the report of the Minch is as well worth cultivating of the commission, make at present a as that of Manitoba, and as likely to be large use of accommodation bills, on which remunerative. The commissioners are they pay not only the bank discount, but not blind to the importance of the fisher- also a high interest to the sureties for ies for the Highlands, and recommend a their names. The money to set them goconsiderable public expenditure for erect. ing might be found in petty contributions ing the necessary piers and harbors, and month by month from the crofters them. for providing fishermen with boats and selves, or in those deposits of crofters in nets on State credit. The recommenda. Highland banks of which the commission tions as to piers and barbors ought to be beard so much – £200,000 in Portree most favorably entertained, because these alone was mentioned by a late factor for works will be of great public advantage, Lord Macdonald — and in loans from priand they are not likely to be built by local vate people outside, such as Schulze De. capital. Sir James Matheson was one of litzsch found no difficulty in procuring on the richest and most generous landlords, the strength of the joint liability of the but an old factor of his stated to the com- members of the bank and the promise of mission that he never could get Sir James a slighily higher interest than savioys. to expend a farthing on local harbors, or banks allow. to give any other answer but " Let the The commissioners' proposals of land curers do that;” and as the curers may reform, violent as some of them will seem, be in Stornoway this year and Barra the are still very inadequate. The crofters next, they will not incur the cost. As to ask for more land and better tenure. The the suggestion of giving loans to fisher-) agitation for better cooditions of tenure
is in no sense peculiar to the Highlands, | into the character of the Irish Land Act, and asks nothing that will not in all prob. found that act working so beneficially ability be presently demanded by agricul. wherever they went, that they have returists elsewhere and granted with advan- turned and recommended an immediate tage to every interest concerned. Fair agitation for the introduction of a measrents fixed for stated periods by indepen. ure for Scotland on the same general dent arbitration or by a land court, secu- lines, and the Alliance has adopted their rity from disturbance during these periods, recommendation. The only drawback to compensation for improvements unex. such a measure — its tendency to lessen hausted at their expiry - these are the the laodlord's expenditure on his estate uniform demands of the crofters from is one the crofters, at any rate, have no Mull to Unst. They are accused of hav occasion to feel, for, as the commissioners ing been schooled into making these de state, Highland landlords, generous as mands, but if so, the ease with which they has been iheir expenditure for other purhave learnt the lesson shows how closely | poses, have very rarely spent a farthing it answered their needs. But they had for the direct advantage of the crosters. no use to learn such a lesson; it was al. The commissioners' device for providready written among the traditions they ing security of tenure is an improving clove most to. It was substantially just lease, which may be claimed as a right the tenure that was customary in the before the sheriff, which gives occupation Highlands in the good old times of their for thirty years at a rent fixed by indepen. grandíathers. Sir John McNeill describes dent arbitration, which imposes specific that customary tenure as including the obligations to make improvemants, but determination of rents by independent offers reasonable compensation at the tervaluation for stated periods, immunity Inination of the tenancy, and which inay from a rise during the intervals, security be relinquished any Whitsunday during from eviction except for personal delin- its currency, but cannot be assigned by quency or non-payment of rent, virtually the occupier. To this proposal, so far as hereditary occupation, and finally the at- it goes, there can be no serious objection, tachment, as a matter of course, to all but it is to be confined exclusively to oco arable boldings of a corresponding extent cupiers who pay £6 or more of rent, of hill grazing Compensation was a thing and scarce one-eighth of the crofters pay unknown in the Highlands; it is unknown that amount. The remaining seven-eighths still; the commissioners say, "We have are gravely recommended, for protection failed to find any liberal system of com. against arbitrary eviction and rack-rent. pensation in existence in the Highlands;” ing, to "the humanity of landlords and but barring this one important point, the public opinion”! The commissioners are conditions now asked by the crofters are unusually decided they are vebement in their essence identical with the condi. even - - in their refusal to the lesser croft. tions spontaneously conceded to their an- ers of the benefits of security. They say: cestors. And to do them justice, the
To invest the most humble and helpless Highland proprietors have, at the recent
class of agricultural tenants with immunities meeting in Inverness, entirely admitted and rights which ought to go hand in liand the reasonableness of the crofters' de with the expansive iinprovement of the dwellmands and agreed to offer very considering and the soil, would tend to fix them in a able concessions leases of nineteen to condition from which they ought to be resothirty years, revised rents, and compensa- lutely though gently withdrawn. These people tion for permanent improvements. The ought either to pass as crofters to a holding of offer, however, is to be limited to ten.
a higher value, or take their position among ants' not in arrear, a small class among men, with a cottage and an allotment, or
the others as laborers, mechanics, or fisher. crofters, and is to remain entirely in the migrate to other seats of labor here or emi. discretion of the proprietors. This, of
grate to other countries. course, will not satisfy. The crofters ask
And again :for better conditions, not as concessions that may be taken back, but as a recog. We have no hesitation in affirming that to nized tenant right which they can assert grant at this moment to the whole mass of before an independent tribunal, and prob- small tenants in the Highlands and Islands ably nothing short of this will ultimately fixity of tenure in their holdings, uncontrolled satisfy in the Highlands or in the Low management of these holdings and free sale
of tenant right, good-will, and improvements, lands' either. For the question is not a would be to perpetuate social evils of a danmerely Highland question. A committee
It would in some districts of the Scottish Farmers' Alliance, which simply accelerate the subdivision and exhauswas sent over to Ireland to investigate tion of the soil, promote a reckless increase
of the population, aggravate the indigenous of an ordinary economic force wbich we squalor and lethargy which too much abound see producing the same results among already, and multiphy the contingencies of Continental peasant proprietors every day. destitution and famine which even now occur | A new manufacture is brought to their from time to time, and are ever impending.
door, and its ready money is sweet, and A six-pounder's meat, it seems, is a dispenses with the need of the old extent four-pounder's poison, and a system of of land. In the Highlands the new manu. durable tenure which is to carry a fisher- facture was kelp, and while it throve it man with a big croft on to fortune is to suited landlords and tenants alike that force a fisherman with a small croft - i.e., holdings should be subdivided. It is most a croft he is better able to manage effi- important that peasant holdings of a size ciently along with his fishing - to social sufficient to keep a family in work and wreck. And more inconsistently still, maintenance should not be subdivided people who are believed to be so capable beneath that size, but whether subdivision of self-government that they are to be cre. of laborers' holdings is an evil depends ated into a recognized village community, entirely on the amount of work to be got with a right to obtain more land, are de- in the neighborhood. In Denmark, where clared in almost the same breath to be the bonde is forbidden subdivision below utterly incapable of managing the holdings a certain minimum, unlimited subdivision that they already possess. The reasons is allowed to the housmaend (cottar), and given for this strange step do not make it if the Highland fishing should grow so more rational. The “indigenous squalor much as to entice the crofters deeper into and lethargy?' of the people are really, on it, it is possible it might lead to further the best testimony given to the commis- subdivision before it led, as it has done at sion itself, the fruit of that very insecurity Buckie and Loch Fyne, to complete abanwhich the commission invokes to remedy donment of crofting in favor of the more it, for, observe, there is this admitted and remunerative occupation. But as thiogs most puzzling perversity about the croft- at present stand, the Highland fisherman ers' indolence, that it is exhibited no- certainly requires a fair-sized croft, and to where — neither in fishing nor navvy labor, do justice to his croft while he has it, he nor anywhere else – except in work on requires the same conditions as other their own crofts, and the cause must there agriculturists. fore be rationally looked for in the dis. The demand for more land, unlike the couraging conditions of that specific kind demand for sounder conditions of tenure, of work rather than in the nature of the is one that is local to the Highlands, and worker.* And as for subdivision, that that asks from the State intervention of a will surely be much better checked under very exceptional character. The demand the definite provisions of a lease or a is based on peculiarities in Highland his. judicial tenure than without them. In. tory, such as the clearances, which moddeed, without them it is not checked at ern public opinion would no more tolerate all — we have a century's experience of than it would slaveholding, and the forcithat. And here it is right to say that it ble deprivation from townships of bill would be most unjust to lay all the sub- grazings immemorially possessed, which is division that has occurred at the crofters' shown in the evidence to have been very door. Much of it was caused, as was common, and has naturally left discontent shown before the commission, by land- and distress behind it. Now, the proposal lords themselves, who in clearing out the to restore these hill grazings, where they tenants of one township wedged them in have been annexed to sheep-farms, is among the tenants of another; but per- frankly admitted by the Duke of Argyll to haps most of it was due to the operation be “a most reasonable proposition," and
one he would willingly accede to; it was • A strong confirmation of this has just been supplied stated by various sheep farmers that such by Professor Ramsay in his article in Macmillan on a loss of pasture would do no injury to the Highland Crofters in Canada. After speaking of their farms beyond the mere reduction of their inertia in Scotland, he adds: “But all this seems to disappear in Canada. . They were all sanguine their size; and the crofters declare they as to their future, energetic in their arrangements, and
are willing to pay as much per acre as the were eagerly doing things and using means of which they had no previous experience. It seemed as if the larger tenants, and in the present situamagic of property' had had its effect upon them, and tion of sheep farming they are certainly drawn out the powers which too often die dormanteat likely to do so. The crofters' demand, in Canada, and the magic of property” would work therefore, involves nothing further than a the same change on them as speedily at home. The transfer of land from one tenant to an. magic of property is merely such a tenure as makes labor cheerful by securing to it the permanent posses- other, and so far from being the convulsion
which the. Marquis of Lorne seems to
sion of its own fruits,
think it, it is probably the smallest inter. I have already been successfully established ference with the absolute rights of prop- in various parts of the Highlands. This erty that has ever taken place to remedy is the more worthy of consideration besocial distress that has been seething for cause the hour is unusually favorable for more than half a century, that has called such a project. The competition of the three times for official inquiry, and has large sheep-farming system — the most repeatedly required government interven- fruitful cause of the crofters' long troubles tion, now by money and then by marines. is for the time out of the way. SheepThe commissioners' proposals, therefore, farms are either thrown on the owners' are less likely to be criticised for the call hands or let at half their former rents, they make on State interference than from because the price of wool has fallen hopegeneral considerations of their efficiency lessly low, and the pastures have deteri, for the well-being of the crofters, or of orated till they cannot carry their old fairness to other parties concerned, and stock of sheep. There was a good deal we are not surprised that this was the of puzzling about this last point before the course taken even by one with such high commission. The fact was admitted — views of private property as the Duke of only one witness doubted it, and he did Argyll. Their proposals are, first, to en. not but what could have caused it? dow existing townships with a regular Some thought sheep cropped the grass constitution and a definite right of expan- closer than cattle, others that hey fertil. sion within certain limits a right to ized it less; but there is one fact for compel landlords to grant as much land which, though it was not brought before from contiguous sheep.runs as shall raise the commission, we have good documentthe average rent of the occupants of the ary evidence, and which throws much light townships to £15 a year, if the sheriff on the matter. Capt. Henderson states is satisfied that the applying township in his “ Agriculture of Sutherland," writis really overcrowded, and that its occu- ten at the beginning of this century, that pants possess sufficient capital to stock in 1798 there were in that county' fortyihe new ground; and, second, with the nine thousand five hundred acres under consent of the proprietor, to settle new crop and permanent meadow; and in 1982, townships elsewhere, with a claim to as we learn from the agricultural returns, State loans for the requisite buildings, if there were only thirty.one thousand six the sheriff is satisfied as before that the hundred and thirty-eight acres. In eightyapplicants have capital enough to stock four years, eighteen thousand acres, or the place. All that can be said for these more than a third of the green land of the proposals is that they would probably county, has gone back under heather - a allay the immediate discontent, and per- curious picture to place side by side with haps allay it better for the time than any the duke's noble, though unhappily unre. other expedient. The township, however, munerative, exertions to reclaim heather though a convenient basis for immediate into green land. An official return given expansion, is certainly not a model indus- by one of his Grace's factors states that trial organization, because it has no com. the average price of reclamation in Suthmon management. The sheep of the erland is £31 an acre, so that it would careless tenant infect those of the careful now cost the duke upwards of £550,000 one; the delay of the lazy tenant keeps to undo what sheep farming has done, and back the work of the diligent, and the in- to restore the land again to the by no terests of the many smaller tenants are means advanced condition it was in before often set against those of the few larger. the clearances. If these things are so, it And this disunity is exaggerated under is plain that the old tenantry were sacrithe scheme of the commissioners, for some ficed to a huge economic blunder, and that of the tenants are to have the stimulus of Mr. Mackenzie of Kintail's remedy of giva lease, and others perhaps the still ling the pastures long rest from sheep by greater stimulus of a freehold, while the turning them from farms into deer forests rest are to be left in their original help- is an attempt to cure a great evil by give lessness. Devised in the interests of staing it still greater and freer play. Under bility, the township is wanting in the first forest, the land would more and more conditions of stability. It is therefore a surely go back to a state of nature, and question whether the ends sought would landlord and public alike have an interest not be better served by some well-consid- in saying it shall go no further. The true ered plan of establishing crofters' club cure is coming to be seen to be a return farms, which are more consistent with to a more mixed system of farming modern conditions, and with the possibil. pastoral and arable, cattle and sheep com. ity of progressive development, and which | bined — and to smaller sizes of holdings.
One of the best evidences that large last work the people would bave to be sheep-farms are doomed is that large taught, but so had the Derby folk. Skill, sheep-farmers have begun to condemn capital, souod tenure, these are the three them. Mr. T. Purves, an extensive and requisites, and of these the greatest is capable farmer who is no friend to croft skill, but perhaps the most primarily nec: ers, tells the commission that the present essary is sound teoure.
With skill and holdings are “unmanageably large,” that good tenure, capital may be found, and the farmers “don't get half the use of the small farmers will produce more and afland they occupy," that "there should be ford a higher rent than large; but without farms from £10 up to £50 or £100," and skill and sound tenure what can be made that “the duke would be pursuing a wise of them? policy by giving a tenant a hirsel of sheep.
JOHN RAE. Let that be a farm, and so on, or divide that perhaps into two farms.” So far as the duke here spoken of is concerned (the Duke of Sutherland), he is believed to be entirely in favor of such a plan, and it
From The Spectator. appears that Lord Macdonald has already
A FRENCH HUGUENOT VILLAGE IN begun it.
GERMANY. The chief difficulty is the want of suffi- It is said that the terrible Thirty Years' cient capital among the small tenants to War lost Germany two-thirds of her popuundertake such a size of farin. The com-lation, In the ten religious wars that missioners have no help whatever to offer befell between 1550 and 1706, by massain this most fundamental difficulty. They cres and persecutions, and, above all, by ask the State to lend capital to fishermen the emigration and slaughtering that fol. and to emigrants, on the personal security lowed the Revocation of the Edict of of these fishermen and emigrants them- Nantes, there can be little question that selves, but they refuse to recommend any France suffered in equal, if not in greater, such aid to farmers to buy stock. Vari- measure. How many perished on the ous suggestions, however, have come from field of battle, on the scaffold, and at the other quarters. The Scotsman, for exam. stake, we can form only the vaguest idea. ple, thinks landlords, where they have some auth rities put the number at a mil. sheep-farms in their own hands, might lion ; and it is computed that within a few resort to the old steelbow system of tenure, years after the Revocation, more than half which was not uncommon in the north of a million Protestants left the country for. Scotland fifty years ago, and let land and ever. But these are merely estimates. stock together, on condition that both are The emigration began long before the returned at the end the lease in as good perjured Louis XIV. (he swore, on his cora state as they were received in. The onation, to maintain the Edici) reversed crofters' credit might be expanded by Mr. the policy of his grandfather, and renewed Greig's proposal to introduce the colonial the era of persecution; and it continued plan of mortgaging hill stock, and it would without surcease until the pleadings of be still further expanded by the introduc Montesquieu and the sarcasms of Voltion of people's banks. It is believed, taire compelled the court to conform to moreover, that nuinbers of wealthy sym- more moderate councils. Many of the pathizers with the crofters are not unwill. refugees came to England; but by far the ing to lend money for crofter development, greater number went to Holland, Denand it has been suggested that a company mark, Switzerland, and Germany. Most of such be formed, which might, if neces of them were soon lost in the populations sary, obtain advances for the purpose among whom they settled; but in some from the State at a low rate of interest. instances they were strong enough to form Such a company would be otherwise ad. separate communities, and for long years vantageous as well. It would find itself they piously preserved the purity of their forced to see to the proper training of the Calvinistic faith and worshipped God in people in modern methods of husbandry; the language of their fathers. Especially would try to get over their objection to a was this the case in Germany, where the pig; induce them to grow a few vegeta. refugees were not only well received by bles for their own use; and perhaps try the people, but protected by the princes, the more important points, whether prof. allowed to settle in separate villages, and itable dairy farming might not be more live in their own fashion. Strange to say, widely introduced, or cheese factories, there still exists one of these Huguenot such as have recently grown up in Derby. communities, a community which remains shire and elsewhere. Of course, for this I to-day as essentially French as when,