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ftill limited to a very short period; in France, C HAP for example, to nine years from the commencement of the leafe. It has in that country, indeed, been lately extended to twenty feven, a period ftill too short to encourage the tenant to make the most important improvements. The proprietors of land were anciently the legiflators of every part of Europe. The laws relating to land, therefore, were all calculated for what they supposed the intereft of the proprietor. It was for his intereft, they had imagined, that no leafe granted by any of his predeceffors fhould hinder him from enjoying, during a long term of years, the full value of his land. Avarice and injuftice are always fhort-fighted, and they did not foresee how much this regulation must obstruct improvement, and thereby hurt in the long-run the real intereft of the landlord.

The farmers too, befides paying the rent, were anciently, it was fuppofed, bound to perform a great number of fervices to the landlord, which were feldom either specified in the leafe, or regulated by any precife rule, but by the ufe and wont of the manor or barony. These services, therefore, being almost entirely arbitrary, subjected the tenant to many vexations. In Scotland the abolition of all fervices, not precifely ftipulated in the leafe, has in the courfe of a few years very much altered for the better the condition of the yeomanry of that country.

The public fervices to which the yeomanry were bound, were not less arbitrary than the private ones. To make and maintain the high



BOOK roads, a fervitude which still fubfifts, I believe, every-where, though with different degrees of oppreffion in different countries, was not the only one. When the king's troops, when his household or his officers of any kind paffed through any part of the country, the yeomanry were bound to provide them with horfes, carriages, and provifions, at a price regulated by the purveyor. Great Britain is, I believe, the only monarchy in Europe where the oppreffion of purveyance has been entirely abolished. It ftill fubfifts in France and Germany.

The public taxes to which they were fubject were as irregular and oppreffive as the fervices. The ancient lords, though extremely unwilling to grant themselves any pecuniary aid to their fovereign, eafily allowed him to tallage, as they called it, their tenants, and had not knowledge enough to forefee how much this muft in the end affect their own revenue. The taille, as it ftill fubfifts in France, may ferve as an example of thofe ancient tallages. It is a tax upon the fuppofed profits of the farmer, which they esti mate by the stock that he has upon the farm. It is his interest, therefore, to appear to have as little as poffible, and confequently to employ as little as poffible in its cultivation, and none in its improvement. Should any stock happen to accumulate in the hands of a French farmer, the taille is almost equal to a prohibition of its ever being employed upon the land. This tax befides is fuppofed to dishonour whoever is subject to it, and to degrade him below, not only the rank of a gen


a gentleman, but that of a burgher, and who- CHAP. ever rents the lands of another becomes fubject to it. No gentleman, nor even any burgher who has stock, will fubmit to this degradation. This tax, therefore, not only hinders the stock which accumulates upon the land from being employed in its improvement, but drives away all other stock from it. The ancient tenths and fifteenths, fo ufual in England in former times, feem, fo far as they affected the land, to have been taxes of the fame nature with the taille.

Under all these difcouragements, little improvement could be expected from the occupiers of land. That order of people, with all the liberty and fecurity which law can give, muft always improve under great disadvantages. The farmer compared with the proprietor, is as a merchant who trades with borrowed money compared with one who trades with his own. The flock of both may improve, but that of the one, with only equal good conduct, must always improve more flowly than that of the other, on account of the large share of the profits which is confumed by the intereft of the loan. The lands culti vated by the farmer muft, in the fame manner, with only equal good conduct, be improved more flowly than those cultivated by the proprie tor; on account of the large fhare of the produce which is confumed in the rent, and which, had the farmer been proprietor, he might have employed in the further improvement of the land. The ftation of a farmer befides is, from the nature of things, inferior to that of a proprietor.



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BOOK prietor. Through the greater part of Europe the yeomanry are regarded as an inferior rank of people, even to the better fort of tradefmen and mechanics, and in all parts of Europe to the great merchants and mafter manufacturers. It can feldom happen, therefore, that a man of any confiderable ftock fhould quit the fuperior, in order to place himself in an inferior ftation. Even in the prefent ftate of Europe, therefore, little ftock is likely to go from any other profeffion to the improvement of land in the way of farming. More does perhaps in Great Britain than in any other country, though even there the great flocks which are, in fome places, employed in farming, have generally been acquired by farming, the trade, perhaps, in which of all others stock is commonly acquired most flowly. After fmall proprietors, however, rich and great farmers are, in every country, the principal improvers. There are more fuch perhaps in England than in any other European monarchy. In the republican governments of Holland and of Berne in Switzerland, the farmers are faid to be not inferior to thofe of England.

The ancient policy of Europe was, over and above all this, unfavourable to the improvement and cultivation of land, whether carried on by the proprietor or by the farmer; firft, by the general prohibition of the exportation of corn without a special licence, which feems to have‍ been a very univerfal regulation; and fecondly, by the restraints which were laid upon the inland commerce, not only of corn but of almost every



other part of the produce of the farm, by the CHA P. abfurd laws against engroffers, regraters, and foreftallers, and by the privileges of fairs and markets. It has already been obferved in what manner the prohibition of the exportation of corn, together with fome encouragement given to the importation of foreign corn, obftructed the cultivation of ancient Italy, naturally the moft fertile country in Europe, and at that time the feat of the greatest empire in the world. To what degree fuch reftraints upon the inland commerce of this commodity, joined to the general prohibition of exportation, must have difcouraged the cultivation of countries lefs fertile, and lefs favourably circumstanced, it is not perhaps very eafy to imagine.


Of the Rife and Progress of Cities and Towns, after the Fall of the Roman Empire.



HE inhabitants of cities and towns were, C HA P. after the fall of the Roman empire, not more favoured than thofe of the country. They confifted, indeed, of a very different order of people from the first inhabitants of the ancient republics of Greece and Italy. Thefe laft were compofed chiefly of the proprietors of lands, among whom the public territory was originally divided, and who found it convenient to build their

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