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been land available to give the legal proportion, have bought many of them.
• It has taken only thirteen years to ruin the landed aristocracy of Russia, who are being everywhere replaced by peasant proprietors; and the same fate seems to be in store for a large number of the little owners who work out the soil and are utterly improvident. As almost the whole country will be in the possession of bankrupts, the system is fraught with serious consequences for the country. The greatest poverty prevails, and capital cannot be employed under such conditions. The amount of land which was considered enough twentyfive years ago to enable the peasants to live is now quite insufficient, when communal and government taxes bave all increased, the price of corn has gone down, and the seasons have been bad. Agriculture is wretched, scarcely any manure is used, the produce is from two and a half to four and a half of the quantity sown, whereas in England it varies from fifteen to twenty. Although rents are only about 2s. an acre for large holdings, and for garden ground from 118. to 158., the peasants cannot at the present time live and pay their taxes. Their cattle are often seized, but more often the taxes have to be remitted. The peasants constantly renounce their allotments, varying from. eight and three-quarters up to forty-seven acres, and pay an annual tax (obrok) to the commune to be allowed to go and work elsewhere.' The freedom of the English labourer to carry his labour where he pleases, unclogged by the tie of land which binds the peasant proprietor in France and elsewhere, is said by Mr. Chadwick to be a great advantag- to him.
Last of the forms in which land is held is the peculiarly English one of allotmer ts, and here, too, the Buckinghamshire village bas some extremels instructive experience to offer.
The question has become a burning one, making and unmaking Ministries, and used as a party weapon of offence, while few speakers or writers on the subject have taken the pains to refer to that not very recondite form of information, the Parliamentary Blue Book. In a report, 1882, by Mr. Druce, one of the assistant agricultural commissioners, he gives the latest intelligence concerning allotments and little takes, having carefully examined fifteen of the Middle and Eastern counties of his district. The five Northern counties may practically be left out of the calculation, as the condition of farm labourers is there different, and their wants are supplied in a different manner. Wages are very high, and the labourers very prosperous ; they live to a great extent in the farmhouses, and the farmers give cow-runs (far more healthy for the cow than three or four acres), and a portion of the ploughed manured land for potatoes, a great advantage, as these require more fresh ground than one small patch can give.
Taking the Midland counties as a wbole (he says) almost every village has its allotment ground, ranging from oneighth to half, and sometimes a whole
acre. They are let at reasonable rents, when it is remembered that the holders pay no rates, taxes, or tithe, bave no roads or drains to keep up, and no buildings to keep in repair.
The number of allotments in England is very large—242,342, exclusive, be it remembered, of large gardens. In Leicestershire the number of allotments is greater than that of the labourers—17,168; Northampton, 16,447; Suffolk, 11,664; Warwick, 12,794; Wilts, 16,445; Buckinghamshire, a small county, bas 8,632. Individual landowners, such as Lord Tollemache, have whole districts let out in allotments. There are 900 on Lord Pembroke's Wiltshire estate alone; Mr. Mark Rolle has 1,000; the Duke of Bedford 2,079, &c. It is not, however, the large numbers upon great estates which raise the total so much as those on the land of smaller proprietors, glebes, common lands, &c., which are to be found almost everywhere.
But it is not in all places that they are found to be popular. In a great number of instances they have been thrown up by the labourers. Lord Fortescue mentions several cases on his own property of good land let at agricultural rents. At Marsh Gibbon a field of one hundred acres and another of twenty-five were divided about forty years ago into plots from one to one and a half acres, with larger takes up to fourteen or fifteen acres in grass. These were all worked out, corn crops having been grown successively with hardly any manure, and the land utterly ruined, when it was let to a farmer for almost nothing. The twenty-five acres were divided between ten or twelve labourers, and also thrown up. Thirty acres of grass land close to the village were cut up into thirty allotments, the last of which was given up about five years ago. In many cases the labourers part with their portions, and sometimes fourteen or fifteen fall into the hands of one man, showing that the rent was not too high, forming a little farm, to which there is no objection, but proving that the supply exceeded the demand. They are often neglected and left in a very foul condition ; while labourers in general much prefer a large garden near their cottages, the supply of which is very large.
As for small holdings, Vr. Druce declares that the most remarkable results shown by the tables given in the reports, in the face of all that has been said about their deficiency in England, is that nearly three-quarters of the farms are of 50 acres and under in size ; of the remainder the largest part are from one to three hundred acres. He considers that the owner is far worse off than the occupier :
If a man has 1,0002. to spend, he can buy ten acres of land, and have still sufficient capital to work them; but as a tenant-farmer he can farm one hundred acres with a capital of 101. an acre, and will make more money, as be bas the advantage of using his landlord's capital at very low interest, whereas if he buys the land the money is sunk.
The comparison between the results of foreign and English systems, by so competent a judge as Mr. Jenkins, who bas studied the question in France, Belgium, Germany, and the Nortb, is thus
summed up: “A peasant proprietor does not live half so well as the English labourer, and works twice as hard.'
Benjamin Franklin, most democratic of republicans, pronounced, above a hundred years ago, that: “He who tries to persuade the workman that he can arrive at fortune otherwise than by industry and thrift is a liar and a criminal. “A true and wise maxim,' says a French economist, which ought now to be laid to heart.' The schemes now proposed, such as the compulsory supply of allotments, which already exist so largely—systems of public works and public wages, which are now carried out to such an extent in France, and are ruining her finances, the supply of wbich must, moreover, be exhausted ere long, so as only to afford temporary relief-ateliers nationaux, which brought on the destruction of the French republic of 1848, or for taking the land and not paying either its rent or its price'—the substitution of small needy farmer owners for the landlords in Ireland, where the possession of land seems hitherto to be chiefly valued as giving an opportunity for borrowing, and the security of tenure given by Mr. Gladstone's Land Bill of 1870 was the signal for the appearance of the 'gombeen man,' the local usurer, whose tyranny is described as now so great among Irish tepant farmers—these can be of no avail. They may seriously injure the country, but cannot really benefit the people.
The present distress, agricultural and commercial, extends all over the world; it is as great or greater in France, the most democratic country in existence; and in the United States, governed by the people in the widest sense. All classes are suffering; and it is only by the union of classes, not by setting one against the other, that the crisis can be met. Wrecking shops will not help the town workmen, nor will the agricultural labourer be benefited by the compulsory expropriation of the owners of land for allotments, which have already been provided to so large an extent by the ordinary course of supply and demand since the beginning of the century.
In a book by Mr. Wren Hoskyns, sanctioned by the Cobden Club, and quoted by Mr. Druce, he says :
Laws cannot decide as to large or small holdings, no result of argument can bring this within the proper sphere of legislation, which can do no more than remove every obstruction to the wholesome operation of that spontaneous action which regulates the distribution of land by laws as inflexible as those that govern the tides. . . . King Canute (he goes on to say) might well have reversed his chair and spoken also of the littleness of human power when it attempts to govern the laws that govern the land.
F. P. VERNEY.
* In Cobbett's Rides, 1820, the productive and well-cultivated gardens round the cottages' are mentioned as the distinguishing feature of England.
GREEK HOME ACCORDING TO HOMER.
In a note at the end of the English translation of the Ollyssey of Homer done by S. H. Butcher and A. Lang (p. 413) is an attempt to plan the house or hall of Odysseus.
The note is nominally on book xix.; but, as references are to be found in Homer to an architectural arrangement that seems to have been much the same whether the site were placed in Ithaca or elsewhere, I shall only take the home of Penelope as one among other illustrations.
The authors of the note in question endeavour to get at the plan of the house of the hero by following his movements, somewhat in this fashion : He stands by Argos, the dog which lies before the doors that open either from the public way to the court or from the court to the hall. He follows the swineherd into the house and sits down on the ashen threshold within the doors; there Telemachus sees him and, add our translators, sends him food from the high table at the other or upper end. Behind this higb table doors open on passages leading to the women's rooms and to the store chamber. On the day of the slaughter the hero is called by Telemachus to this, the upper end of the hall. Here he places Odysseus, who thence slays the wooers. The translators, it is only fair to say, see the difficulty of this arrangement and the impossibility of reconciling with it the speech of Melanthius (xxii. 136). I would venture to add that the speech of Eurymachus is rendered equally unintelligible, for indeed the whole effort of the wooers (after a time) was to drive the unconquerable slayer from the entrance doorway, so that some might pass him and go through the city to raise the cry.
Now, before we attempt anything like a plan of the Homeric house, let us look first at the descriptions given in the poem of houses other than that of Odysseus. In Nestor's house (book iii.) we find a gateway, an echoing corridor (all Homer's corridors are echoing ') in which jointed bedsteads are set up for his unwed son and distinguished bachelor guests. Nestor himself sleeps within the inmost chamber of the lofty house, and at dawn we see him seated on two polished, white, glistening stones before the lofty doors. In the house of Menelaus (book iv.) we have again the bedsteads
set out beneath the corridor. There are stalls for the horses, but no coach-house, for we find the inlaid car or chariot tilted against the shining faces (the broad stone piers) of the gateway.
Most of the house is covered with plates of silver, gold, bronze, amber, and ivory, so that the place gleams with the light as it were of sun or moon. There is a treasure chamber, to which descend both Menelaus and Helen, whose bed is in the inmost chamber of the lofty house, and this chamber is vaulted and scented.?
The palace of King Alcinous (books vi. and vii.) reveals a courtyard, the usual corridor, a great, high-roofed, columned chamber or hall, passing through which, we reach the pillared inner room, where the thrones are, and where the queen sits weaving in the light of the fire, and beyond this is the king's bedroom. The floor of the hall is of bronze; the walls are brazen and surmounted with a dark frieze ; the doors and the door hooks are golden, the lintel and door posts of silver set on a brazen threshold. Against the walls are seats where the chieftains sit to eat and drink. Outside the courtyard, close by the gate, is a great garden of tall fruit trees hedged on either side, and there we find two fountains, one for the garden and the other for the palace, for, after running beneath the threshold of the courtyard, it issues by the lofty house whither the people come to draw water.
The house of Circe (book x.) is built of polished stone, has shining doors, a great hall and a flat house-top, without parapet, reached by a ladder.
The farmhouse of Laertes (book xxiv.) is surrounded by the huts wherein the thralls dwell, eat and sleep.
Here and there are isolated references that have a bearing on the subject; thus (book iv.) we have a watch tower in Agamemnon's palace. Round the city of King Alcinous is a high wall with towers (book vi.), and in the house of Æolus folk sit on the threshold by the pillars of the door (book x.)
Now let us turn to the house of Odysseus. Here, as in the others, we have an outer courtyard, a corridor, a lofty house containing a hall and inner rooms, but the inmost room is curiously built round a tree, and there are upper chambers, among which are a treasury and armoury (two store-rooms), as well as a vaulted treasure house and a tholos, translated by our authors kitchen dome,' but which was possibly a family mausoleum, as the cooking seems to have been done in the hall.
This general arrangement, which Homer, as we have seen, constantly gives, appears to have been not unlike some of the Egyptian temples: that of Talmis, for instance, founded by Amenophis the Second and restored under the Ptolemies, a plain, simple example, the study of which will help us in forming an idea of the Homeric palace.
- The world-renowned house at Ithaca is described in scattered
? Fragrant or scented chambers were probably so called from having cedar wood used in their construction. See Iliad, xsiv. 191.