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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 2

France (Agricultural Holdings)

page 15

France (Agricultural Holdings)

Land-owners in other States


Total Acres.
1,815,000 occupiers of less than 5 hectares (7½ acres) 12,540,000
1,256,000 occupiers of between 5 hectares and 40 hectares (100 acres) 43,800,000
154,000 occupiers of over 40 hectares (100 acres) 27,142,000
3,221,000 83,482,000
Woods and forests 19,980,000
Moors and uncultivated land 18,200,000
page 16

Land-owners in other States.

From these figures it appeal's that France is neither owned nor cultivated to the extent that is generally believed by peasant proprietors; one-third only of its area is owned, and one-tenth of it only is cultivated by this class. Another third part is owned by half a million of persons we should more properly class as yeomen, and one-third of it is cultivated in farms of about the same size. The remaining one-third is owned by what are called large proprietors, 50,000 in number, and one-third of the cultivated part of France is held in large farms, most of them on tenancy. One half the area of cultivated France is held on tenancy; and the farms of over 100 acres very much outnumber those in the United Kingdom. Compared with this, five-sixths of the area of the United Kingdom are owned by 15,000 persons, and not one fiftieth part of it by small owners. The number of small cultivators however is considerable; they number three-quarters of a million and hold one-tenth of the cultivated land; the large farms are under 100,000 in number, but they contain about two-thirds of the cultivated land of the United Kingdom.
Switzerland, Baden, the Rhine provinces of Prussia, Bavaria, and Hesse are almost wholly owned and farmed by their cultivators, varying only between the moderate-sized farmers and peasants. The same may be said of Sweden and Norway. Belgium, in respect of one-half of its page 17 area, is cultivated by its owners, and in respect of

Land-owners in other States.

the other half by a very numerous class of small tenants farming the lands of others. Throughout the remaining parts of Germany, whether Austria or Prussia, the land is owned by large proprietors and small proprietors in about equal proportions: large properties are not unfrequent, but among them are dispersed an immense number of small owners, for the most part cultivating their land themselves. The same may be said of Piedmont, North Italy, and of the northern parts of Portugal and Spain.

In none of these countries does there exist the entire and absolute separation between the three classes of landowners, farmers, and clay labourers, which is the distinguishing feature of the English system; in many of them there are numerous large properties cultivated by tenants and labourers; but the tenant-farmers are members of a class of whom many are themselves owners; and a great proportion of the labourers are also owners of land. Through-out all the countries named at least 50 per cent., and in France probably 75 percent, of the labouring population in the rural districts are owners of small properties, which they either cultivate themselves, or let out to their neighbours or relations to cultivate, while working for wages themselves.

In the United States also the separation of the rural community into landowners, farmers, and labourers has not begun to show itself.

The land is everywhere owned by its cultivators. page 18

Landowners in other States.

There are more than three millions of landowners cultivating their own lands. Even in the oldest settled States, in the neighbourhood of large cities, where wealth has accumulated to an extent quite as great as the great manufacturing towns of this country can show, and where land has attained a very high value, the same features exist. Ownership everywhere prevails as opposed to tenancy. The State of New York may be compared in extent with Ireland. It contains 22,190,000 acres of land held in farms. Of these there were, by the last census, in 1870, 216,000 owners as compared with the 21,000 owners of land in Ireland. These owners have increased since 1860 by 20,000, or 10 per cent.; and this increase has been mainly in the class of persons owning between three acres and twenty acres. Of these there were 17,800 in 1860, and 31,000 in 1870.

1 It is of interest to compare this table with a similar one for the United Kingdom :—

Total Acres.
130,000 small owners averaging 13 acres 1,750,000
50,000 medium sized owners with an average of 180 acres 9,000,000
15,000 large owners averaging 4,260 acres 64,000,000
195,000 74,750,000
Crown lands and lands in mortmain 1,600,000
Agricultural Holdings.
Total Acres.
750,000 occupiers of less than 10 acres 4,500,000
316,000 occupiers of from 10 acres to 100 acres 14,700,000
92,000 occupiers of above 100 acres 28,000,000
1,148,000 47,400,000
Mountains, moors, and woods 29,000,000