« PreviousContinue »
perhaps agree that too much was thought of the increased production of food and too little of the social consequences of enclosures. If they are wise, they will also rejoice that they had not themselves to face the dilemma of decision. Few, it is to be hoped, would wish to exaggerate the miseries which undoubtedly followed from enclosures, by adding to their sum the sufferings that resulted from a different industrial change. This, however, is in effect what Mr Hammond has done. He lays the most detailed and emphatic stress on the loss of commons, and dismisses with two half-sentences the destruction of the domestic industries of the villages. Yet the introduction of manufacturing machinery, the decay of local trades, the transfer of population from the South to the North, inflicted more widespread suffering on rural districts, and threw more people on the rates, than the break-up of open-field farms and the enclosure of
Mr Hammond does not sufficiently recognise that enclosures aimed at two different objects at two different times. In this respect he makes the same mistake as Karl Marx. During the first thirty years of the period (1760-90), land was generally enclosed for laying down tillage to pasture. This grass-growing not only lessened the corn area, but consolidated holdings, reduced employment, and therefore tended to depopulate villages. It is this form of enclosure that the writers who are most frequently quoted were attacking or defending. Nathaniel Forster, Richard Price, Stephen Addington, John Arbuthnot, 'The Country Gentleman,' Josiah Tucker, Nathaniel Kent, Thomas Stone, the Rev. J. Howlett, all wrote between 1763 and 1787. Even the Rev. David Davies collected the materials for his Case of Labourers in Husbandry' (1795) within this earlier period. The later enclosures were made under the pressure of hunger for the purpose of growing more corn. They increased the demand for labour; employment became not only more plentiful, but, as agriculture improved, more continuous during both summer and winter. Wages rose rapidly. Arthur Young and Tooke both express the opinion that, though down to 1793 there was no great advance, yet as between 1760 and 1812, wages doubled, It may not be possible, in so difficult a field of
enquiry as real wages, to prove the fact of so great a rise. But the advance was at any rate very substantial, if the 1s. 2d. a day of 1770 is accepted as the starting-point. In Essex, for instance, the Reports to the Board of Agriculture' for 1794 and 1804 state that wages stood respectively at the winter and summer average of 98. 1d. and 148. 4d. a week. In the Board of Trade Report on Agricultural Wages' (1909) an instance is given of an Essex farm labourer, without the care of stock, whose wages rose from 10s. 6d. a week in 1800 to 12s. a week in 1802, and to 15s. a week in 1812.
It is not contended that this rise in wages was adequately proportioned to the advance in the cost of necessaries. If wages doubled, prices probably trebled. It is only urged that, for the sake of accurate conclusions, it is preferable to mention, rather than to ignore, the substantial advance in agricultural wages. Hasbach can scarcely be regarded as a prejudiced witness in favour of landlords. But, in his History of the English Agricultural Labourer' (Eng. trans. 1908, p. 183), he expresses the conviction that, though labourers suffered, as did every other class, during the war, they probably were, 'till 1813 or 1814,' in a better position than can be statistically proved.'
By ignoring this rise in wages, Mr Hammond is enabled to reach conclusions more suitable to his purpose. It is true that, up to 1795, wages advanced but little on the rates of a quarter of a century earlier. It is true, also, that the adverse season and deficient harvest of that year forced the price of provisions up to famine height. In a disastrous attempt to meet this disproportion between wages and prices, the Berkshire Justices, by the so-called Speenhamland Act, established a minimum or living wage out of the Poor Rates, proportioned to the price of bread and the size of families. The same principle was subsequently applied in other counties. Mr Hammond altogether omits the substantial advance in wages which undoubtedly took place between 1795 and 1812. He is thus able to represent the situation of 1795, though 'masked by the general prosperity of the times,' as prevailing throughout the war. In other words, landlords were realising fortunes, farmers were engaging butlers and liveried footmen, and labourers were starving
and pauperised. The picture is undoubtedly arresting; but its effect is produced by very doubtful processes.
In dealing with the agrarian riots of 1830, or, as he more picturesquely styles them, 'The Last Labourers' Revolt,' Mr Hammond is faced with one serious difficulty. He has throughout the volume traced the distress of rural districts to the tyranny of Enclosure Acts, which broke up open-field farms and divided commons. He states that Kent was the scene of the first disturbances.' Unfortunately for his argument, there is no trace whatever of any Act ever having been passed for the enclosure of land in Kent, which is described as an enclosed county even by Elizabethan writers. The proverbial 'yeoman of Kent,' especially in his interpretation of the word, might have suggested to him the real facts. From Kent, as he tells us, the disturbance spread to Sussex. This again, is unfortunate. The total area of land enclosed by Acts of Parliament in Sussex did not exceed 14,000 acres; and, of the disturbed villages mentioned by Mr Hammond, only was possibly affected by any of this legislation. Assuming that the Warblington of the Act is Mr Hammond's Warbleton,' this village was one of a group of three in which a total area of 320 acres was enclosed in 1819. To anyone who is attempting a careful study of the causes of the agrarian riots in Kent and Sussex, these facts might possibly have suggested that he was pursuing a wrong track. Perhaps a straw of detail may suggest the direction of the wind. Sir Godfrey Webster of Battle Abbey, for many years member for the county, 'displayed,' according to Mr Hammond, 'great zeal and energy in the emergency. In order to detract from the merit, or add to the iniquity, of Sir Godfrey's exertions, we are told that he was 'chiefly famous as Lady Holland's first husband.' Whether true or false, the bearing of this statement on the discharge of magisterial duties is not obvious. But it is untrue, for Lady Holland's first husband committed suicide thirty years before.
One other point made by Mr Hammond in his history of the agrarian riots may be noticed. He calls attention to the hostility of the farmers to the tithe, and their attempt to enlist the labourers on their side. Mr Hammond has already stated that 'tithes were originally taxation for four objects: (1) the bishop, (2) the main
tenance of the fabric of the church, (3) the relief of the poor, (4) the incumbent.' If this means anything, it means that, after the payment of tithes had become a legal liability, this four-fold allocation of the proceeds was still maintained in this country. For the statement in this form, there is not a rag, or even a thread, of historical evidence, and it is extremely doubtful whether the quadripartite division ever existed in this country outside the monasteries: But, in Mr Hammond's opinion apparently, farmers in 1830 knew better, and desired to join the labourers with them in restoring the usages of primitive Christianity. The real grievances of farmers were the practice of taking tithes in kind, and their incidence, under the existing law, on the produce of the land. Various substitutes for collection in kind were adopted. Corn-rents, compositions either by the acre or on the pound of rent, valuations of crops in the field, and moduses, were all substitutes. But none removed the objection to the payment as incident on the produce. If a man improved his holding by a large expenditure of capital and labour, the tithe-owner profited, though he shared neither the risk nor the expense. Tithes thus became a check upon improvement, a charge which was increased by good farming or diminished by bad. Mr Hammond might perhaps have explained these practical reasons for the dislike which Kentish and Sussex farmers entertained to' tithes, or at least suggested them as an alternative to crediting them with a critical knowledge of Anglo-Saxon documents. Had he done so, he might have been led to add the fact that, both in Kent and Sussex, a very large proportion of the rectorial tithe was still gathered in kind, which of all forms of payment was the most exasperating.
Space does not permit the further pursuit of Mr Hammond's course. It is to be regretted that warm sympathy with human suffering should so often have marred his sense of justice, and that so much excellent writing should have been, apparently, composed at Limehouse.
ROWLAND E. PROTHERO.
Art. 8.-JOHN HENRY NEWMAN.
The Life of John Henry, Cardinal Newman, based on his Private Journals and Correspondence. By Wilfrid Ward. Two vols. London: Longmans, 1912.
MR WARD'S Life of Newman is a permanent contribution to Church History. It is the work of a lifetime, in the sense that his other works have been subsidiary to it; it is the centre to which they converge. For Newman was the sun round which the lesser luminaries of his system circled ; their movement and light were derived from him. Mr Ward has peculiar qualifications for the task to which he has addressed himself. He stands in the first rank of biographers; he has had access to full and authentic sources; and, above all, he is steeped in his subject. More then anyone of our own, perhaps even of Newman's generation, he has assimilated Newman's mind. He has done so, indeed, with a difference. The temperaments of the two men are dissimilar. To the gusts of passion which shook Newman-to his sensibility, his indignation, his scorn-Mr Ward is a stranger. He has adopted Newman's standpoint rather than his personality, his conclusions rather than the mental and moral process by which they were attained. This is why, when he writes about Newman, we have an exact but not a very lifelike portrait. We miss the movement of the original; the versatility, the fire are gone. In the present work this want is compensated by the free use which has been made of the Cardinal's journal and correspondence. The unreserve with which these have been drawn upon is remarkable. It is notorious that during his best years Newman was distrusted by and out of sympathy with his ecclesiastical superiors. As Mr Ward puts it, He saw too much for a man of action.' When Talbot wrote to Manning, 'Dr Newman is the most dangerous man in England,' he expressed the view all but universally held at Rome. These strained relations lasted till the death of Pius IX; he made no secret of his opinion about the policy of that pontiff-a policy resumed, after the Leonine interlude, by the present Pope. A Catholic biographer must have been exposed to no small temptation to suppress inconvenient facts and to waterdown disedifying expressions of opinion;