Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/188

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176
THE FUTURE OF OUR COMMONS.

England which can be preserved for the common good; and, secondly, in what way such land can best be used. Is it best to parcel it out amongst various owners, and increase the building or corn-growing area? Is it best to let the largest possible amount of it in allotments to the poor? Is it well to devote any portion of it, in rural as well as suburban districts, to the public, to be by them enjoyed in common, in the form of beautiful, wild, open space?

It must be observed that the nation as a nation is not held to possess the open, uncultivated, unappropriated land of England. True, generation after generation has passed over much of it freely, but it seems that the people are not thereby held to have acquired a right to do so. Perhaps this is because such right has no money value, for rights of way, rights of light, rights of possession of soil, even rights on these very open spaces of pasturing cattle, cutting furze and of playing games are recog-