Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/19

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7
OUR COMMON LAND.

to hundreds of excursionists all the summer, to whom it is an inestimable boon. Again, is the privilege of space, and light, and air, and beauty not to be considered for the small shopkeeper, for the hard-working clerk, who will probably never own a square yard of English land, but who cares to take his wife and children into the country for a fortnight in the summer? Do you not know numbers of neighbourhoods where woods, and Commons, and fields used to be open to pedestrians, and now they must walk, even in the country, on straight roads between hedges? The more that fields and woods are closed, the more does every atom of Common land, everywhere, all over England, become of importance to the people of every class, except that which owns its own parks and woods. “On the lowest computation,” says the Report of the Commons Preservation Society, “5,000,000 acres of Common land have been inclosed since Queen Anne’s reign; now there are but