Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/205

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193
THE FUTURE OF OUR COMMONS.

we ever recover them? Think of the cost of purchasing them back! Think of the compulsory powers to compel sale of contiguous plots! Think of the impossibility of breaking them ever again into uneven surface of woodland, dingle, or old quarry, or getting the forest trees on them again; and pause before you barter them for a few cultivated gardens, rented at high rates to a small group of men valuable as field-gardens in themselves maybe.

Note, too, by-the-way, what is done in giving them. For allotments, working-men will pay four or five times the agricultural value and have done so, under the old Inclosure Acts. That proves them to be appreciated. Under the recent Act the amount of payment is limited. But is it not strange to take away free enjoyment from many, and to offer in exchange, at any money payment, a privilege to the few?

We have mentioned the schemes of inclosure now coming before the Legislature, but