Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/207

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195
THE FUTURE OF OUR COMMONS.

land?" It ought not to be left to any private person to make such terms with his tenants, still less ought he to be allowed to decide, by high-handed erection of fence, how much is his and how much is theirs. Yet there are numbers of such inclosures silently going on throughout England in districts where there is no one powerful enough, rich enough, or with knowledge enough to carry the matter into a court of law, or watch effectually that justice be done. Such suits are very costly; the law in such cases is often complicated; a large amount is needed to secure the plaintiff against loss should he not have costs awarded him; and landowners, knowing that these difficulties prevent their being opposed when they inclose the tempting ground adjoining their park, and give a little bit of it to all neighbours likely to be troublesome, too often exercise a power which there is no one at hand to prevent.

Even the metropolitan commons, which might