Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/208

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196
THE FUTURE OF OUR COMMONS.

have been thought to be already secured by the Metropolitan Commons Act of 1866, are not absolutely safe. No one now would apply for leave to inclose one of these into to, but there is hardly a company advocating a scheme for a reservoir or sewage farm, sidings for a railway or what not, that does not cast longing eyes on the cheap common land, one little bit of which it is supposed will hardly be missed. Accordingly, application is made to Parliament for compulsory power to take a small portion. So our metropolitan commons even may be nibbled away, and polluted and spoilt by the proximity of objectionable buildings or works. No less than five such schemes came before the public in 1877 affecting Barnes, Mitcham, and Hampstead.

The reader will perceive from what has been said that three distinct dangers threaten our common land:—

1st. That due use should not be made of the powers given by the Act of last year, to