Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/214

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THE FUTURE OF OUR COMMONS.

commoners have been adjudged sufficient to preserve them from inclosure. It is therefore deeply to be regretted that last session the Board of Works again resorted to their old practice of purchasing these rights; they gave £5,000 for Bostal Heath, near Woolwich. The purchase was clearly unnecessary in this case, because a decree of the Court of Chancery exists preventing the inclosure of the heath. The Board probably took this step from a dislike to the trouble of defending their scheme for regulation. Such a practice must heavily burden the ratepayers of London, already quite sufficiently taxed. And this is done in order to secure for them that which there seems no reason to suppose could not be secured without any such expenditure, open spaces having already been legally preserved without purchase in the cases of Epping, Coulsden, Berkhampstead, and others. It is an old idea of the Metropolitan Board, and not a harmless one. In 1865, the chair-