Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/216

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THE FUTURE OF OUR COMMONS.

matter of precedent. The plan of operation of any body of men which, like the Commons Preservation Society, should examine the rights of the public and uphold them by law, is much to be preferred to the purchase scheme, though this may be more acceptable to large landowners, and have more appearance of magnificence.

To sum up. It is by watchful care that every scheme under the new Act can be well considered and wisely decided when it is brought before Parliament; it is by steady co-operation to bring to a legal issue every unauthorised inclosure that a share in our common land can alone be preserved for the landless classes. Shortly—before, perhaps, as a Nation, we awake to its importance—will this great question be permanently decided.

In England there is a very small and continually decreasing number of landowners. We have no peasant proprietors as in France; and few tenants of small holdings, as in