Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/22

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10
OUR COMMON LAND.

roughly over the facts and the rights of the case. The first placed the lord of the manor in his position as lord, giving him certain privileges, and coupling with them many responsibilities. The second gradually removed these responsibilities, and converted into a property what was at first little more than an official trust. If these considerations are beyond the scope of the law courts, they are proper for Parliament. One step has been made. It has been proved that it is not necessary to purchase Commons for the public, but that ample means of protecting them from inclosure exist. It is also obvious that the rights which constitute these means are now in practice represented by a public user of Commons for recreation. The Legislature should, I venture to think, recognise this user as a legal right.”

If the Legislature would do this, Commons all over England might be kept open, which, I venture to think, would be a great gain.