They tell me also (and it certainly appears to me that both statements are evident on reading the Bill) that unless Mr. Cross consents to insert a clause forbidding all inclosures except under this Act, the passing of it will be followed by a large number of high-handed inclosures under old Acts, or without legal right. For unless the right of some independent body like the public who use the space can be recognised as having a voice in opposing illegal inclosures, what chance have the rural Commons? The agricultural labourers, often tenants-at-will of a powerful landlord, can be ejected and their rights immediately cancelled; moreover, they do not know the law, they have few to advise them, to plead their cause, or to spend money on expensive lawsuits. Mr. Lefevre says in the same letter quoted above, “I would at least ask them to declare all inclosures not authorised by Parliament to be primâ facie illegal and to remove the necessity of litigation by
Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/24
This page has been validated.
OUR COMMON LAND.