Page:The Land Question.djvu/3

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THE LAND QUESTION.




Lecture by Mr. C. A. Fyffe, Liberal Candidate for the representation of the City of Oxford, delivered at the Oxford Reform Club, on Wednesday, November 26th, 1884.




Mr. Fyffe, who was very heartily received, said:— The subject on which I am going to address you this evening is a somewhat technical one. It is necessary to go into details which may cause some strain on your attention; but if we are really to understand the land question, if we are to arrive at projects of reform which are practical and not speculative; above all, if we are to make out such a case that people who are not inclined to agree with us will confess that there is something in what we say,—then it is a matter of necessity to go into details, and to make ourselves see things, not as the politician or the man of letters sees them, but as the farmer, or the labourer, or the small tradesman sees them, or, I may add, as the emigrant sees them, when he leaves his native village, where, in all its solitude, he finds that there is no room and no career for himself.

I think that if an intelligent foreigner, accustomed to the system of general proprietorship in land which prevails in most European countries, were to go about the midlands and south-east of England, about our growing towns as well as our country districts, with the object of studying our land-system and the results that flow from it, he might make some of the following remarks:—"I see a country on the whole fertile and well cultivated, but often very lonely. I see the houses of the country-gentlemen more handsome, more picturesque, more beautifully wooded than anywhere upon the continent of Europe. I see substantial farm-houses with good useful buildings, and often with