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or the rotation he is to observe, the tenant is seldom or never
It must be allowed, indeed, that many landlords have no other way of knowing the value of their lands, or of bringing them up to an equal rent but this, or that of letting them by auction. They say, with some degree of justice, that the tenants only are to blame if they hurt themselves, when ala lowed to make their own rent. It may be also said, that competition leads to exertion, and exertion to improvement, and improvement to the general good of the public..
When this mode is not adopted, every landlord should be at due pains to know the nature and value of his lands, the purpose for which they are best adapted, the management that beit suits them, and the rent which they can well bear. To this purpose he should apply then, this management he should prescribe, and this rent he should openly demand, and then
choose his tenant ; giving always the preference to the one he has, if he has been found to deserve it. This would create confidence in the landlord, and give encouragement to improvement.
The length of the leafe should be proportioned to the improvements to be made on the farm ; unless the landlord makes those improvements himfelf, and exacts interest for his money. No wise tenant will lay out much on the improvement of his farm, or even of his stock, if his lease is not long enough to reimburse him with interest. On lands open, and so little cultivated as most of this county, 19 years is thought too short a term for carrying on any great or permanent improvements. A farm in a bad condition, or exhausted state, takes more than half this time before it can be got into good heart and in good order : and by that time the farmer is discouraged from proceeding, as he is not certain of reaping the fruit of his labours,
Short leases are a great obstacle to improvement; and long ones can hardly be expected while lands are fo rapidly rising in their value, and their produce yearly giving a higher price. It were much to be wished that some plan could be devised, by which a tenant of skill, industry, and ability, could go on without interruption or dread of removal, while, at the same time, the landlord should have an adequate rent for his lands. But such a plan, that could be accommodated to all times and places, it is difficult, if not impossible, to contặive *,
* A plan of this kind has been proposed by Lord Kames, and applauded by many. His Lordship propofes that leafes should consist of certain fixed periods, at the end of each of which (suppose 19 years) there should be a ftipulated rise of the rent; allowing the tenant, upon giving due warning, to reSign, if he pleases, at the end of each; and allowing the landlord upon the like warning to turn him out, provided he pays him 10 years purchase of the advanced rent, supposed to arise from the meliorations made by the tenant on the faith of his being continued in the possession. If the tenant shall offer a still higher rent than was stipulated, the landlord shall pay him 10 years purchase of thật offer also. This will encourage the farmer to improve with spirit, as at the svorf he may expect a reasonable return for his exertions: and the landlord, All leafes, except in the case of death or bankruptcy, should exclude assignees and subtenants, in order to prevent one from oppressing others, and it would be well if no farm was let to any who does not himself reside on it. Even the poor cottager is of such consequence to the landlord, as to merit such a ftipulation in his favour as may fecure him from the oppression of any little tyrant. If services and public burdens are not entirely excluded from leases, as they ought, they should at least be few, and well defined, in order to prevent any disagreeable difference. For the same reafon the circuitous language of law, which plain farmers cannot understand, should as much as possible be avoided.
Differences between Landlords and Tenants. THESE seldom occur in this county, as the lands are for the most part held by leases which specify the covenants clearly, and contain few restrictions. And where there are no leases, there is no room for any dispute, as the supreme law muft be the landlord's pleasure. Most of the lesser and more free quent causes of difference, fuch as the repairs of houses, dikes, &c. are settled by judicious men, who are sworn appraisers, appointed in every parish for such purposes. - This is an excellent institution, and it were much to be wished that a legal fanction could be obtained for having all
if he thinks it his interest to remove him, can be no loser in giving him such na remuneration for his improvements; as this would be as gainful to him as if he bought a new estate, free from taxes, for only 10 years purchase.
But it may be objected to this ingenious plan, that lands, without any melioration at all, may rise in the course of 19 years much higher than could have been foreseen or expected. In this case it would be hard that the land lord should either lose the advantage he is justly entitled to, or pay 10 years of the increased value, which took place in consequence of the times, and not of any meliorations made by the tenant. This matter, however, might prom bably be adjusted by arbiters mutually chosen.
differences between one man and another, at least under gol. value, settled by a jury of plain, honest, and intelligent men in every parish, which would save many a tedious and expenfive process. In a county so scattered and extensive as this, a wise man will rather forego his interest, than dispute it in a process before the Ordinary, who may be 50 or 100 miles diftant, and take perhaps seven years to determine it*. When justice is thus distant and difficult to get, few will be disposed, and still fewer able to sue for it; and the honest and peaceable subject will almost always be the loser. The prosperity of the county could not fail to be greatly promoted by any measure that could alleviate this evil +.
* The writer had occasion lately to see a letter of the following tenor, in answer to one craving payment of an account of long and forgotten matters : “ If, “ as you say, you have been these seven years defending me in a process at the • instance of A. B., of the C. Roop of Lorne, it is strange, that in all that time “ you never thought of letting me know what you were doing. If you had, “ I could have informed you, that A. B., of the C. floop of Lorne, was dead « five years ago ; and that as he died bankrupt, none could be so hardy as to “ take up his quarrel."
The expence of recovering any ordinary debt, when messengers, &c. must be sent to such a distance, may exceed twice its value, and verify the account which Gulliver gives of the laws of his country, that a man may be ruined by gaining a few causes.
Much good will arise from the late law, which gives to justices the power of determining all matters under 31. 6s. 8d. It would be desirable to have their power still mors extended, to the price of a cow or horse, or a servant's yearly wages (fay 181. or 20l.), so as to answer the ordinary transactions of the poor.
† « In Holland, burghers of established character, to whom the name of “ Peace Makers is given, are chosen to determine any claims, when the sum does “ not exceed 200 guilders (about 181.).” Howard's Account of the Lazarettos in Europe,
" In the Scilly Illes, all civil matters are managed by what is called the " Court of Twelve; in which the commander in chief, the proprietor's agent, " and the chaplain, have their seats, in virtue of their offices; the other nine “are chosen by the people. These decide, or rather compromise all diffe“rences, and punith small offences by fines, &c.” Political Survey, Vol. I. p. 482.
... - Sect. VI.-Expences. Those who have large poffeffions live well; those who have small ones live poorly. The small farmers, for nine or ten months in the year, make generally two, and sometimes three meals a-day of potatoes, with herrings or milk. Such as can afford it salt a cow in winter, and kill a sheep or two in hara vest. Oatmeal pottage, or oatmeal jelly (fowens), make commonly the third meal a-day, with milk; and oaten or bear bread, when the potatoes fail, supply their place. In Kintyre it is customary to take some thin pottage, or a little bread and milk, before they begin work in the morning; and after dinner, should it even be potatoes and herring, or flesh and broth, they have commonly a little bread and milk, by way of desert or supplement. But neither of these customs are known in the other parts of the county.
In general most farmers live as they can afford; and as it would be difficult to find two farmers whose skill, industry, and attention, advantages and disadvantages, are the fame, fo it would be difficult to find any two whose expences exactly quadrate. Few ordinary farmers expect or accomplish more than to make their outlays and returns balance at the year's end. Of the manner of doing this an instance follows.
Would not some similar institution be of great use in all parishes, or at least in all parts that are reniote from the ordinary seats of justice ? Something is wanted to make the course of justice more expeditious and easy.