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of the feudalization of Europe, yet with due reservation as to views not yet brought to absolute proof, it may be admitted that these and kindred causes go far toward explaining it. Whether it was seldom or often that the old mark or village-community was actually transformed into the manor with its feudal lord, the historical succession of the manor-system to the mark-system is at least plausibly inferred by Sir Henry Maine. The tenants retained in some degree the old commoner's rights of pasture and taking firewood, but the waste or common-land became the lord's waste, and in time it came to be assumed by legal authorities that the commoners had obtained their rights by sufferance of the lord.* In later ages the decay of the feudal-system, far from re-establishing the ancient agricultural institution of the mark, still further obliterated the traces of its past existence, so that the claim to explain as its relics our village-commons as well as our remaining open-fields and lammas-meadows, sounds to most Englishmen somewhat startling at the first hearing, though admitted on consideration as not at all unreasonable in itself.
We cannot show in modern England anything approaching the remarkable case of actual maintenance of the old village-community, which might be studied in Central France within a quarter of a century. In Mons. Le Play's volume will be found a description of the village of Les Jault, the last survivor of a number of communities which existed in the Nivernais. These were considered to have been established by feudal seigneurs some centuries ago, but with our present information we must come to the somewhat different conclusion that they represented more ancient village-settlements, which in the course of history came under the authority of feudal lords, but continued to exist after the abolition of the feudal-system. About 1840, the little community of Jault consisted of seven partial families, whose heads were kinsmen and bore the same name. The land, buildings, and cattle were held in common, each family having a separate dwelling-compartment in the common building, furnished principally at the common cost, and the members taking their meals in the common hall, where the chief and his second had the distinction of a separate table. The community, industrious and moral in its habits, prospered till, in the present century, the spirit of individualism' among the young people began to undermine the patriarchal authority. They were no longer content, as in the good old days, to work with good-will and obedience under the master who knew what was right better than they did, who treated them as his children, and divided the produce of the common labour according to the wants of each. Now they wanted to lead the old folks, to work for their own private gain, to have accounts and interfere in the division of proceeds. Thus it came to pass that the members quarrelled and went to law, and the society was broken up in 1846.
* It is a fair instance of the currency of the feudal view that the origin of manors lay in grants of territory to lords, to find it generally accepted in Six Essays on Commons Preservation : written in Competition for Prizes offered by Henry W. Peek, Esq.' (London, 1867). Mr. W. P. Beale, however, in his acute Essay (No. 2), traces common-rights from the mark.
Looking, from a political point of view, at the system of communities which has thus had so important a place in the history of the world, we see in it an institution eminently suitable for the agricultural settlement of new countries by barbaric clans, and for the permanence and extension of barbaric society. The life is favourable to patriarchal virtues, to simplicity, sobriety, obedience, family attachment. The value of the villagesystem is excellently shown in India, where observers who judge most severely the moral condition of the individual Hindoos speak with favour of the institution which binds them together with a bond of mutual goodwill and justice. Where our legislators have to deal with such communities, deep-rooted in the present national life of India, they, no doubt, do well to take the ancient organization as in present fitness with the character of the races who have been shaped for ages under its influence, and to maintain it as the basis of social order. It is true that, under the influence of English ideas, the native political standards are changing. The change is inevitable, and in many ways desirable; nor is it to be expected that the primitive village-organization will for ever escape in India the fate to which progressive civilization seems everywhere to doom it. Its virtues are great, but its practical defects seem insurmountable. While a country is only cleared in isolated patches by a scanty population of simple habits and moderate desires, the emigrant families who have obtained their titles, each to its village-tract, by a right compounded of conquest and collective squatting, may long continue to grow into communities, large, prosperous, and closely knit within themselves. But as they more and more occupy the land, and come too near to close contact, their intensely quarrelsome habit will lead to intertribal war, one of the effects of which is to give to individual chiefs that uncontrolled possession of large estates which is fatal to the very scheme of the village-community. And where the tendency to war is restrained, the peaceable increase of such villages tends to determine their limits of existence by intensifying the causes of their dissolution. Better agricultural methods are required to obtain subsistence from the more crowded land ;
and it need scarcely be said that a peasant-village, governed by old men whose supreme authority is ancestral custom, is not a society with progressive tendencies. Socialistic cultivation of land is an institution which village-communities have existed long enough to condemn as practically objectionable ; for in most districts the parcels of tilled ground apportioned among the several households are well on their way to become individual holdings. We must guard against a certain ambiguity of terms, which may lead to the erroneous inference that the villages classed as communities are always or even generally communistic in the extreme sense as to their practical working. Their state is, in fact, much more instructive, seeming, as it does, to show the tendency to break down socialism into individualism. Even the weaker remains of the community-system are likely to disappear altogether in countries where they come into competition with the larger capital and superior management which belong to individual ownership. The necessity of conforming to a rude traditional tillage made the open-field-system in England utterly contemptible even to old-fashioned judges of agriculture. Three hundred years ago, Tusser, in his Five Hundreth Pointes of Good Husbandry,' gave his own experience of the remains of the old community-system, still to be studied on a large scale in many parts of the country, where the question between it and the inclosure-system was being fought out in a practical way. His verdict was absolutely against the old village-husbandry, with its bad produce, and its idle, thieving, poverty-stricken population. It was absolutely in favour of inclosure :
The country inclosed I praise,
More plenty of mutton and beef,
Than there, where inclosure is most.' Even the right of common pasture in lammas-meadows and the like-picturesque relic of old English manners as it is—is unprofitable from an economic point of view. The late history of a single estate, burdened with such rights, may serve as a general example. It consisted of several hundred acres of pasture and woodland, on which a number of persons, the representatives,
apparently, of the original commoners, had each during the summer the right of so many leazes (i. e., pasture for so many head of cattle). These leazes were bought up by the proprietor of the estate, who, keeping it still as a principally pasture-farm, spent a few years' rent on draining and improvements, and tripled its annual produce. On the whole, it may be laid down as a conclusion, that so far as regards the problem of feeding the greatest number of mouths from a given district, the decision of history, after a trial lasting through many ages, is being given for individual as against communistic possession of land.
ART. VII.-1. Mémoires d'Alexandre Dumas. Tomes 16. 2. Mémoires d'Alexandre Dumas. Deuxième Series. Tomes 8.
mankind than when he left his name and memory to foreign nations and the next ages. A whole host of proverbs might be cited in justification of this bequest; and Lord Russell has felicitously described a proverb as the wisdom of many and the wit of one. “No man is a prophet in his own country.” • No man is a hero to his valet de chambre. Familiarity breeds contempt.' What are these but so many variations of the same familiar tune, so many modes of expressing the same universally recognized truth, that it is vain to hope for a just and fair appreciation from our contemporaries. We may be unduly exalted as well as unduly lowered by them, for a brief period or for a set purpose; but that they should hold the scales even, and pronounce impartially on the merits or demerits of a living rival or associate, would seem to border on a moral impossibility. In conversation with James Smith, Crabbe expressed great astonishment at his own popularity in London, adding, “In my own village they think nothing of me.' If people cannot bring themselves to contemplate as a real genius the quiet unobtrusive character whom they see moving amongst them like any other ordinary mortal, how can they be expected to recognize, as a duly qualified candidate for the character
, one who is mixed up in a succession of literary or party intrigues and contests, who is alternately wounding their prejudices or flattering their self-love, whose fame or notoriety resembles the shuttlecock, which is only kept from falling by being struck from side to side in rivalry.
In England, of late years, political acrimony has been nearly banished from the higher regions of criticism; but an infinity
of disturbing forces have been unceasingly at work to prevent the fair estimate of a popular writer in France, and there never was a popular writer who had better reason than Alexander Dumas to protest against the contemporary judgment of his countrymen, or to appeal, like Bacon, to foreign nations and the next ages. This could hardly have been his own opinion when he commenced the publication of his autobiography, which was far from mitigating the spirit of detraction he had provoked; but his death may be accepted as an atonement for his manifold offences; and the most cursory glance at his career will show that its irregularities were indissolubly connected with its brilliancy. It was an adventurous one, in every sense of the term. From its commencement to its close he threw reflection overboard, and cast prudence to the winds. He is one of the most remarkable examples of fearless self-reliance, restless activity, and sustained exertion, we ever read or heard of. His resources of all sorts, mental and bodily, proved inexhaustible till six months before his death, although he had been drawing upon them from early youth with reckless prodigality. Amongst his many tours de force was the composition of a complete five-act drama within eight days, and the editorship of a daily journal. Le Mousquetaire, upon a distinct understanding with his subscribers, faithfully observed, that the contents should be supplied pen.
It was towards the end of the second month of the satisfactory performance of this task that he received the following letter:· MY DEAR DUMAS,
"You have been informed that I have become one of your subscribers (abonnés), and you ask my opinion of your journal. I have an opinion on things human: I have none on miracles : you are superhuman. My opinion of you! It is a note of exclamation ! People have tried to discover perpetual motion. You have done better : you have created perpetual astonishment. Adieu; live; in other words, write: I am there to read.
· LAMARTINE. Paris, 20th December, 1853.' He set up a theatre-Le Théâtre Historique—for the representation of his own plays, as he set up a journal for his own contributions. He has not written quite as many plays as Lope de Vega, but he has written four times as many
the author of Waverley; and he has done quite enough in both walks to confute the theory that a successful dramatist must necessarily fail as a novelist and vice versâ; a theory, it will be remembered, maintained and exemplified by Sir Walter Scott, and plausibly supported by