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Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
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Land Laws and the Agricultural Depression.
(S518ac: 1895)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A "resolution" by Wallace and other officers of the Land Nationalisation Society printed on page 3 of the 11 October 1895 issue of the The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser (and other papers). To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S518AC.htm

    We have received the following resolution, which gives the views of land nationalisers upon the agricultural question:--

    "The Executive Committee of the Land Nationalisation Society rejoice that the critical condition of British agriculture is at length attracting that widespread attention which is a necessary precedent to the improvement that all alike desire. They heartily endorse proposals for such reforms as the provision of technical instruction for working agriculturists, and the transmission of farm produce by the railways at low and uniform rates. But at the same time they desire to record their conviction that the root of the present trouble lies neither in foreign competition, nor in indifference to, or ignorance of, new methods, nor yet in the heavy charges of monopolist railway companies; but, rather, in the landlord system itself. For that system of private property in land gives to one class an unjust power to levy tribute upon the industry of all other classes. It has ruined thousands of tenant-farmers by rack rents, and thrown vast tracts of land out of cultivation; while the cultivators of the soil are generally denied that security of tenure and freedom of initiative without which the most productive cultivation is impossible. Moreover, access to the land is extensively denied to small farmers and labourers, the very classes which are specially adapted to supply the home market with such produce as dairy and fruit goods, now imported to the annual value of more than £30,000,000. The committee would, therefore, earnestly impress upon the Government that there is only one way to get rid of agricultural depression, and that is by the steady diminution and ultimate abolition of the present private monopoly of the nation's land, with a view to establishing in its place a system of State ownership with local control under which the interests of the whole community may be effectually safeguarded and fostered.

Alfred R. Wallace, president;
A. C. Swinton, chairman of committee;
Joseph Hyder, general secretary.

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