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of the human race. Agriculture, in particular, was brought from Greece into Italy, according to the account of this matter given by the Romans themselves. y As the Egyptians taught the Greeks ; so the Greeks com. municated their knowledge to the Italians. For many ages, the Romans knew no other form of a plough, than that which, to this day, is used in some districts of the higher Egypt. %

The wise and virtuous Numa was the patron of agri. culture. He distributed the Romans into pagi or villages, and over each placed a superintendant to prevail with them, by every motive, to improve the practice of husbandry. To inspire their industry with redoubled vi. gour, he frequently condescended to be their overseer himself. This wise and judicious policy had a most happy influence upon the subsequent manners and for. tunes of Rome. Our consuls, says the Roman Orator, a were called from the plough. Those illustrious characters, who have most adorned the commonwealth, and have been best qualified to manage the reins of government with dignity and success, dedicated a part of their time and of their labour to the cultivation of their landed estates. In those glorious ages of the republick, the farmer, the judge, and the soldier were to each other a reciprocal ornament. After having finished the publick business with glory and advantage to himself and to


1. Pot. Ant. 138.

y 1. Gog. Or. Laws. 88.

z Id. 90.

a Ab aratro arcessebantur, qui consules fierent-Apud majores nostros, summi viri, clarissimique homines, qui omni tempore ad gubernacula reipublicæ sedere debebant, tamen in agris quoque colendis aliquantum operæ temporisque consumserint. Cic. pro Ros. Am. C. 18.


his country, the Roman magistrate descended, with modest dignity, from the elevation of office; and reassumed, with contentment and with pleasure, the peaceful labours of a rural and independent life.

When agriculture was once introduced, and its utility was known and experienced; it became natural to search and adopt the measures necessary for distinguishing possessions permanently; that every one who laboured and who excelled in this fundamental profession, might be secured in enjoying the fruits of his labours and his improvements. Hence the foundation of laws, which instituted and regulated the division and stable posses. sion of the soil. Hence, too, the origin and the importance of land marks. In the early period in which Job lived, it was part of the description of a turbulent and wicked man, that he removed the land marks, and violently took away flocks. The inspired legislator of the Jews speaks of them as of an institution, which, even in his time, was anciently established in Canaan. shalt not remove thy neighbour's land mark, which they of old time have set in thy inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess it.". Numa, mild as he was, ordered those who were guilty of this crime, to suffer a capital punishment.d

" Thou

The inference which we draw from this long detail of facts is—that agriculture gave rise to that degree of property in land, which consists in the right of exclusive and permanent possession and use.

1 Job xxiv, 2.

C, Deut. xix. 14.

d 1. Gog. Or. Laws. 32.

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We have seen that among the ancient Germans, this degree of property was altogether unknown. The Saxons, who emigrated into England, and made a conquest there, were a part of the ancient German nation. Their settlement in England produced, with regard to the present subject, a considerable change in their sentiments and habits. After they settled in England, instead of continuing to be hunters, they became husbandmen. In pursuing this occupation, they ceased to wander annually from spot to spot; they became habituated and attached to a fixed residence; they acquired a permanent and an exclusive degree of property in land. This degree, among them, as among other nations, proceeded from their improvement in agriculture. e

We have good reason for believing, that, for some time after the settlement of the Saxons in England, the landed estatesac quired by individuals were, in general, but of a small extent. Inexpert in agriculture when they first arrived, their progress in the separate appropriation of land was, therefore, slow. This slow appropriation met, besides, with obstructions and interruptions from the vigorous opposition of the Britons, who, for centuries, disputed every inch of ground with the invaders of their country. Conformably to this opinion, we find that, from the beginning of the Saxon government, the land was divided into hides. A hide comprehended as much as could be cultivated by a single plough. The general estimation of real property, by this small and inaccurate measure, points, with sufficient clearness, to the leading circumstance, which originally marked and regulated the greatest number of landed estates. f

& Millar, 50.

f İd. 85. 144. 181.


But we have also good reason for believing, that, among the Saxons, the smallness of their landed property was compensated by its independence. They were free. men; and their law. of property was, that they might challenge a power to do what they pleased with their own. But this degree and quality of property will be considered afterwards.

Having traced property, and especially property in land, from its general to its separate and exclusive state, it will now be proper to consider the advantages, which the latter state possesses over the former.

This superiority of separate over common property has not been always admitted: it has not been always admitted even in America. In the early settlement of this country, we find two experiments on the operation and effects of a community of goods. The issue of each, however, was very uncomfortable.

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The first was made in Virginia. An instruction was given to the colonists, that, during five years next after their landing, they should trade jointly ; that the produce of their joint industry should be deposited in a common magazine ; and that, from this common magazine, every one should be supplied under the direction of the council. What were the consequences ? I relate them in the words of the Historian of Virginia.j“ And now the English began to find the mistake of forbidding and preventing private property; for whilst they all laboured jointly together, and were fed out of the common store, happy was he that could slip from his labour, or slubber over his work in any manner.

1 Bac, on Gov. 123


Neither had they any concern about the increase ; presuming, however the crop prospered, that the publick store must maintain them. Even the most honest and industrious would scarcely take so much pains in a week, as they would have done for themselves in a day.”

The second experiment was made in the colony of New Plymouth. During seven years, all commerce was carried on in one joint stock. All things were common to all ; and the necessaries of life were daily distributed to every one from the publick store. But these regulations soon furnished abundant reasons for complaint, and proved most fertile sources of common calamity. The colonists were sometimes in danger of starving; and severe whipping, which was often administered to promote labour, was only productive of constant and general discontent. This absurd policy became, at last, apparent to every one ; and the introduction of exclusive property immediately produced the most comfortable change in the colony, by engaging the affections and invigorating the pursuits of its inhabi,

tants. i

The right of separate property seems to be founded in the nature of men and things; and when societies become numerous, the establishment of that right is highly important to the existence, to the tranquillity, to the elegancies, to the refinements, and to some of the virtues of civilized life.

b Stith. 39.

i Chal. 89, 90.

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