Arthur Young Views The Countryside

Arthur Young Views The Countryside - Arthur Young Views The...

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Arthur Young Views The Countryside Arthur Young, an Englishman, traveled across France on the eve of the Revolution recording his impressions of life there, particularly those aspects that seemed to him to compare unfavorably with his native land. In the excerpt below, he comments on the peasantry’s landholdings, remarking on the multiple arrangements of land tenure and on the small size of peasant farms, all of which seemed strange to him, because, in England at this time, most of the arable land belonged to absentee landlords who hired others to work their large farms for them. I. The small properties of the peasants are found everywhere, to a degree we have no idea of in England; they are found in every part of the kingdom, even in those provinces where other tenures prevail; but in Quercy, Languedoc, the whole district of the Pyrenées, Béarn, Gascogne, part of Guienne, Alsace, Flanders, and Lorraine, they abound to a greater degree than common. In Flanders, Alsace, on the Garonne, the Béarn, I found many in comfortable circumstances, such as might rather be called small farmers than cottagers, and in Basse Bretagne, many are reputed rich, but in general they are poor and miserable, much arising from the minute division of their little farms among all the children. In Lorraine, and the part of Champagne that joins it, they are quite wretched. I have, more than once, seen division carried to such excess, that a single fruit tree, standing in about ten perch of ground, has constituted a farm, and the local
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Arthur Young Views The Countryside - Arthur Young Views The...

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