Sense of History: an unfinished draft of an undergraduate history textbook by Robert C. Binkley, 1939-40. This transcription is not yet fully corrected.
[p.046] Almost all the two billion people in the world eat every day. Their food intake is two to three thousand calories per person per day. They cannot, like merchants, balance their accounts once a year; they must balance their accounts with nature every day. Five or six trillion calories of food per day supply the energy that keeps the human race going on this planet. The margin between the maximum that can be consumed and the minimum that must be consumed to prevent death is indeed several thousand calories a day, varying from person to person and in relation to the amount of work done. For a man without food, discomfort begins in hours, death comes in days. A man with insufficient food falls quickly a prey to disease. We have no reason to think that these conditions have changed through geologic time.
The energy which is thus measured in calories of food comes from the sun. Solar energy is converted into animal food by plants. To catch this energy plant life is spread out in the sun, either as crop or pasture. It is in this way that land provides livelihood.
The labor that produces the world's food is managed by two different types of management organization, family management and plantation management. Family management is overwhelmingly preponderant. Almost two-thirds of the world's population obtains its livelihood by working on the land under family management. The head of the family directs the work in the ordinary exercise of internal family power. The members of the family are the working organization.
There are about twenty-eight million of these family farming households, with a total of over 150 million members, in Europe (excluding Russia), today. There are twenty-two million more such families in Russia, among whom the Soviet collective farm system has substituted plantation management for family management. Some of these families in Russia and Europe are established in separate family farmsteads, but most of them live in villages.
Great as is the preponderance of village life today, it was even greater in the past, especially in Europe. At the beginning of the Era of Nationalism 75% to 80% of the people in Western Europe were living on the land, and most of these in villages.
[p.047] Just as the internal order of a family has a dwelling that encloses it physically, so the internal order of the village is enclosed within an area of land. The village is a geographic unit because it is a quasi-botanical unit. It is a group, a going concern, that has stabilized its food supply by administering the plant life of a given area. Its rhythm is the botanical rhythm of the seasons. Its basic operations are the planting, harvesting and storing of foods. By means of storage the long-term botanical rhythm of the seasons is converted into the short term zoological rhythm of daily bread.
The people of a village are those who dwell there. To the village belong both land and people. The human blood stream may be caught as in an eddy for many generations in a village, with little migration in or out, and most of the marrying done within the village circle. A Bavarian peasant girl remarked to the writer that hers was a family of newcomers in the village, for it had been settled there only since the seventeenth century. But whether it does so rapidly or slowly, the blood stream ultimately scatters, by migration and exogamy. The village itself does not scatter. Being botanical, it is bound to the soil. There are specific villages in Europe that have continued on the same site from neolithic times.
Some elements of village organization are practically invariable and universal. Others are subject to change, and have been changing. These must be distinguished from each other.
The area of a village is always stabilized within certain natural limits. Villages cannot expand indefinitely, like empires. The area of village land must be at once large enough to spread adequate plant life under the sun, and small enough to permit the villagers to walk to and from their work in the fields. The radius of a walking distance marks the natural limit of the village land.
The first charge upon the production of the village is always the livelihood of the villagers. Though some men may eat without working, none can work without eating. If all the villagers starve, the village goes out of existence.
The productivity of the village provides normally some surplus above livelihood -- above the bare minimum necessary to sustain life. Studies of consumption habits in various parts of the world, from Indiana to Indo-China, suggest the conclusion that in no society is more than [p.048] 75% or less than 35% of the average over-all Income of a people devoted to food. There is a difference between the bare minimum of food and warmth that will sustain life and the amount of consumption goods that the people feel to be necessary for their comfort. This difference is variable; it can be increased by teaching people to want things they have not previously wanted, and diminished by teaching people to abandon their desires for certain things. It is by no means the same in different parts of the world. While it is universally true that the village normally provides the minimum necessary for life, it is by no means universally true that the village provides all that is necessary to satisfy the demand of the villagers for what they think they ought to have.
Most village standards of living have been standards you would regard as low. Many of your economic discontents and disappointments will arise because you will not be satisfied with ways of life that were those of most of your ancestors. Some of your anxieties will arise from new kinds of insecurity which they did not experience. In the main, village standards of consumption have been those of suitable subsistence rather than competitive consumption.
The surplus of the village -- that is to say the amount by which its product exceeds the minimum requirements of livelihood, may be used in an infinite variety of ways. If the decision on the disposition of the surplus remains with the villagers, they may push their standard of living far above the subsistence minimum. If others get control of the surplus, the village standard may be pushed down to the minimum of subsistence, beneath which it cannot pass. The use made of the surplus food arising from work in villages is perhaps the decisive factor in defining the character of a civilization. It may feed robber barons or railway builders; it may sustain courtiers or monks. Wherever It goes, civilization will follow it.
The natural cycle of village activity always runs from management of labor on the land to distribution of the crop. The pattern of this cycle is called land tenure.
Land tenure (like the standard of living above minimum subsistence) is one of the variable elements in village organization. The details of village land tenure vary most widely through the world. In any one place, however, they usually change very slowly.
In Europe the basic land tenure pattern remained fairly constant for a thousand years -- from 800 to 1800. It was a [p.049] complex of three elements -- first the lowly peasant families who did the work, then the association of these families in a village community, finally the lordly family (or church corporation) which received some of the surplus. This type of village constitution existed in the Roman Age, and lasted through the Barbarian and Feudal Ages, and well into the Modern Age. In the Era of Nationalism, however, it underwent certain comprehensive changes.
One of the changes that took place in the Era of Nationalism was a change in the internal geography of the village. This was called enclosure. The old village fields were subdivided into strips. The village community managed the fields in general, while each family attended to its array of strips in the several fields. Thus a line of management ran from the village to the peasant family. The village decided that a certain field would be plowed and sown at a certain time to a certain crop. The family decided which member of the family would hold the plow on its own strips. There were also common pastures and common forests within which the families had rights to graze stock or cut wood, though no part of the land was marked out to any family.
Enclosure consolidated the various strips of land into larger fields, giving each family a field which could be fenced or hedged - hence "enclosed." It divided the common pastures and woodlands among the families. Thereafter each family had complete management of its own territory; the village community lost Its management powers and responsibilities. Thus management of the village land as a whole was decentralized; management of each family's land was made independent.
(This change is comparable to the change that took place at a higher level, in the territorial reorganization of Europe as a whole. The whole continent was, in a sense, subjected to enclosure. The frontiers of power areas were made more definite, the states were territorially consolidated, and each became more independent.)
The change in management responsibility could go in either of two directions. We have noted that along with the lowly families of the village there was a lordly family that had a claim to some of the surplus. If enclosure fixed management responsibility in the lordly family the management often became large scale plantation management, with overseers and superintendents in charge. If the enclosure gave management responsibility [p.050] over the newly formed fields to the lowly families, the family type of management prevailed. Various combinations of these alternatives took place, as we shall see.
The change in management was accompanied by many changes in technique, especially the application of the results of scientific experiment, and the use of new kinds of tools, machines and sources of power. This application of new techniques to increase production is called rationalization. Enclosure and rationalization went hand in hand.
Since a piece of land cannot be moved about, land management means managing people. This is done, of course, by the exercise of power. And power is usually established by threatening with duress -- (force) -- or offering reward. If the management uses duress primarily to keep people from coming on the land, the system is called free. If it uses duress primarily to keep people from leaving the land, the system is called servile. In a free country there are many "no-trespassing signs". In a servile country there may be patrols and a system of passes and permits to catch people who have left their land without permission. Both systems develop in the working people the habits and routines without which no organization can function.
In a free system people often receive money as wages for coming upon the land and working it; in a servile system they often pay money for permission to go away from the land and work elsewhere. Just as the children of the lowly families who leave their village to work in the city still send money home to their parents, so under the servile system money was often sent to the lordly family by peasants who had left their homes.
The great change in the Era of Nationalism was from the servile to the free system. The lordly families lost their power of duress over the lowly ones.
This change in the management system has involved a change in the system of dividing the surplus. Claims upon the surplus of village production must be based upon one of two theories -- either that the people or the land belong to the claimant. There may be a combination of these two theories.
The lordly families used to claim a share of the surplus on both these grounds. Now these two types of claim have been separated; they lie now in different hands. [p.051] Governmental authority, national and local, has now monopolized all claims for payments which people must make because they, as individuals, are subject to authority. And proprietorship, in a great variety of forms, has monopolized claims based on the principle that the land, rather than the people on it, is controlled. The first types of payments are called taxes, rates, assessments. The second type are called rents, profits, interest. When these claims are separated, lords become simply landlords, and villages become merely local governments, the lowest unit in the whole territorial-political network of power. Land tenure -- the pattern of the cycle of labor management and distribution of product -- is trimmed of all characteristics that cannot be explained as market transactions. This change, which took place largely in the era of nationalism, is called emancipation.
These changes in land tenure have involved a new distribution of risks. The risks are of two kinds -- livelihood risk and a market risk. Starvation Is the extreme penalty of the loser in the one case, mortgage foreclosure or bankruptcy in the other. The incidence of these risks has been changed during the era of nationalism. The livelihood risk has been reduced in Western Europe because the national states have found means of underwriting the minimum livelihood requirements of their entire populations. The market risks have increased, not only because market transactions have come to govern land tenure, but also because an Increasing proportion of the agricultural product passes through a market. In 1S00 two-thirds of the product of European villages was consumed directly, without market sale, either by the lowly families of peasant workers or the lordly families who took some of the surplus. Today the peasant family sells a larger proportion of its product in the market, and depends on the market for a larger proportion of its supply. This renders the village extremely sensitive to market prices, and results in the paradox that a bumper crop may be a disaster because it lowers prices.
When villages fail in their primary function of maintaining livelihood, the resulting crisis is famine. There have been a number of great famines in China, India and Russia in the Era of Nationalism, and one in Western Europe In la^6-bj when the potato crop failed.
It has sometimes happened by way of exception that landlords or governments have carted away from villages not only the surplus production, but some of the minimum livelihood supply, so that starvation ensued. This happened in Ireland in the I840's and in Russia In the 1930's. Resistance to such diversions of food supply are the [p.052] human analogue of the struggle for existence that is found through the animal world. The struggle for existence among human beings is not usually the same thing as the struggle for power.
Despite the changes that have taken place in the internal geography of the village, in the management of labor on its land, in the basis of claims to its surplus and in the incidence of risks, the style of village life has changed less than the style of life in other groups.
We will see this more clearly when we have examined the histories of certain specific villages.
(This whole account is summarized, with the permission of the author, from N.S.B. Gras, The Economic and Social History of an English Village (Crawley, Hampshire) A.D. 909-1928, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1930, a book that stands alone in the literature of this subject.)
Three or four hundred people more or less, living in fifty houses more or less, strung along a crooked street five miles from the town of Winchester and surrounded by something over five square miles (3600) acres) of village land -- that is Crawley through more than ten centuries. In the early Feudal Age, when William the Conqueror's agents made the Domesday survey there were fifty-one houses in the village, and about 260 people; three centuries later, in the late Feudal Age, just before the Black Death, there was a population of about 400; three centuries after that, in the Baroque Era of the Modern Age, (1673), the number of cottages was only thirty-six, and of people about 150. Another three centuries, and, in 1921, there were 412 people living in seventy-five houses in the Civil Parish of Crawley.
Crawley was probably a Celtic village before the Saxon conquest; airplane photographs show traces of old Celtic fields, the names of some of the fields, notably Cumbefurlong, seem to be of Celtic origin, and there has survived in Crawley as in all that part of Hampshire a darker physical type than the Saxon. It seems, moreover, that the original Celtic holdings were on the north side of the street, the Saxon on the south, for the villagers on the north side of the street were subjected to more burdensome obligations, and allotted less land per family, [p.053] than those on the south side, and this inequality persisted throughout the Feudal and the Early Modern Ages. Its origin could be explained if it is assumed that when the West Saxons conquered this region about 519 A.D. they found a Celtic village at Crawley, established a Saxon village along the south side of it, and enslaved the Celts.
Of the Celtic village we know only a little of its internal geography, the layout of its fields. The whole village was doubtless managed by one of those great Celtic clan-families living in a long house, with several generations living and working together, the house subdivided into sections for each sub-family unit. Or it may have been a cluster of little hovels made of wood and wattles. Roman conceptions of land tenure may have replaced Celtic; the villagers must have paid taxes to Rome, for they were only five miles from the Roman city of Winchester. The Roman Age ended, the Saxon Barbarians came.
Exactly what happened when the Saxon war party arrived we can only surmise, but of one thing we are sure: before the Saxons had been many hours in the village they were hungry, and they ate. Doubtless they seized the store of the Celts, either of grain or herds. But that was for the day only. To seize a store of food takes only a day, but to make a crop takes a year. Therefore, we know that the Saxons and Celts evolved some system of land tenure that carried out the cycle of year-long working and daily eating. It was probably at this time that the internal geography of the village was changed, the fields re-bounded. The new boundaries then established lasted, in the main, until 1795, when another outside agency, the British Parliament, intervened to permit some prominent villagers and a great leaseholder to enclose the village land.
A second revolution in Crawley came within a century and a half of the first. The King of the West Saxons had himself baptized by "the holy bishop Birinus". The Church offered him not only salvation but organization. Among the pagans in Crawley there may have been some conflict or lag in following the King, but the chronicle records that the people too were baptised and the charters show that the king granted villages as sources of revenue for the establishment of a bishopric in Winchester. Crawley was among the villages so granted in the latter part of the seventh century, that is, in the middle of the Barbarian Age.
[p.054] The royal grant "mediated" Crawley; the bishop became its lord, coming between it and the king.
As lord of Crawley, the bishop had a claim upon some of the surplus yield of the soil. As a method of securing their share of the surplus, the successors of the Holy Birinus worked out a system by which the villagers would plough and harvest some of the land for the bishop's account, and some for themselves. This was the manorial system; the Saxon village of Crawley was manorialized before the end of the Barbarian Age. A document of the year 909 refers to "land ploughed for the bishop".
The manorialization of Crawley in the late barbarian age meant, in effect, that three managements were coordinated in the control of food production in that village. Some of the land was the bishop's land. It was "ploughed for the bishop", under the direction of the reeve, who was elected by the villagers. This was a kind of plantation management. Then each individual family managed some of the technical details of the farming of its own strips of land in each of the fields. And the village court, the meeting of the villagers, controlled a general regime.
When it came to the distribution of the yield of these fields, each family counted on obtaining its livelihood from the land it supervised, while the reeve, acting on behalf of the bishop, took the yield of the bishop's land and turned it over to the bishop's steward. Thus Crawley functioned as a manor.
A priceless record has survived of Crawley in the early Feudal Age. It is the Domesday Book, the record of a survey made by the agents of William the Conqueror in 1086, twenty years after his conquest of England. At that time about 600 acres were being ploughed for the bishop, and 84O acres for the villagers. The villagers were ranged in three social classes: a few slaves, the "bordars" who made up the bulk of the population, and a few villeins. The bishop was their lord; they could not leave the land without his consent; the system was therefore servile.
One large unit in the village stands separately registered in the Domesday Book, with separate plows and slaves. "Hugh holds three hides. Alwin Stilla held them in parage from the bishop; he could not go anywhere." -- so runs the entry. Evidently a wealthy Saxon serf, Alvin, had possessed a semi-independent holding which was handed over to Hugh, one of the Norman followers of William the Conqueror. There was a kind of manor within a manor in Crawley, just as there were two villages in one.
What had been the impact of great historical events upon the small life of this village? The Roman conquest had imposed a tax upon the Celtic clan-family that managed the land. Then the Saxons came in the early Barbarian Age and shared the land and the working of it. Then the Church in the mid-Barbarian Age claimed some of the surplus, and in the late Barbarian Age routinized its method of collecting [p.055] the surplus by setting apart some of the land to be ploughed for the bishop. Then came the Norman Conquest in the early Feudal Age. Thereafter Norman partisans of the Conqueror and his royal line became bishops of Winchester, and even within the village one substantial holding was transferred from a Saxon to a Norman. In the main, however, the Conquest did not change the routine of the village, nor drive people from it. It merely substituted one group for another in the enjoyment of the surplus. The livelihood of the villagers was fundamentally untouched.
The internal geography of the village from its manorialization to the Enclosure of 1795 was something that changed less than the political geography of Europe in the same centuries. The separate holding of Alwin Stilla may have been the same land unit that was enfranchised in the fourteenth century under the name of Rookley House. Medieval records reveal the existence of another subordinate unit, the Hoo, which seems to have provided the living for the bishop's auditor; it also was enfranchised in the fourteenth century. An estate called Wodecote also had a somewhat separate existence in the middle ages, and is now called Northwood Park and used as a private school. „ The village lands proper lay in more than two score shots, -plots, or patches, each with its distinctive name and well known bounds. There was the Shert, the Rood, Waterslade, Cumbefurlong, Drakenord, Langelong and many others. The reeve's accounts in the mid-Feudal Age, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, refer to these place names constantly. These furlongs lay in six fields, three in North Crawley and three in the South, but the field boundaries seem to have been less stabilized. The furlong was the unit of administration. Thus in 1750 the village court ordered "that everybody shall make headlands so that they may do no damage to the corn nor to the grass at Shirt". This Shirt, or Shert, or LaChert, was and is a forty acre plot; the bishop used it for pasture in the 1320's; it was growing grain In the 1920's. There were more named and bounded land areas within the village of Crawley than there are shires in England or states in Europe. The villagers knew them all and administered them. The patrimony of each village family consisted of rights to the yield of certain strips of land within these furlongs. The bishop held some of these furlongs in their entirety. The cycle of cultivation and pasture in a furlong ran no fixed sequence; decisions were made from year to year. This was a matter of village management, in the hands of the village government.
[p.056] The character of this village government is shown in documents from the thirteenth century to the eighteenth. The system itself doubtless stood substantially unchanged from the Barbarian Age to the early Modern Age.
Once every spring the villagers met in their court to elect their reeve, and once again in the fall, after the harvest, when the reeve's accounts were presented to the bishop's seneschal. The reeve managed the lands that were "plowed for the bishop", and directed the care and shearing of the bishop's sheep. The court judged petty offenses, and made administrative ordinances. It maintained a whipping post and stocks -- no jail, for jails belong to a higher order. It registered deaths and entrances on inheritances, and voted on the admission of new tenants. It levied fines for non-attendance at the court. It was still functioning in this way in the eighteenth century. "Item wee present Edward Broadway for not repairing his hedges at Thornham whereby he had forfeited the sum of ten shillings"; "Item wee order every person to fetter their horses with iron fetters before they turn them loose into the parke on pain of 5 s. everye one offending nor put in more horses thene their number and stent". Item we present that no man shall feed no horses nor kowes in the wast ground in the Corne feeldes tell lamas day upon the penalty of 0-10-0". So run the written judgments of the eighteenth century village court, so must they have run before they were written, for only the villagers could know the details upon which common action was necessary. It was with the Drakenord, the Rood, the Waterslade that these people were dealing, even more than with the bishop and his seneschal.
The records yield a picture of demesne administration in the mid-Feudal Age (the thirteenth century) when manorial organization was at its height.
The management of the bishop's demesne had its headquarters in the buildings of a "home farm" where the demesne work centered, and the bishop's crop was stored. It was in the hall of this home farm that the court held its meetings. Half a dozen "ministerials" -- the village bureaucracy -- had their allotted responsibilities. There was a cheese keeper and the dairy maid and the shepherd and the swine-herd, and above all, the reeve, elected by the villagers every year, and responsible for directing the labor on the "demesne" land -- The pland plowed for the bishop.
[p.057] How were the villagers induced to work on the demesne land? How far did the head of each village household direct its work? What made the village go? The accounts rendered annually by the reeve to the bishop's seneschal and the custumal of the village tell the story.
All the village families were customary tenants. The distinction recorded in the Domesday Book between slaves, bordars, and villeins had disappeared by the thirteenth century (mid-Feudal Age). None of the villagers were free to leave the soil. We know this because there are records of payments made annually by villagers for permission to remain away from their tenements. Had they been free to leave, they need not have paid.
But there was no economic equality in Crawley. All were bound to do some work for the bishop, and all had the right to cultivate some land on their own account, but some held much land for little labor, others little land for much labor. The residents of North Crawley, the farthinglanders, cultivated on their own account an average of five and one-half acres, and owed two days a week work throughout the year. The South Crawley tenants, the yardlanders, cultivated an average of sixteen acres, and owed much less work. The farthinglanders evidently did mostly hand labor, with the bishop's plows and teams, the yardlanders supplied their own plows and oxen. The reeve was elected from among the yardlanders; among the farthinglanders lived the village smith. Gras estimates that the yardlanders could accumulate in a year 36 to 61 shillings of surplus for expenditure, the farthinglanders 6 to 19 shillings.
Yardlanders and farthinglanders alike passed on their patrimonies by inheritance to their children. The custom of the village was so-called cradlehold - the youngest son inherited the tenure of his father. What became of the elder sons is not clear. But in the fourteenth century the practice of leasing some of the demesne to the tenants began, and these leaseholds of demesne land were inherited by a different rule, primogeniture. This local inheritance custom still prevailed in the nineteenth century. In 1831 the village court made a long presentment recording the rule.
After their obligations in work, and their many other payments, such as a churchscot of chickens, had been met, the village households had their sphere of autonomy. They took their surplus to the market at Winchester and sold it for money. They also went to the fair at St. Giles. They dealt with the bishop through their reeve and the bishop was their lord; they dealt with the market as separate [p.058] families. Some of their wool went to Florence.
Some of their dues to the bishop they paid in hard cash, obtained by the sale of their products at Winchester. Not a few of these payments were fines, sometimes paid to compound some offense, as "for sowing the bishop's grain badly", sometimes the payments were more like fees or rents. There was no distinction in the minds of the villages, the reeve, the seneschal or the bishop's auditor between that which was paid to the bishop as a representative of government and that which was paid to him as an owner of property.
The accounting of the reeve shows that the primary interest was in stability; this year's accounts should show the same yield as last year's, or the difference must receive an explanation. The accounts were more like a checking over of status than a rational aid to exploitation. Just as taxes seemd to be merged with rents so accounts seemed to be identified with law. Each year's accounts, based on those of the previous year, are a monument to the inertia of the system. In the eleventh century one Alebroc, a Crawley villager who owed five shillings annually, probably in commutation of military service, received permission to pay that sum in the nearby village of Mardon, which also belonged to the bishop. The reeve's account noted this item of revenue in 1205 with the comment, "He pays at Mardon". For three centuries this entry was carried in the Crawley account. In 1504 the name of this William Albroke was still on the reeve's account and it was still explained that "he pays at Mardon". Through the three hundred years that Alebroc lay quietly in his grave his dues remained unchanged, for he entered no protest, proposed no commutation, and, for all the reeve knew, "paid at Mardon". But the living were not as complaisant as the dead, and the accounts through these three centuries show that in a cumulation of individual changes they overcame some of the inertia of their system, and modified the terms of their tenure.
Little by little in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the villagers were commuting their labor dues for money. In 1208 there were thirteen farthinglanders doing two days work throughout the year, with daily service In the autumn; twenty years later there were only six, and one tenement was vacant, but there was no record of commutation into money. By 1280 four of the farthinglanders had bought themselves out of their burdensome week work. The amount of week-work dropped steadily through the fourteenth century; the Black Death had something to do with it; extra work not covered by customary dues was necessary on the demesne, and this was paid for in wages; the wages increased in the fourteenth century. By 1410 the week work had all but disappeared; by 1448 it was extinct. Other labor duties, such as cartage, continued; the duty of helping in washing [p.059] and shearing the sheep continued until the enclosure in 1795, but with the commutation of regular labor services into money the old system of managing the land changed. The estates of the villagers were coming to resemble simple leasehold tenures, subject to customary payments that could not be increased. The accountant claimed each year only what he had received the year before. The the demesne also became a leasehold. The turning point came in 14O7, when the reeve leased the home farm. The bishop agreed to receive an annual rent and let the reeve take the risk of profit or loss. The lease was renewed; its terms became customary, and the leaseholders of the demesne ultimately crowded the bishop out of direct contact with the village.
In the fifteenth century the lease of the demesne was taken up by strong village families in Crawley; in the sixteenth century an outsider, Gerald Fleetwood, bought in. After Fleetwood came the Henley family in 1666, in 1799 the Henleys gave way to Richard Meyler, and after Meyler came Ashburton, then Kennard, a banker, and finally Philippi who holds it today. Until 1926 the see of Winchester continued to "own" the land, and that which was bought and sold by Fleetwoods, Henleys and Meylers was the right to use the demesne upon payment to the bishop of a fixed annual sum which did not change through the centuries, while the value of the land itself was increasing. The home farm of the thirteenth century became the manor house of the seventeenth century, and its occupants, leaseholders from the bishop, receivers of rents from the villagers, were families of country gentry who lived in the style that has been so faithfully recorded in the novels of Fielding and Jane Austen. So one tenure was built up under the shadow of another. And what was happening to the demesne was also happening to the estates of the villagers.
In the sixteenth century there appeared in Crawley what Gras calls a free market in land. Tenants bought their tenures from each other, mortgaged them to each other, rented them from each other, divided them, separating land rights from cottage rights. None could buy or sell more rights than he had, namely, the right to manage land and take its crop so long as he paid the dues and the customary services that went with it. But this was enough. The two classes of the thirteenth century, farthinglanders and yardlanders, dissolved as two new classes arose, yeomen and cotters. The yeomen were the winners, the cotters the losers, in the game of the market in land. In the seventeenth century there was Godwin, a land-grabber who expanded his estate in the village, and in 1795 a descendant was still near enough to the top to participate in the enclosure.
The class structure of Feudal Crawley was established by conquest in the Barbarian Age; the class structure of [p.060] Modern Crawley was established not by conquest, which is the direct creation of power through force, but by the market. The process was simple. Prices were rising in the Early Modern Age. (The gold from newly discovered America had something to do with this.) If the bishop had been able to increase the amount he charged for the lease of the demesne, the Henleys and Meyers would not have had a patrimony. These lordly families lived on the margin between the little they paid the bishop above them and the much they received from below. But if the lordly Henleys and Meyers in turn had been able arbitrarily to raise the rents of the Crawley villager, then, the lowly families, such as the Godwins, would not have had patrimonies to buy, mortgage and sell. Finally the effect of the market was felt (as the Saxon conquest had once been felt) in the actual demarcation of the land.
The internal geography of the village had remained intact from the Barbarian Age to the Era of Nationalism. The field boundaries and field names stood fast, although they were differently combined in different family patrimonies. (So also in Europe old counties and duchies remained, although they were shifted from one monarchy to another.) The enclosure of 1795 changed this internal geography, as the Departmental law of 1789 changed the internal geography of France. Not only were holdings regrouped so that acreages scattered in various fields were brought together, but the woodland and pasture land, much of which had not been divided as acreage, was now subjected to division. The thirteenth century tenancy included the right to pasture 25 sheep. After the enclosure a tenancy included a certain area of pasture land which could be used at the will of the occupant, who could pasture it or plough it as he saw fit. It was still necessary, of course, that someone should decide whether to pasture or to plough. This decision, the essential managerial function, passed to the yeoman farmer or the leaseholder of the demesne. By 1830 six families of yeomen "held" (i.e. managed) most of the village land. About the same number of ministerials had been required to do the managing of the demesne in the thirteenth century, but man who had the responsibility of management was now responsible for one area. It does not appear that at any time in the history of Crawley the three thousand acres were farmed without some delegation or division of managerial authority.
Of the village dynasties that came through the enclosure with substantial patrimonies there were two -- the Waights and the Paiges, which had been in Crawley since the sixteenth century, from the Early to the Later Modern Age. Thomas Wayte paid 3s 4d in 1570 for the privilege of marrying his three daughters outside the manor -- a payment that testified to the survival of the status of the family as being bound to the soil. The Godwins and Perns and Pitters came through the enclosure crisis strong because [p.061] they entered it strong. The other families were reduced to cotters and wage laborers, or else they emigrated from the village. The last traces of fees paid for the privilege of remaining away from the village disappeared in the seventeenth century. The new relations of land, labor and crop were all stated in terms of money. And in money terms it was not the crop alone that was distributed, but also the risks and securities of crop and market. The yeomen and the laborers bore these risks. In the early nineteenth century (the Metternich Period), the laborers were the ones that suffered from low wage rates and high food prices. In the late nineteenth century (the Bismarck Period), the yeomen went under.
From 1870 the yeomen felt the stiff competition of American grain. A bad crop in the wet year 1879 finished them off. Their tenures were then bought up by the holder of the leasehold to the demesne farm. And this leasehold, like the yeomen tenures, has its own history. The Henley's held it in the late seventeenth and the whole eighteenth century. They lived the spacious lives of the English country gentry, making good marriages and picking the plums of political office in London. One of them became Lord Chancellor and an Earl. Their dynasty (like the first Wedgwood dynasty) lasted a century and a half. Then came the Meyers.
The Meyler money came from the New World. The fortune was made in the slave trade and in Jamaica sugar. It was Richard Meyler who pushed through the enclosure in 1795. And after the Meyers, the Ashburtons, a family also strengthened with American money acquired by marriage, took over the demesne. We will hear more of the Ashburtons -- theirs was the great banking family of Baring Brothers.
Under the Ashburton regime the demesne was rented out to the yeomen, and save for the difference in inheritance custom, became indistinguishable from the land that had once belonged to the farthinglanders and yardlanders. Then came a London banker named Kennard. He rebuilt the manor house, and set himself for a luxurious country life, but his fortune failed him. And in 1900 Otto Ernst Philippi, a capitalist who had made his money in cotton thread with J. P. Coates and Co. of Glasgow bought the manor and then systematically bought up the yeomen's holdings. Once again, as in the thirteenth century, the 3600 acres of Crawley were I operated as an agricultural unit. This time all the land went under plantation management; none of it remained under family management.
[p.062] Once again an absent lord counted on the directed labor of the villagers to bring him a revenue. But whereas the bishop's seneschal had come to Crawley only twice a year, and the day to day administration had been directed by the elected reeve and hayward and other ministerials, now an estate agent and an agricultural expert appointed and paid by the owner stayed constantly on the ground, and the work-men did their bidding every day, though not without grumbling at new scientific methods. Professor Wibberley, the agricultural expert, had under him two grain bailiffs, a chief dairymen and two assistants, and a head shepherd. Through these foremen in 1925 he was directing the work of about fifty laborers. His little bureaucracy was about the same size as the thirteenth century reeve's. For the land cannot be cajoled or coerced from a distance. Divide it into parts, and one man can manage the labor in each part; unite it as a whole, and the directing of the labor must be subdivided. In 1928 the system was changed again by dividing the land into five parts, separately rented out for exploitation.
As the estate unit pushed the village out of its role in the management of land, the village lived on as a unit of government. The ancient village court held its last meeting in 1874, but the important functions of local government had long been taken over by the civil parish of Crawley, with its elected churchwardens and overseers of the poor who kept the village church in repair, and levied and dispensed the poor rates. The collection for poor rates was £79 in 1776, rose to an all-time high of £463 in 1829-30, and in 1925 was not made at all, for old age pensions were caring for Crawler’s poor. But the Parish council still functions, with power "to provide buildings, acquire property for recreation, look after wells, footpaths and the cemetery, provide fire engines, remedy offensive ditches and ponds, and provide allotments" of land for cottage gardens.
But the government of Crawley has lost in simplicity in modern times, and has come to be a tangle of territorial jurisdictions. In 1232 the Bishop of Winchester secured a royal charter exempting the men of Crawley from the duty of attending the Hundred Court of Buddlesgate. The local village court and the court baron, or manorial court of the bishop, while theoretically differentiated, were in fact carried on as the same institution. The appointment of the priest or rector in the village church was also in the hands of the bishop. This comparatively simple line of political authority gave way in the nineteenth century to a complex array of overlapping territorial jurisdictions. The right to appoint the village clergyman passed out of [p.063] the bishop's hands in 1860, when it was sold to Queen's College, Oxford. In 1896 it was sold to Mr. George Bliss, an outsider, and has since been several times sold. Apart from the Parish Council there is a Rural District Council in charge of sanitation, housing, and other matters of welfare. There is also, since 1835, a Poor Law Union. The County Council has charge of libraries, the care of the insane and of those suffering from venereal diseases. The Church, which has surrendered its right to appoint the rector of the parish, retains administrative control of the village school.
We may now ask how, through the ages, Crawley has maintained the livelihood of its villagers, and whither it has sent its surplus.
The Roman Age brought a Roman conquest, and some surplus went as tax payment to maintain the Roman regime. The Barbarian Age brought the Saxon conquest, and conquerors who became part of the village itself, sharing its work: rearranging its fields, and establishing for their families a superior position. The Bishop of Winchester then established a special claim to some of the surplus and a special method of obtaining it -- from a "home farm", a manor, with "land plowed for the bishop". The Feudal Age brought the Norman Conquest, but this did not disturb the village -- it merely placed Normans rather than Saxons in the favored post at Winchester, to which the surplus flowed, and put one Norman in the place of a Saxon on a large sub-manor of the village. The Saxon conquest affected the production of livelihood, the Norman conquest only the distribution of surplus. The Modern Age introduced the free market in land, and along with that a series of transactions that put the revenue of the "home farm" into the hands of a series of lordly families who bought into these rights, and paid off the bishop with a pittance. The same process of market transactions dislocated the relation of the lowly families. In the Feudal Age these had been yardlanders, who were comparatively well off,and farthinglanders, comparatively poor. Now the two new classes, yeomen with houses and land, cotters with nothing but house and garden, and sometimes not even that. Some yardlander families sank to cotter status; some farthinglander families rose to yeomen. This process, more revolutionary than anything since the Saxon conquest, led in 1795 to the new rearrangement of fields, -- the enclosure. The cotters were reduced to a precarious existence, saved from starvation by poor relief. They worked for the minimum of subsistence, while the yeomen and the holder of the home farm took all the surplus. Then the market turned against the yeomen. The Mississippi [p.064] Valley, the railroad and the steamship ruined them with the competition of cheap grain. And the process of disestablishment continued. Money from outside, made in the world market, bought out and dispossessed the cotters. It left Crowley once more under unified control -- the inhabitants are now laborers, living in rented houses, their livelihood guaranteed by a national social security scheme, the village land managed as plantation.
Armed conquest has not reached Crowley since the Feudal Age. The share of the Crowley villagers in livelihood and surplus has not been affected directly by their political power relations with the world, but by their market relations with the world. Nevertheless men from Crowley were summoned forth to fight in the First and Second world wars. In these wars, they contended against men from other villages in other lands, and of some of these other villages we must now speak.
In the geographical and cultural center of Europe, the upper valley of the Rhine, lies a village called Oberschefflenz. A Roman road runs through the village; the settlement was there, however, before Roman times. It is one of three villages that lie along the brook that bears the Celtic or pre-Celtic name, Schefflenz. The three villages, Upper, Middle and Lower Schefflenz, were probably formed by the subdivision of a single community.
The village land consists of about two thousand acres of arable and nine hundred acres of communal forest. In the late Feudal Age it was inhabited by about a hundred families; in the Mid-Modern Age, at the end of the Thirty Years' War (1653) only thirty-six families remained; in 1803 there were 153 families. The population in 1829 was about 800, and in 1930 about a thousand, which is the average population of a German village today.
The villagers of the pre-Roman Age were Gauls of the Helvetian tribe. They cultivated grain - the same grains that are cultivated there today. _The Romans introduced vine culture and garden crops. In the eighteenth century the potato came into cultivation. Throughout these centuries the work of the villagers upon their land provided their livelihood, and some surplus to be passed along to claimants outside the village.
[p.065] The two thousand acres of arable land are divided today into 8,573 separate plots, and the 183 peasant farming units are made up, on the average, of 41 separate parcels, scattered through the larger fields. The average size of one of these plots of land is no larger than a big city lot -- nine thousand square feet, all laid out in long narrow strips. The subdivision results from the local inheritance custom, by which the eldest son inherits the house in the village, while the children get each a share of the land. The German land law of 1938 has now put an end to this process of subdivision.
Land titles probably run back to the leaseholds that Celtic and German families and Roman veterans held in the Roman public domain in the century and a half, from 150 to 260 A.D. when the Roman frontier palisade and earthworks lay just five miles northeast of the village. When, in 260 A.D, the Roman legions withdrew and surrendered this area to the Allemani, Germanic tribesmen settled among the villagers who probaby remained on their holdings. The field paths of today lie as they were marked by Roman surveyors. Some of the people changed; the land and its markings remained.
From Roman times to the present the farm land of the village has been managed by the peasant families in small units; there has been no plantation farming, no manor. Only the communal forest has been managed on a large scale by the village itself. The peasants have always been free to convey their land to each other (save as those who in medieval times owed dues to one of two monasteries was limited, in that he could transfer his land only to another holder of the same cloister.). Their tenures have always been hereditary. And though their dues payable to outsiders have varied over long periods of time, each family has always stood to gain from a good year, and to profit by careful husbandry. They have never owed any dues or made any payments for anybody’s permission to leave their land if they chose -- that is to say, they have never been serfs, though some serfs of the Duke of Wurtemburg did settle among them after the Thirty Years' War in the era of the Old Regime.
The government of the village, from a time preceding the use of written records, seems to have consisted of two elected magistrates and a court, or village meeting, which convened three times a year. This government acted on all matters of local concern; it supervised agriculture, borrowed money on the credit of the village, levied taxes, and inflicted fines and punishments such as pillory for minor crimes.
There was a moment toward the close of the Feudal Age when this internal regime was almost changed. In 1367 the Emperor gave to Archbishop Gerlach of Mainz a writ authorizing him to give the village of Oberschefflenz the status of a town, with permission to erect walls and towers, to hold weekly markets, and maintain a gallows and a torture wheel. The town was to have the same privileges as Heilbron and Wimpfen. But Gerlach's zeal cooled; he died in 1371, and Oberschefflenz remained a village. Perhaps it would have required more than a charter to make a village into a town.
The village government was modified somewhat in the nineteenth century. In 1809 the Grand Duke of Baden, copying French models of administration, standardized village government in his land. Instead of two magistrates there was now one vogt. The vogt was elected, like the magistrates before him, but invested in his office by one of the Grand Duke's appointed bureaucrats. The bureaucrat could disregard the majority of the villagers and appoint anyone who received more than one-fourth of the votes. The school teacher and priest were also appointed by the ducal bureaucrats. A tax official was elected locally, and the village court, now limited to three or four elected members was recognized as the legal government of the village. The court was ordered to meet every fortnight instead of thrice a year. Its sphere of competence included all local police matters, the decision of civil matters of less than five florins, and power to inflict penalties up to two florins fine or one day in jail. It acted on applications for the right of settlement in the village. And in all political matters it was the point of contact between the village and the bureaucracy. It must have had a substantial role to play, for in 1819 the vogt and a member of the court resigned, claiming that the official duties left them no time to look after their farms.
In 1831 there was another reform, this time in the direction of more freedom from the bureaucracy. The head-ship of the village was vested in a "Gemeinderechner" elected by majority vote. Instead of the Court there was a Council and a Village Committee. Membership in the village was recognized as an inherited right of the village families, and outsiders desiring membership had to obtain it by purchase and permission. Large taxpayers had a right to be members of the Village Committee; other members were elected. In 1923 this system was changed again in the interest of equality of voting rights and free right of settlement. All residents of the village became members of the village community.
To explain how the families of Oberschefflenz obtained their livelihood through the ages, and how they governed their [p.067] internal affairs, is to tell a very simple story. But we have still to explain the whole structure of power above the village. In that explanation we will begin to learn how it has happened that men from Oberschefflenz came to fight in wars with men from Crawley.
In the year 98 A.D., the Early Roman Age, the Roman historian Tacitus described the people of the Right Bank of the Rhine. "The most worthless of the Gauls,' he wrote, "made reckless by poverty, occupied these lands of uncertain ownership." It was a frontier area, given over to squatters. When the Roman Wall was re-located in 150 A.D. to include Oberschefflenz, the tenure of these people was of course regularized and their title warranted, as leaseholders of the public domain. The payments they made in labor to maintain the roads and in grain to support the legionaries who guarded the wall were the original payments out of surplus that were made from this land. From Antoninus Pius to Nazi Germany there has been a line of claimants. And what those who took the surplus of the village have rendered in return has been a certain amount of protection against aggression, a line of appeal up which they could carry their disputes for adjudication, and leadership in war. Whether they paid too much for these services is another question.
In the year 260, after more than a century of Roman administration, the tribesmen of a confederation of German barbarians, the Allemani, swarmed over the wall, drove out the Roman legions, and settled in the villages. This was a war of conquest for land. Each of the component tribes of the Allemanic confederation occupied a district or gau. (The names of a number of Rhenish and Alpine areas such as the Breisgau, or the Swiss cantons of Aargau and Thurgau, perpetuate the name of these standard barbarian units of tribal territory.) Each gau had its gau-king who led his people to war, performed the priestly function of forecasting the future, and gave judgment in disputes.
The people of Oberschefflenz, in the Lower Neckargau, went on raiding expeditions against other gaue, and into Roman territory. These were wars for plunder, not for land. The Emperor Julian led a punitive expedition through the Allemanic country in the year 359. This Roman army marched right down the old road through Oberschefflenz.
In the early fifth century, as the Roman Age came to an end and the Barbarian Age began for all Western Europe, one of the Gau-kings, King Gibuld, brought all the Allemanio gaue to accept him as war leader. In the north another [p.068] confederation of German tribes, the Franks, were also brought together for warfare and conquest. In 496 Clovis, King of the Franks, led a horde of his warriors against the Allemani and defeated them. Frankish tribesmen may have settled this time in the Schefflenz Valley. The dialect spoken in the village became the Frankish dialect rather than the Allemanic. (Both these languages are dialects of the German language. The present language frontier between these two dialects runs a few miles south of Oberschefflenz.) The Frankish war of 496, like the Allemanic war of 260, may have been used to give the victors land for settlement. We have no direct evidence as to what happened to the defeated villagers -- whether they were enslaved, exterminated, driven away, or forced to accept the newcomers as neighbors or whether they merely paid their surplus to a new lord -- a Frankish king. The latter is most probable.
It is at least certain that from that day to this no one has made war in the Schefflenz Valley for the purpose of getting the right to cultivate any of the land for livelihood. All subsequent wars have been fought over the distribution of the surplus paid by the villagers.
This payment of surplus by the villagers was certainly standardized in the Roman Age, under Roman Administration. Whether the Allemanic villagers paid to their gau-kings we do not know, but we have reason to think that they had a practice of making gifts to their kings. We know that the villages of this area paid dues to the Frankish king after the Frankish conquest, -- such things as honey and live stock. And we know that this village was counted by the Frankish kings as part of the royal domain.
The organized Christian Church reached Oberschefflenz in the eighth century (about a century after it came to Crawley). When a bishopric was established at Wurzburg, the King of the Franks granted to the Bishop of Wurzburg the right to collect one-tenth of the crop -- the tithe -- from the lands of his diocese, including Oberschefflenz. At about the same time monasteries were established nearby at Amorbach and Mosbach. The bishop of Wurzburg assigned the tithe of the Schefflenz villages to the monastery of Amorbach, which was near enough to collect it. Five hundred years later, in 1301, a resident priest was provided for the village, and salaried from the tithe.
The village remained royal domain. The Frankish kings did not grant it to the bishop of Wurzburg as the king of the West Saxons granted Crawley to the bishop of Winchester. They retained not only their direct authority over the village, but collected some of the surplus. For this purpose they had an agent, a domesticus, assigned to collect dues [p.069] from Oberschefflenz and other nearby villages.
What return did the villagers get for the royal tax they paid the domesticus? They got some security from encroachments by great land racketeers, and some protection from the kind of conquest that had occurred in 260 A.D., and again in 496. For ordinary justice by ordinary processes of law -- which is a public utility more fundamental than gas, light and sewage disposal -- they did not count upon the king, but had their own organization.
For this purpose they had their village court for small complaints, and above that a line of appeal to a higher court which met at Mosbach, nine miles away. To get a picture of this local organization above the village it is instructive to begin with the contemporary picture and work backwards.
Oberschefflenz is today a commune (Gemeinde) in the District (Bezirk) of Mosbach. The district of Mosbach is one of five districts in the Circle (Kreis) of Mosbach, and the Circle of Mosbach is one of three Circles in the Land-commissionership of Mannheim, all in the Land of Baden, in the German Reich. Mosbach is the center of both a district and a circle. So also in the Barbarian and Feudal Ages Mosbach was the center of a "hundred" and a "ten", or Zent. Four of the five districts in the present circle of Mosbach have the same names as the five "tens" that constituted the hundred of Mosbach in the Feudal Age. These are Adelsheim, Buchen, Mosbach and Tauberbischoffsheim. The present organization is administrative and bureaucratic; it works from above. The Barbarian organization was cooperative and popular and worked from below. The territorial layout remained much the same.
The judicial line of appeal for the village of Oberschefflenz ran to the Zent of Mosbach. We have documents that describe its operations in the Feudal Age. There were thirty villages in this Zent. Twelve of the judges of the court were members of the town council; the others were sent by the villages. Thirteen of the villages "gave in the ring" - that is, possessed the right to send each two judges to sit in the circle of the Court of the Zent. The Court of the Zent of Mosbach, with its thirty-eight members, met four times a year, on a Monday, without being summoned by any lord. It was therefore a free court. It took cognizance of cases of theft, murder, arson, "flowing wounds", libel and other serious offenses. A villager today would still go to Mosbach for justice, but he would now find on the bench a professional judge appointed by the government of the Land of Baden, not a "ring" of peasants like himself. [p.070]
In the Feudal Age the monarch who stood in succession to the Frankish kings was the Emperor -- the Holy Roman Emperor. The official who administered his imperial domain was called a vogt -- successor to the domesticus. The vogt retained one-third of the taxes collected as a service charge. He also represented the Emperor in matters of justice. Among the revenues he collected were fines levied against persons convicted of serious crime. This was "high justice", the sphere reserved for the Emperor. It was like any other public utility -- a source of profit. On the tax rolls of the thirteenth century the three Schefflenz villages were carried for the sum of five silver marks a year. The making of a written tax roll was a new device in accounting that had been introduced from Sicily by Archbishop Siegfried of Mainz, adviser to the Emperor Conrad IV. (It was at this time that the manorial records of Crawley were put in writing.)
There was an inflationary rise in prices in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. Prices rose and money taxes with them. The office of vogt for the Imperial domains in the region around Oberschefflenz became hereditary in the Weinsberg family. In 1315 Konrad von Weinsberg, who held the office of vogt, loaned the Emperor 1800 pounds heller and took a mortgage on the Imperial rights in the three Schefflenz villages as security. That loan has never been repaid. The Weinsberg dynasty had, in effect, bought out the Imperial rights, including the right to high justice.
So the Weinsbergs became lords of the village, standing between it and the Emperor, as the bishop of Winchester stood between Crowley and the English king. But the village was not manorialized. (Even in Crawley, at this time, the manorial regime was disintegrating.) The Weinsbergs regarded their rights in the village as a simple investment. The investment was divisible, for there was the one-third of the taxes that had been theirs as a service charge, and the other two-thirds that they had previously passed on to the Emperor but could now keep for themselves. Aside from this there was the profitable right to administer high justice. After a century of successive mortgaging, selling and exchanging transactions the Weinsberg rights became definitely established in the hands of two holders. The Archbishop of Mainz held two-thirds, the Count Palatine of the Rhine held one-third, of the rights to tax Oberschefflenz and administer justice there. This double lordship lasted from 1415, at the end of the Feudal Age, to 1653, in the middle of the Modern Age, when the Count Palatine traded the Archbishop out of his rights.
[p.071] Meanwhile, from time to time through the centuries, villagers had given or sold their individual holdings to certain monasteries. The earliest of these donations of which a record has survived dates from 774: "Lentrich for the soul of Gunther gives three morganis and half a hide to the Abbey of Lorsch with arrangements to be stipulated". The arrangements undoubtedly were that Lentrich could continue to use the land, and his children after him, upon payment of rent. It was sometimes safer to be a tenant than an owner in those days, for the owner would protect the tenant. Moreover, the Abbey could offer a service: it could help the soul of Gunther. We know nothing more of the devout Lentrich or the deceased Gunther.
At the end of the Feudal Age the cloister of Amorbach was collecting rents from seven separate holdings in the village, and the cloister at Mosbach from nine. One such estate, called the Ernstein, was held in this tenure by four peasant families jointly. Rent rolls of 1395 and 1445 show that the rent paid on this farm was stabilized at eight schillings heller, one and one-half malter of grain, a few other products and the duty of the tenants to cart these goods one mile toward its destination at the monastery. These dues on specific farms remained constant, like the customary dues of the villagers of Crawley.
The group of tenants who owed rents to Amorbach, and the group who owed to Mosbach, formed each a little community within the village community. They were forbidden to transfer their land to anyone not a tenant of the same monastery. They had each their court that met, under its own magistrate, to levy fines or settle disputes.
Another fact that complicated the structure of power and jurisdiction over the village was a division in the dynasty of the Counts Palatine. In 1410 the patrimony was divided between two sons, Otto and Ludwig, following the inheritance custom that has been noted in the case of the Wettin family, ancestors of the Coburgs. Otto, the younger son, founded the Mossbach line, which held the Mossbach area, including Oberschefflenz, until 1499. There was a dispute between the two branches of the family as to whether the elder branch retained any rights whatsoever over Mosbach.
Moreover, we must not forget the Mosbach Zent, with its free court of judges. Since justice was a profitable public utility, the Count Palatine encroached on this court. In 1369 the Emperor Charles IV authorized such encroachment. The process of encroachment went on more rapidly under the elder branch of the dynasty than under the Mossbach line. But it was at this time that the area that was governed from Mossbach began to be called [p.072] an "Office" (Amt) rather than a Zent. In 1479 the Count Palatine Frederick I divided his territory into eighteen "Offices", and when Mossbach was reunited with the rest of the Palatinate, it was an "Amt" with an appointed official rendering justice in the name of the Count, with a line of appeal that ran to a central palace court (Hofgericht), directly under the eye of the Count Palatine himself.
The special village jurisdict1ons, two separate territorial jurisdictions (Mainz and the Palatinate), and one of these divided between two dynastic lines -and all this remotely under the Emperor -- such was the government -- if it can be so called -- that collected the village surplus at the end of the Feudal Age.
We have noted how profoundly Crawley was shaken in the Modern Age by the free market in land. Oberschefflenz had always had a free market in land. But it remained throughout a village of lowly families managing land for livelihood. One factor contributing to this difference between the histories of the two villages would seem to be that the lord bishop of Winchester did not raise his rents, while the lords of Oberschefflenz continuously increased their claims to revenue from the village. The Henleys could make money by paying the bishop little and taking much from the village. The Weinsbergs in the Feudal Age built up their patrimony in the same way, by paying little to the Emperor and taking much from the villagers. But in the Modern Age the successors of the Weinsbergs, the Counts Palatine and the Archbishops of Mainz, always took almost all that they could get.
In 1426 the three villages together were paying 3# pounds heller, forty malter of corn and a miscellany of other dues in nature to their two lords-paramount, the Archbishop and the Count. The preceding year, in 1425, the villages had sent a delegation to beg successfully for exemption from an extraordinary charge of eighty-six gulden. Then other taxes were added, such as a "Turkish tax" voted by the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire and a general property tax, the so-called "bad penny", amounting to two and one-half or five per cent of the assessed value of the property. In 1618 the Count Palatine, over the protest of the village, established a toll gate nearby on the old Roman road. In 1654 he sent officials to levy a new wine tax. So the tax structure grew.
Since these claimants to the surplus had jurisdiction and power, they could make their claims elastic, [p.073] following changes in price levels or capacity to pay. And since they organized in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries adequate methods of accounting and adequate bureaucracies of officials, they could actually collect what they claimed. Nobles, gentry and clergy could usually resist unwanted increases in taxes by combining together as a Diet or Parliament, and such unions were operative in most of the German lands in the Late Feudal and Early Modern Ages. But what could the peasants do?
This question leads us back to the problem of war in relation to livelihood and surplus. In 1503 there was a succession war between the Count Palatine and the Duke of Bavaria. Some of the villagers were mustered into the Count’s army, as part of the Mosbach contingent of one hundred and ninety-four men, to fight over the question of who would receive the taxes they paid, and who would appoint the Judges to whom their cases would be appealed if they chose to appeal them.
In 1525 there was another kind of a war. The peasants united to resist the ceaseless increasing of their dues. The peasants of many Rhenish villages that had been manorialized were more aggrieved than the free peasants of Oberschefflenz, but some of the Schefflenzers joined the revolt. Their program of demands was formulated by two officials ____ and ____: ____ had been for the Archbishop of Mainz, and ____ had been for the Count Palatine.
The Ottenwald and Neckarthal peasant bands swarmed through Oberschefflenz in ___1525, and was joined by some of the villages. One band ??phied the Weinsberg court -- killed ___.
The Ottenwald and Neckarthal band of peasants came through Oberschefflenz, and some of the villagers joined it. In this war the peasants were fighting to put a stop to the process of raising their rents, taxes and dues. The contrast between these two wars illustrates the general truth that in Europe, in the Modern Age, wars of succession or conquest have not been directly related to the livelihood of the people, and wars directly involving livelihood have been civil wars.
From the standpoint of the villager, what did all the complex superstructure of jurisdiction mean? The name and office of the Emperor meant something, to be sure. In the peasant war one of the demands was that they should have no other lord over them but the Emperor. But their ideal of law was not embodied in the judicial administration above them; the kind of law they believed in and trusted was their local customary law, as witnessed by oral testimony of their own neighbors in their own court.
In 1587 an official of the Count Palatine, Ludwig Breneyssen, came from Mosbach to the village and arrested two peasants. The village magistrate rang the church bell, called the villagers together as a court, and asked the court a question of law: "Is it lawful for the count's officials to take villagers by force". The court answered that it was the law of the village that then people were summoned to Mosbach they went of themselves, and were not taken by force. Thereupon, with the law on their side, the villagers freed the two prisoners and restored them to their homes. Ludwig Breneyssen returned a few days later with two other villagers and demanded that the whole village pay a fine of two hundred gulden. Thus force sustained power, [p.074] and established new law.
The superior jurisdiction, which the peasants, apparently, distrusted, was still divided in the early Modern Age between Mainz and the Palatinate. This sometimes gave the villagers an opportunity to play off one master against the other. It gave rise to endless disputes between the two powers themselves. Since the Diet of the Empire had outlawed war in 1495, and established a court to offer judicial settlement of disputes between the great lords of the realm, the village became the object of litigation in the court of the Holy Roman Empire.
In 1586 Emperor Rudolf sent a commission to gather testimony from the villagers as a basis for a court decision. The taking of this testimony gave the peasants a chance to show how far they were interested in upper superstructure of government. To twenty-nine peasants, aged from forty-five to eighty years, the commissioners put a whole schedule of carefully prepared legal questions. They asked for instance: "whether all superior and seigneurial rights and jurisdictions in civil causes belonged two thirds to the Archbishopric of Mainz and one third to the Palatinate of the Rhine?". They replied, and the commissioners took down their testimony verbatim: "I am not sure", "I never took notice of it", "I never asked about it" "I don't remember", "It may be so, but I can't say for sure." They were vague about the question whether they had given homage to the bishop, and their testimony was uncertain as to how it had come about that a Lutheran pastor had replaced a Catholic priest in their village church. But on the concrete details of what they were accustomed to pay in tithes and dues they knew the answers. They knew what they paid, not what they paid it for.
It was in 1653, sixty-six years later, that the long controversy between the two lords of Oberschefflenz came to an end. The Count Palatine bought out the Archbishop, and then, through the rest of the era of the Old Regime, developed his Old Regime bureaucracy without being troubled by a competing jurisdiction. The village court continued to function; the line of appeal through the Count's courts was available if anyone wished to use it, and the village maintained two men for the Count's army, furnishing both men and maintainence.
There was a village crisis in 1791. It was a case of resistance to an effort to increase customary dues. It had been the custom of the village that no one could take his grain from the field unless the tithe master were present to receive his tenth. If the weather were threatening to spoil the crop, the peasant had the right to call three times for the tithe master, and if he did not appear,to carry away his grain in the sheaf. But the tithe master had a right to the grain only, not to the straw. The new collector, who had bought [p.075] up the tithe on contract, tried on a harvest day in 1791 to get the straw as well. The villagers drove him out. He sent to Mosbach, fuming and declaring that the revolutionary virus from France had infected the village.
The place where the French Revolution was really felt was not in the village but at a higher level in the system. The great County Palatine actually disappeared from the political map of Germany. The Prince of Leiningen was made Lord Paramount of the territory that included Oberschefflenz in 1803, as compensation for the lands ceded to France on the left bank of the Rhine. Three years later, in 1806, the Prince was forced to accept the sovereignty of the Grand Duke of Baden over himself and his lands, although, as we have seen, he continued to exercise some rights of lordship in them. (This was the Prince who married one of the daughters of the House of Coburg. See p.27.) In 1819 the Grand Duke of Baden defined the rights of the Prince over these lands. Leiningen retained the right to appoint the Judges in the lower courts, and pastors to the churches. He had the right to have prayers said in the Sunday services for himself and his family, and the right to declare public mourning in his lands in the event of the death of any member of his family. The period of mourning could be half as long as that which would be ordered for a member of the family of the sovereign Grand Duke. Most of the rights retained by the Prince in 1819 were squeezed out in 1831, and all disappeared in 1848 with the end of the Metternich Period. In 1936 Prince Emerich of Leiningen was still calling himself "Count Palatine of Moxbach", but the title had only honorary significance. Meanwhile the Grand Duke of Baden in 1815 became a member of the German Confederation, which was the political successor to the Holy Roman Empire. In 1871 Baden became a member-state in the new German Empire. At the end of the first world war the Grand Duke of Baden and the German Emperor both abdicated; Baden became an autonomous Land in a Republic; the Nazi revolution in 1933-34 destroyed its autonomy in the highly centralized Third Reich. The people of Oberschefflenz have tended to think of this whole complex sequence and structure in personal terms. In 1918 some of the old people were saying they hoped their own Duke would break away from the Prussians and rule them himself; today they see the whole superstructure personalized in their Leader, Hitler.
The present superstructure is called a dictatorship, and might therefore be thought to have resulted in greater simplicity. But in fact it has introduced a duality, for there is now a Party that parallels the older arrangement of authority. Just as Church and Empire had parallel and competing jurisdictions in the Feudal Age, and the Archbishopric of Mainz and the County Palatine in the early Modern Age, so the Party and the State have parallel jurisdictions today. With enthusiastic antiquarianism the Party has brought back the old word "Gau" to designate the [p.076] territorial subdivisions of its organization. The State's territorial subdivisions are called districts and circles; the Party's are called "places" (Ort) and Gaue.
Such is the government for which the people of Oberschefflenz have paid from their surplus. And what have they paid?
In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the tax system underwent two great changes, first by the elimination of taxes in nature, and than by a change in the control of rates and assessments. The tax structure of today is more complicated than that of the Feudal and early Modern Ages. East of the basic taxes remain, although their names are changed. There is still an inheritance tax, but instead of a crude liability to surrender the best animal, it is a money tax proportionate to the size of the estate. There are still payments made for transfers of land and other legal acts, but there are no longer called fines, and levied in a meeting of a local court; rather they are stamp duties on documents. The land tax still stands, although it is no longer as in medieval times, levied upon the village collectively. The consumption taxes on salt and beer remain. A graduated income tax, far more carefully assessed than the "bad penny" is the heart of the tax system. And there has been another change which touches intimately upon matters of control. The most important taxes are now levied by the Reich, and then paid over in part to the village which supervises their expenditure for police, schools, roads and public welfare. The principal innovation in taxation has come about through the development of corporate business, and consists in taxation of company shares and intangibles. The 1930 report on taxation in Baden lists ten communal taxes, ten taxes levied by the Land of Baden, and twenty-two taxes levied by the Reich. In 1937 there were thirty taxes levied by the Reich with corresponding diminution of local taxing power.
Marcus Aurelius and Charlemagne, Frederich Barbarossa and Charles V, Napoleon, William II and Hitler, all these and countless others have in a sense "ruled" Oberschefflenz. Through Marcus Aurelius this village had something in common with London, with Crawley, Nazareth, through Charles V it shared a little with Mexico, Cadiz, and Antwerp, through William II with New Guinea, Kiau-chow, and South West Africa. To prove that this is true it is only necessary to draw a map and to apply to a certain area a color showing "The Roman Empire at the time of Marcus Aurelius" or "The German Empire under William II". Certain conventions, more or less understood, enable us to translate such a map in terms of certain theories of statehood and Jurisprudence. [p.077] So also we might, if we chose, draw a map of the United States with colors marking off the area of Insull's Mid-West Utilities in 1929, or the Van Sweringen's Allegheny Corporation in 1933. The maps mean nothing save as we read into them an understanding of the connective tissue which does in fact run from one point to another within the area. And we know that this connective tissue has changed so much through the centuries that the map will tell us very little of what it was at any given time.
But let us envisage a map of the village of Oberschefflenz, with its plow land, meadow and forest. There is something that has held its own, and had the same meaning throughout these ages. Archaeologists have found, not far from the Schefflenz Valley, fragments of a Roman surveying instrument. Some of the boundaries of the village were surveyed and stones set to mark them in 1503; other lines were run and marked in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The boundary with Kleineicholzheim was marked in 1754. When the boundary with Adelsheim was resurveyed in the eighteenth century a sixteenth century stone was found. The find led to a dispute over about an acre of forest. Every acre counted. The higher jurisdictions -- those of seigneur, prince and Emperor, were by no means so clearly bounded territorially at that time. The Holy Roman Empire had no fixed frontiers, but faded out at the edges. So also did the France of the Old Regime. The village was clearly territorial because it was semi-botanical. And these villagers, who testified that they did not understand the system of their political superstructure in 1557, always knew what it meant to "have" a certain area of land. In modern times it has been possible to persuade them that the German state has a certain area of land in the same sense that their village has its land. To people who hold such a strange idea, it may seem to be quite natural that the men of Crawley should fight the men of Oberschefflenz, travelling five hundred miles to find a place to kill each other. And this belief is the foundation of modern nationalism, which Francis Delaisi calls an agrarian myth. When a botanical category becomes a political category is it to be wondered at that the resulting creed -- the creed of nationalism -- should take on an aspect of paganism, and that vestiges of old fertility cults should be recognizable in the liturgical pronouncements of super-nationalist parties? [p.078]
Nine hundred miles northeast of Oberschefflenz, as the crow flies, there is a town by the name of Kock. It lies not far from the river Wieprz, which flows through the Polish plain toward the Baltic. There is a castle overlooking the town, and more than a score of villages within its sphere of influence scattered at distances of one or two miles from each other along the river and along the roads that radiate from the town. At the end of the nineteenth century the population of the town was about five thousand, including three thousand Jews; there were about nine hundred houses, forty-two of stone and the rest of wood. Many of these were vacant. The villages were clusters of twenty or thirty houses, most of them consisting of one room only. This area is the barony or seigneurie of Kock, complete with town, castle and villages. It is to be compared, not with a single village like Crowley or Oberschefflenz, but rather with the cluster of villages that belonged to the bishop of Winchester, together with the town of Winchester. The area of the seigneurie is roughly sixty square miles, but there are within it many patches of lands and small estates that have always been independent of it. The seigneurie is not a fixed area, with boundaries unchanging through centuries, like the village of Oberschefflenz. It is rather a nucleus of exploitation and rulership upon which the life of the area has converged.
The site of the town was settled in the Barbarian Age by Podlachian pagans, a people related to the primitive Prussians, and then, in the Feudal Age, by the Poles. While William the Conqueror was establishing Norman rule in England, the Polish King Boleslaw was warring against these pagans on his eastern frontier, and like the Saxon and Norman kings in England he knew how to use the Church. In 1076 he granted to the bishop of Plock a vast stretch of land which included the settlement at Kock.
A register of the bishop's holdings contemporary with the Domesday book (1096), and a royal charter of 1258 contemporary with the reeve's accounts of the manor of Crowley, give a clue to the system of tenure and taxation and its development in that era. The ancient slavic family community (the rod), ruled by its patriarch, was evidently disintegrating in the eleventh century, for the register lists certain "ministeriales" who are clearly the managers of the declining family agrarian [p.079] unit. At the same time it lists slaves -- probably the conquered Podlachians -- and free tax-paying peasants, who do not appear to be subject to the ministerials. If the rod community had been functioning the free peasant would not have been listed separately. That which the bishop received from King Boleslaw was primarily the right to collect a chimney tax from some of the peasants and call upon them for military service. By the thirteenth century, the charter of 1258 shows, the king had signed away all rights of taxation and jurisdiction, except when he or his voivode was personally present in Kock. (It was at this time, in 1232, that the bishop of Winchester secured a charter exempting the Crawley people from the jurisdiction of the hundred court.) Kock at this time was probably more like Oberschefflenz than like Crawley; it was not manorialized, but was a community of free peasant families paying taxes to the bishop and managing each his own 1and.
Then came the Mongol invasions that devastated Poland in the thirteenth century (Feudal Age), and the German immigration that helped to fill up the vacant places in the fourteenth. By the fourteenth century a new social stratification is evident: there are nobles, free peasants and unfree. The German immigrants had brought with them new ways of managing land, -- the Polish acres took on the same aspect as those of Crawley and Oberschefflenz -- a multitude of strips lying in various fields. Then in 1417 the Bishop of Plock (like the Archbishop of Mainz for Oberschofflenz fifty years before), procured a royal charter giving to the village of Kock the law and status of a free town. Kock received "the Magdeburg law", and the right to hold markets. Unlike his confrere of Mainz, the Bishop saw to it that the terms of this charter became a reality. Many of the townsmen, while enjoying their burger status, continued to make their living by farming. And in the areas not cultivated by these farmer-burgers, other village settlements appeared. Some of these settlements, notably Skromowski and Tchorzew, were the seats of noble families not subject to the bishop in the fifteenth century.
Following closely upon German colonization and influence came an export grain trade, first developed during the famine of 1390-91; in the next two centuries the Baltic plains became a reserve granary for Europe -- a role they retained until the open plains of the Ukraine and the Mississippi Valley outdistanced them in the nineteenth century. Kock was a grain market and Danzig a shipping port. There were some three units of manorial farming in Kock in 1500, but the peasantry in the villages worked, in the main, on land they regarded as their own, each family managing for itself, within the framework of a village government like that of Crawley or Oberschefflenz.
[p.080] Though they consumed most of their own crop, they shared in the prosperity of the gra1n trade. They had a free market in land; they were free to move to the town if they chose, or leave the seigneurie if better opportunities beckoned them elsewhere. And there were wide open spaces to the east.
In the Modern Age developments in the Kock villages were taking a course exactly opposite to those in Crawley. For while the free market in land was developing in Crawley, peasant freedom was being restricted in Kock, and while manorial farming was disappearing in Crawley, it was increasing in Kock.
In 1512 the Bishop of Plock exchanged his rights to Kock for the seigneurial rights to some land nearer his episcopal seat. The exchange brought Kock a new seigneur, the noble magnate, Nicholas Firley, castellan of Cracow. The land which Firley gave up in exchange for Kock had come to him in a mortgage transaction with the king. The amount of the mortgage was 1400 ducats and 500 gulden. In the course of the next forty years, by means of royal grants and exchanges, the Firleys cleared their title. The line of ownership then cleared was not disturbed until 1864, by King Alexander of Poland (Tsar of Russia), in the Emancipation decree.
The Firley dynasty held this seigneurie for more than a hundred and fifty years; then, as the Firleys weakened, it passed to the Wielopolskis in 1669 on an unpaid mortgage of 100,000 gulden. From the Wielopolskis it passed through several transactions among relatives until it was bought by an able manager, Princess Anna Jablonowska about 1760 for 900,000 gulden. All these holders belonged to the greatest families of Poland. When Princess Anna died childless in 1800, it was sold to a Warsaw banker, Johann Meissner, who had built up a fortune from a start he got as agent for a German banking house. Meissner's daughter married into the nobility; her husband was Baron d'Anstedt, an Alsatian in Russian service assigned to a diplomatic post at Frankfurt, as the plenipotentiary of the Tsar accredited to the Germanic Confederation. Thus the revenues of Kock were used to give dinners attended by the delegates of the Duke of Coburg and the Grand Duke of Baden. The Anstedts leased out the estate and enjoyed its revenues as absentee owners. It then passed by inheritance to a niece, who continued absentee ownership until 1868, when it returned to the hands of a Polish nobleman. It was sold for 1,647,000 gulden to Count Zoltowski, who put an end to the absentee [p.081] system and managed it himself. The monetary value had increased almost a thousand fold in four centuries. And the character of the thing sold had been completely transformed. That which Firley acquired in 1512 was principally a right to collect some taxes; that which Meissner obtained in 1800 was virtually a little police state raising market crops by forced labor, and comparable to the Duchy of Coburg in revenue yield. That which Count Zoltowski purchased in 1868 was "land", pure and simple, with the right to hire labor to work it. For the emancipation of 1864 had reestablished a free peasantry, and given the peasants full rights to work and dispose of some of the land they farmed as servile tenants in 1800.
The seigneurie was itself a great estate, and within it were the small peasant estates. It was in the hands of a series of dynasties, as the peasant holdings belonged to peasant dynasties. For the seigneurial estate, as for the peasant estates, management was necessary, and, tenure. Of some of the specific problems of management and tenure we can now speak.
In the mid-sixteenth century the Firley dynasty had to contend with a movement for repossession of royal rights; they weathered the storm by giving up to the crown some other lands and keeping Kock. In the seventeenth century, that foe of all dynasties, division of property among heirs, was undermining the Firleys, as it had weakened the great family of the Counts Palatine in the fifteenth century, and of the Saxon ducal family down to the eighteenth century. There was, for instance, a group of seven villages constituting altogether about one-fifth of the seigneurie; we can call it, after the name of its largest village, the Bialobrzeg property-complex. The rights to the revenue of this property complex were divided in 1617 among nine heirs, two of the Firley family, and seven of the Zyrzynski family with which the Firleys had a marriage connection. The division was more intricate than that which gave two-thirds of the yield of Oberschefflenz to the Archbishop of Mainz, and one-third to the Count Palatine. This partitioning extended not only to every village of the seven, but to the different fields within each village. A bundle of rights which had been concentrated in the holder of the seigneurie was in 1617 divided into 184 parts. The later holders of the seigneurie worked for generations to repurchase these scattered fragments. The remaining four-fifths of the seigneurie was left intact at this time.
In 1648, during the Cossack war, the town and castle were burned, but it was not this disturbance that proved most destructive. For in 1663 there was a private war [p.082] between the members of the Firley family, in the course of which the villages were ruined, and the Firley family as well.
The circumstances of this dispute were not unusual in dynastic history; they recur constantly in the affairs of peasants and burghers as well as in the families of nobles. The settlements which preceded the marriage of Josiah Wedgwood was intended to prevent just such disputes as that which wrecked the Firley family. The question was over the return of a dowry when a wife died childless.
Catherine Firley died in 1659, leaving three children, a son, Andreas, and two daughters. The eldest daughter, Elizabeth, married one Kochanowski, who was in the Prussian military service. The younger daughter married a Count Tarnow. Elizabeth took Kock as dowry and died childless in 1663. Andreas Firley demanded that Kochanowski return the seigneurie to the Firley family; Kochanowski refused. While Kochanowski was away from home in his Prussian service, Andreas appeared with a troop of fifty men and laid siege to the castle, starved out the defenders and took possession. Then came his brother-in-law, Count Tarnow with his own private army demanding his share. Firley and Tarnow divided the seigneurie between them. Then Kochanowski returned from Prussia, and agreed to sell his claim. But the civil war and the extortion from the peasants, especially by Count Tarnow's men, had ruined the place; the cattle had been driven off, the peasants had fled. In order to pay off the Kochanowski claim, Andreas Firley had to borrow 100,000 gulden from the wealthy Count Wielopolski; revenues from the ruined seigneurie would not meet this charge; in 1669 the Count took over the seigneurie. The Firley family, once among the greatest in Poland, descended into the ranks of the petty nobility. Primogeniture or a receivership would have saved the Firleys as it saved the Coburgs in the eighteenth century, but in Poland they let nature take its course.
How did it come about that something worth a mortgage of 1400 golden in the sixteenth century was mortgagable for 100,000 in the seventeenth? The answer is found not only in the general rise in price levels and the increase in population, but also in the process by which a free tax-paying peasantry was reduced in this period to the status of serfs contributing labor to farm demesne land and making other payments in money and kind. The villages were completely manorialized in the seventeenth century, and in the eighteenth century even the town lost its free status.
The sixteenth century was the period of peasant prosperity and freedom. In only three villages, it appears, [p.083] were there manorial establishments in the early part of the century. In the legislation enacted in the Polish Diet there was from 1493 to 1768 a steady pressure against peasant freedom, but it does not appear that this legislation was immediately effective in Kock. The legislation was of three kinds, first restrictions on the freedom of movement of the peasants, for the purpose of preventing their migration to the open lands in the south and east; second, a normalization of dues in labor, money or kind; third, an elimination of appeals in judicial administration. Limitation of migration protected the noble landholders against the competition of cheaper and more abundant land; standardization of dues protected them from cut-throat competition with each other for the labor supply; exclusive jurisdiction closed off all lines of appeal and left peasant families at their mercy and discretion -- that is of the great families and their agents. Under these conditions the lord was in a position to take from the peasant all surplus above a subsistence minimum, whether he accomplished this object by levying dues in money and nature, by requiring a large proportion of the peasant's working time for work on the domain land, or by holding him in service for low wages. In the seventeenth century the Firleys and Wielopolskis did all of these things.
The legislation that resulted from the political monopoly of the nobles took hold at last. The payments made to wage workers, swineherds, grooms and coachmen at Kock in 1686 amounted to 2900 calories of food a day -- which is just subsistence. In 1887 the same jobs at the same place yielded thrice this amount, despite the fact that labor was far more plentiful in 1887 than in 1686.
A number of seventeenth century documents record the schedules of labor and dues, and the proportions of domain land to peasant land. From one-third to one-half of the land was farmed for the domain; the forests were all regarded as domain property. The dues differed from village to village, and within the village from one peasant estate to another. In the village of Gorka, which had been manorialized early in the sixteenth century if not before, each of the thirteen peasant households paid in 1664 four grosschen tax, four groschen of beer tax, one goose, one capon, five eggs, one and one-half korzec of oats and a few other items. Their labor dues were five days in two weeks with plow and team, and one day in two weeks with hand labor. Since one day with plow and team was reckoned as equal to two days hand labor, the total dues amounted to five and one-half days a week, which is more than the farthinglanders of Crawley were giving in the thirteenth century. The peasant estates averaged fifteen acres -- the size of a Crawley yardlander's thirteenth century holding. Obviously these liabilities could only be [p.084] met by having some members of the family working on the demesne while others cultivated the peasant's own acres.
Twenty-two years later, in 1686, the labor dues in this village were the same, but some new dues in kind had been levied. The number of households had increased in these years from thirteen to thirty-one. Each household must now spin three ells of yarn, the village must provide nigh watchman service for the domain buildings, and when the mill needs a new stone, they must transport it at their own cost. In 1693 another item was put on the list: each household must weave five straw mats. Moreover, the village is responsible for carting the domain grain to a shipping point on the Vistula.
The grain that the peasants carted to the Vistula was domain grain; it entered the export market via Danzig, and gave the seigneurie buying power that commanded luxuries from France and commodities from overseas. The peasants also had their own grain to sell, but this was sold under restrictions. They were obliged to offer it first in the market of Kock, even though a more favorable price could be obtained elsewhere. This market restriction permitted the seigneurie not only to maintain adequate grain supply in the town, but also allowed it to tax an additional share of the crop in the form of a market tax. The seig- neurie had the advantage of a free market for itself, and also the advantage of a restriction upon the freedom of the peasant market.
There is evidence of peasant crowding at this time. Landless wage workers had erected huts near the castle, from which they were ejected in 1593. They had been moving into Kock, or seeking employment outside the seigneurie, These movements were forbidden in this year. Moreover there was a certain amount of land purchase by the village peasants from the Kock town-peasants, whose status was at this time relatively free, so that the land thus purchased was not subject to manorial dues. The townsmen tried to prevent these sales by repeated decrees of their town council, but evidently without effect.
Heavy as were these dues levied by the seigneurie of Kock upon the villages appertaining to it, the little nobles with holdings interspersed among those of the seigneurie were in some cases more exacting. On one such tiny manor in Stoszek each of seven peasant households owed six teamdays (twelve man days) a week in the summer. Some of these noble estates were worked by only one or two peasants; sometimes the noble, perforce, did his own work. The standard of living of the "noble proletariat" dropped to level of the peasants. Through the eighteenth century [p.085] these little noble holdings were under constant pressure, harried by litigation, mortgaged to the hilt, and falling one by one to the powerful seigneurie by purchase. The eighteenth century seigneurs of Kock, like the Hohenzollerns of Prussia, pursued a "rounding out" policy, while the small nobility weakened itself by dividing estates among the children at each succession. A bill of sale dated 1791 lists the items of such a property bought by a seigneur for 7,000 gulden. There are twenty-four pieces of plow land, four hits of meadow, and two peasants. One of the peasants, Nackt, has one son and one horse and owes two days hand labor a week; the other, Trabka, has two sons, one daughter and two oxen, and owes two days labor throughout the year. This document is signed by the noble seller with a cross. He could not write his own name. In 1864 in and around the village of Tchorzew there were still sixty-four of these little noble holdings, averaging twenty-two acres in size. The emancipation of the peasants in that year practically put the one-time serfs on a par with these one-time nobles, although the two classes remained conscious of their difference, and the nobles, while doing their own farm work, dressed differently from the peasants.
Changes in the political superstructure did not break the continuity of the nucleus of organization at Kock.
In the late eighteenth century the Polish state collapsed. Kock became Austrian in the Third Partition, 1795-1809, then 1809-1813 it was part of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, and then after 1815, it was in "Congress" Poland, united with Russia. These changes did not have any noticeable effect on Kock. At the same time there were reform movements and legislation designed to improve the lot of the peasants. Serfdom was declared abolished by Kosckiusko in 1794, and again by the legislation of the Grand Duchy. It does not appear that these reforms reached Kock. That which was really effective in the history of Kock was the long rule of its enlightened despot, Anna Jablonowska, born in 1727, and married in 1752 to one of the wealthiest of the Polish nobles, Prince John Gaetan Jablonowski. Prince John held four seigneuries in Red Russia, three in Volhynia, and palaces in Lemberg, Warsaw and near Danzig. Princess Anna had two seigneuries -- Kock and Siemiatycze -- which together yielded 110,000 gulden a year, and another manor that brought in 15,000 gulden. The prince died in 1764, and the widow devoted herself thenceforth to the careful government of her two seigneuries. She was in all respects a woman of enlightenment, comparable within her sphere to her contemporaries Maria Theresa, Empress of Austria, or Catherine the Great, Empress of [p.086] Russia. For thirty-six years she ruled Kock. There was no line of appeal above her. On the margin of one document that came through her office she wrote: "In Warsaw the Senate; I in Kock."
The princess maintained a little baroque court in her castle. She had a lady-in-waiting and a chaplain, a military commander, a general manager, and a castellan. Then, on a lower level, six officials in French dress, four house servants, six lackeys, four guards, three cooks, seven house boys, fourteen grooms, a caretaker for her little zoo, and night watchmen and maids, and a military troop of one corporal and five soldiers. She read widely in the natural science literature of the day, maintained a botanical garden and a zoo, and devoted herself to the task of giving a new constitution to her seigneurie.
In 1786 she published her new constitution -- in eight small volumes. Everything was reduced in it to uniformity and order. The first volume set forth in six articles the duties of the "governor", and followed this with 198 pages of tables, schedules and instructions for him and all the lower officials. The second volume defined in thirty-two pages, with appropriate schedules, the duties of the grain accountant and the treasurer. Volume three dealt with the duties of the manager of breweries and distilleries; volume four with those supervisors of manufacturing; volume five with the administration of forests, in eight articles and sixty-eight pages; then volume six on the ironwork supervision; volume seven on the organization of the town; and volume eight, on the internal and external constitution of the villages, in one hundred and twenty pages.
The village constitution began with a preamble styled with good eighteenth century allusions to "the welfare of the peasantry" in which the princess declared, "I have decided to give my peasants self government". She hoped for their thanks since her ordinance would make the increasing of their burdens forever impossible. Her reform consisted of three parts: first, she standardized all dues in labor, money and kind, put the labor dues on a piece work basis at two team days a week throughout the year, an extra four days during harvest, and two additional days a month, one for the seigneurie and one for the village community. The amount of time to be spent on domain labor was thereby reduced, at least nominally, but a schedule of tasks was set. A day's work in mowing hay, for instance, was one Morgen (1.3 acres) per man per day; in binding hay the task was 800 bundles a day, or 58 per hour. The length of the working day was from sunrise to sunset, but the man who finished his day's task before that time could stop, and one who did not finish it must complete it without credit. A receipt was to be [p.087] given to each peasant for every day's work. The tasks were set high enough to make her constitution something of a speed-up system.
The government of each village was to be established according to a standard rule. The villagers were to elect elders who would be the intermediaries between the bureaucracy of the seigneurie and the villagers themselves. Some of these village officials were to execute orders received from above, others to adjust disputes within the village, and maintain order in it. There was, in effect, a separation of justice from administration.
These village officials were vogt, councillors and elders. Those elected to these offices could hold them for life. The vogt was responsible for order in the village, for the good administration of the peasant farms within it, and for security of peasant property. He was the protector of widows and orphans and was in charge of relief for the poor. Each village was required to set aside a store house of grain for poor relief.
The councillors were in charge of the ordinary labor duties for the domain, and was therefore relieved of labor duties. The elders were in charge of labor duties for the village, and the village storehouse and treasury. They were relieved of part of the labor duty.
Apart from these three highest officials, there were the "tenth men" or foremen, who held office on annual term. Each foreman was responsible for directing the labor of nine other men, and his household was relieved of spinning duty and given the use of domain labor on his two and one-half acres of his own land.
The duties of these four classes of peasant officials are described in fifty pages of instructions. The smallest details of peasant life are covered. The punishment for breaking a rule is set at a year of forced labor.
In every village there was established a village court consisting of the vogt, four councillors, one elder and one foreman. They were the court of first instance. All their judgments were to be approved by the governor of the seigneurie. Appeals could be taken to the court of the seigneurie at the castle, and then to the princess herself. Anyone who carried a losing case through all three instances of appeal was to be punished with a public whipping before the house of the vogt in his own village.
If the members of the court should be guilty of partisanship or should accept bribes, they were to be punished [p.088] with six weeks of hard labor, and for a hundred years their descendants would be disqualified from holding the office of Vogt or judge.
Aside from the common storehouse which was to serve for poor relief and insurance against famine, there was also to be a loan fund in each village. Each peasant was to contribute to the magazine, and the store was to be held till the new crop was made, then sold, and the money put in the village treasury.
Another of the Princess' reforms was her reallocation of land. The whole seigneurie was surveyed in 1771, and each peasant allotted twenty-one acres. These holdings were to be inalienable for fifty years. At the end of fifty years the same tenure could be reestablished for a new fifty-year period on payment of one hundred gulden. The children were to inherit, unless their conduct toward their parents were notoriously unfilial, in which case the father could sell the holding back to the domain. A peasant wishing to leave the seigneurie could do so if he found a substitute to take over his holding. The peasant properties were to be indivisible, and were to go to the eldest son. The younger sons were promised lands of their own from the domain. Thus a standardized hereditary leasehold was to replace the uncertainties and inequalities of previous tenures. Much of the reform in tenure and inheritance was simply a clarification of existing custom.
The strong hand of the princess was also felt in the town of Kock. She abolished the guilds, appointed a commandant as governor, and had the Town Council meet in her castle, not in their Council house. Her one hundred fifty pages of regulations went into such minute details as the prescription of dress for burghers, women and girls. They were given three years in which to bring their apparel to her standard. Anyone found wearing prohibited dress after that date was to be taken to the market place and publicly stripped. The same rules of fifty-year tenure in indivisible estates that were laid down for the villages were applied to town property. Since some of the property of the town-peasants was vacant, the princess drew it into the domain and established two manors on it. She named them after herself - Annapol and Annovka. A direct tax was levied on all inhabitants of the town. The town privileges that had been granted in 1417 by the king, and confirmed as late as 1700, were swept away. The townsmen were still protesting about this in 1868, when Count Zoltowski bought the seigneurie.
[p.089] The Jablonowska constitution came to Kock as the French Revolution to France. It survived through the Metternich period under absentee ownership. The conditions were changed in the period of the Second Empire. Some of the labor duties lapsed in 1846 when Tsar Nicholas of Russia, who was king of this part of Poland, outlawed compulsory service in the lord's household. In 1859 some of the domain labor was commuted for money at a rate just half the prevailing wage rate. Then in 1863 came a great Polish insurrection, followed by the Emancipation of 1864 which left the peasants as owners of their holdings, the seigneurie as owner of the domain. The forests were left in an ambiguous tenure which was to be the source of chronic friction between peasant and great landlord from that day to the Russian invasion of 1939.
Count Zoltowski farmed the domain with hired labor, under plantation management; like Colonel Philippi at Crawley he introduced scientific methods of cultivation. Some of these methods were copied by the peasants on their own holdings to their own advantage. The poorest of the petty nobles were shaken down to ordinary freeholder status, while the peasants were lifted up to the same condition. Throughout this part of Poland the peasants increased their holdings at the expense of the great domains, buying up land. The size of the peasant estates did not change greatly, but the number of estates and their total acreage increased each by about one-third from 1870 to 1904.
In 1918 the Polish Republic was established. It is not clear that the new regime made much difference to the peasants. The new state undertook an agrarian reform aimed at breaking up the great domains and dividing them among the peasants, but this reform has actually converted to peasant ownership only half as much land in central Poland as was converted by peasant purchase in the nineteenth century. Political power was not in peasant hands; the free market was more effective than public administration. There has also been an effort to consolidate peasant holdings, and escape the wastes of the minute subdivisions into strips that date from the fourteenth century. Most of the villages are as yet untouched by this reform.
All the changes in land tenure from the time of Boleslaw to Alexander II, from the era of medieval freehold tenure through the modern period of manorial exploitation to the new freehold sy tenure of the nineteenth and twentieth century left one unit intact -- that was the unit of management and inheritance, the peasant family. Its autonomy was large in the medieval period, limited in the period of servile tenure, and has now again been expanded. But the unit itself remained constant from the eleventh century to modern times.
[p.090] The Barbarian Age family was the great patriarchal unit, like the Celtic clan-family of early Crawley. It was so large that it required its own little bureaucracy, and subjected to the rule of its elders. When that unit dissolved in the Feudal Age, the unit that took its place was the peasant family consisting of a household and the households of those related to it in three or four degrees. The household was the management unit in the administration of land, the relatives participated in making policy on marriages and other matters of dynastic policy. Each marriage brought into existence a new relation among a cluster of households that were connected with the husband and another cluster connected with the wife. The head of the household was regarded primarily as the administrator of family property. The object of the family was to accumulate land. In Central Poland the eldest son usually inherited the holding of his father, and for the younger sons and daughters there was made such dowry provision as was possible. The fathers in old age retired from management and left responsibility to their heirs, while they lived out their days. This family system with its drive toward the accumulation of land was what made the Polish economy go, whether under freeholding or servile tenures. At the top there were many changes in style of administration, from the bishop of Plock to the Firleys, from the Firleys to Princess Jablonowska, the enlightened despot, from the Princess to Count Zoltowski, the scientific farmer. At the bottom there was no change. Princess Jablonowska had in mind this strong family sense when she set down as the penalty for venality in Justice a hundred years of exclusion from office for the descendants of the offenders.
The changes introduced by Princess Anne and by Tsar Alexander were certainly important, but they may not have been as fundamental as a change coming over the Polish peasant family. This change is comparable only to that which took place a thousand years ago, when the ancient patriarchal family dissolved.
This familial revolution is analyzed by Thomas and Znaniecki in their Polish Peasant in Europe and America. Their analysis is paralleled by Ladislas Reymont in his great novel, The Peasants. Both observers see the Polish peasant family disorganized by a certain individualism; Family cupidity is replaced by personal cupidity and status is associated with the person more than with the family.
Thomas and Znaniecki cite a letter written to a Polish peasant newspaper some time after 1905. The letter describes a typical family situation: the children are living with the father as of old; they are breaking away from their traditional economy.
"One takes some sheaves from the barn secretly, [p.091] before the second; the second snatches a bushel or two of corn from the brother, the brother snatches anything else before the sister and so the farming goes on in a way that is painful to see. One brother keeps a hog, the other brother keeps a second hog, the third brother keeps a foal, the sister keeps some chickens and geese for herself and so: 'this is mine, and that is yours'. And then they sell this 'their own' and give the money to Jews for German clothes, hats, watches. But when it becomes necessary to repair anything in the farm outfit, a cart, a plow, a harrow, then everybody says: 'I am not the farm owner'."
The meaning of this letter, as interpreted by the eminent sociologists who cite it, is that the communal family attitude is disappearing. The normal peasant objective is to convert as much income as possible into property, and as much property as possible into land. But here each member of the family tries to set aside as his own as much of the family income as possible, to treat as income goods that would normally be classed as property -- i.e. livestock, and use the income for personal expenses.
"The fundamental attitudes back of this social disorganization are new personal needs. The personal character of these needs is due to the fact that they are either hedonistic -- the individual wants pleasures which he cannot share directly with others without diminishing his own part, such as new and more varied kinds of food, alcoholic drinks, tobacco, etc. or consist in a demand for social recognition based no longer on the importance of the family, but on the individual's 'showing off' by fashionable clothes, jewelry, etc." The ideal of competitive consumption is replacing the idea of suitable subsistence.
The first world war made Poland in independent national state; the first act of the second world war was a new partition of Poland in which Kock was allotted to Germany. If Kock had gone to Russia, the system of land tenure would have been revolutionized to conform to the Russian pattern; the villages would have taken over all the land, and the land would have been managed in large village units, plantation style. For a few days in 1939 there was a temporary arrangement between Russia and Germany which left Kock to Russia; the arrangement was then changed to allocate Kock to Germany. Whether it will make much difference to the peasantry whether they are under German rule, or independent Polish rule, remains to be seen. [p.092]
Each of the thousands of villages in Europe has its own history. No two of them are exactly alike. Yet it is only as we see some picture of how these villages have changed through the Era of Nationalism that we can understand the fundamental changes that have taken place in man's relation to the earth.
The changes that must be followed occurred in two areas: there was the change in Europe itself, and the spread of European land tenures into other areas of the globe.
The two agencies that have effected the changes in land tenure have been the market, operating through the market for farm products and the market for land itself, and the modern states, operating by legislation and revolution.
There are no agricultural statistics that would give us an exact and comprehensive quantitative picture of these changes. But we can picture certain typical situations, certain typical changes, and define the areas in which they occurred, realizing, of course, that individual specimens of various types were always mingled with each other.
At the beginning of the Era of Nationalism there were three major land tenure zones in Europe. The western-most was the British Isles, where the large landholder predominated; in the middle was the Atlantic coast from Norway to the Bay of Biscay, and inward to central Germany and Switzerland, where the system called Grundherrschaft, by German scholars, seigneurial as applied to France, prevailed. The eastern zone included the coasts of the Baltic sea, the great plains and forest belt of Eastern Germany, Poland, Bohemia, and Russia, and the valley of the Danube. This was the area of Gutsherrschaft, of which Kock was typical.
Each of these areas was in turn divided into two parts in which land tenure history has been distinctive. In the British Isles, Ireland was an area in which the large landholdings came not from the disintegration of manorial tenures but from the destruction of clan-family tenures. The great landholders collected rents, but small peasant families managed individual rented holdings. In Britain itself the great landholders also collected rents, but they either managed great areas themselves, or leased them to yeomen and farmers who worked the land with hired labor, as in Crawley. In the area of Grundherrschaft west of the Rhine the basic change in tenure took place in the French Revolution; east of the Rhine it was not completed till 1848. The western portion of the area of Gutsherrschaft, the Baltic coast, parts of Poland, Bohemia and the Danube, saw
[p.093] tenure revolutionized in 1848 in partial imitation of the French Revolution, and again during the Long Armistice in partial imitation of the Russian revolution. In Russia, Rumania and Russian Poland there was a revolutionary change in 1861-65; in Russia another revolutionary change in 1931.
There are then these six sub-zones Ireland, Britain, the French zone, and west German zone, the east-German and Danubian zone, and the Russian zone. Northern Spain and Italy were in the French zone; in southern Spain and Italy conditions varied from those of the west German to those of the Danubian zone.
Western Europe, which includes both halves of the area of Grundherrschaft together with England entered the Era of Nationalism with land tenure systems derived from the manor, which had lasted through the Barbarian and Feudal Ages. The East-European Gutsherrschaft bore a resemblance to what the defunct or semi-defunct west-European manor had once been. This is evident when thirteenth century Crawley and eighteenth century Kock are compared with each other. But the East-European Gutsherrschaft was not a survival of the manor; it was rather a product of the early Modern Age, and contemporary, therefore, with the slave-worked plantations of the New World.
The difference between the English zone and the West European zone of Grundherrschaft at the beginning of the Era of Nationalism was that the three elements of which the manor was composed, lordly family, village and lowly families, had fared differently in respect of the management of land. In England the domain ate up the peasant holdings; on the continent the peasant holdings ate up the domain. The English system became large-scale farming with hired labor, the Continental system became small-scale farming. Oberschefflenz through the Barbarian and Feudal Ages was not typical of European villages, because it was not manorialized. But at the opening of the Era of Nationalism the typical West European village resembled Oberschefflenz in that the land was managed by peasant families.
The system of Grundherrschaft, common to both the French zone and the west German zone prior to 1789, and subsisting in the west German zone till 1848, was simply a dying manor in which land management had been taken over by the villages and the peasant families, while old manorial dues and jurisdictions remained. The lordly family still exercised powers of Jurisdiction and police, collected payments in money, labor and kind, exploited monopolies of mill and oven, and sometimes collected tolls on goods in transit. They also enjoyed hunting rights, to the great damage of the peasants' crops.
[p.094] The peasants were free to move if they chose; they could buy and sell their holdings, subject to the payment of a transfer tax called "lods et ventes". Their tenure was secure as long as they kept up their payments of dues. The typical dispute was over some claim for an increase of dues -- like the demand made by the tithe collector of Oberschefflenz for the straw as well as the grain. There was resentment, moreover, at the high cost and low quality of seigneurial justice.
The reform of the system of Grundherrschaft was relatively simple. It was simply a scaling off of most or all of the payments made by the peasants, with or without compensation to the previous recipient. This reform had the effect of separating two classes of interests in the land that had previously been merged -- the market interest and the governmental. It did not affect land management. It affected the income of the peasantry just as anyone's net income is affected if the landlord stops collecting rent.
In the French zone, which was revolutionized in 1789-92, the seigneurs received no compensation.
The French peasantry had not actually taken over all the domain lands. Large landholding survived the French revolution, for all the revolution did was to clear off dues from the lands the peasants actually held. But the great domains, most of which were in the hands of churches, monasteries, and great noble families, were confiscated by the state and sold to buyers. Then for a century the development of land tenure in France was left to the free working of the market, and the operations of inheritance law.
In order to prevent the maintenance of great noble holdings the French Revolution changed the inheritance law, abolishing primogeniture and giving each child a right to a share in his parents' land. This had the effect of breaking up all land units, large and small. The free play of the market in land tended to favor the small holder as against the large holder. More land was bought by peasants than from peasants. This process, continuing through the Era of Nationalism, has made France a nation of small peasant proprietors.
The trend of present legislation, in the 1930's, is to try to put a stop to the continuous sub-division of land, which threatens to go so far that rural families cannot make a living.
Grundherrschaft in the west-German zone was reformed more gradually, and not completed till 1848. The basic elements of the reform were exactly like the French model, except that the lordly families received compensation for [p.095] surrendering their claims, and such large units of domain land as had survived peasant acquisition were not confiscated, but remained in the hands of the lordly families.
In Germany, as in France, the operations of the market tended to reduce the holdings of peasant families below the subsistence level. The Nazi Government of Germany has undertaken to protect the land against such subdivision, without allowing the growth of large landed estates. The law of July 6, 1938 establishes hereditary farms (Erbhoefe). Only the owners of hereditary farms are entitled to call themse1ves"peasants" (Bauern). All other exploiters of the land must call themselves "agriculturalists", (Landwirte). There is a strict order of succession to the hereditary farm; its subdivision is prohibited. Its size is limited to the amount necessary to keep a peasant family, with a variable maximum running to about 200 acres. About half the cultivated land of Germany is now constituted as hereditary farm land.
East of the Elbe as the Era of Nationalism opened the area of Grundherrschaft faded into the area of Gutsherrschaft. The earmark of the Gutsherrschaft was the large proportion of land in the domain of the lordly family, and the aggressive character of domain management. A large domain required for its working a large proportion of peasant working time, and this meant heavy labor dues. The heavy labor dues had to be collected by force: the peasants were bound to the soil. They had to pay money for permission to leave. The system was therefore a servile system. Kock is an example.
The Gutsherr, like the western Grundherr, had police and judicial authority. Because he was primarily interested in the amount of work he could get out of his peasants, he was perhaps more tempted than the Grundherr to abuse his authority. The Grundherr, in the last resort, would deprive a defaulting peasant of his holding; the Gutsherr would have the peasant flogged.
We must now distinguish between the Baltic-German-Bohemian-Danubian area of Gutsherrschaft and the Russian and Russian-Polish. In the former there was a far greater variety of peasant tenures. They varied from hereditary tenures which the Gutsherr could not disturb to precarious tenures subject to the most capricious increases in dues or rents. Old regime monarchs like Frederick the Great of Prussia and Maria Theresa of Austria did what they could to protect the peasants. They were particularly interested in rendering peasant tenures more secure and in preventing the ejection of peasants from peasant lands; they sought to prevent the expansion of the domain at peasant expense and increases in labor dues. They also tried to prevent [p.096] the abuse of lordly jurisdiction. In legal theory the peasants were not owned by the Gutsherr, but were his "hereditary dependants". In Russia the legal theory was nearer the idea of ownership, as if the peasant was the property of the owner of the estate. The Tsars tried to protect the peasants against being sold without land, and to prevent the increase of labor dues above three days a week, but peasant protective measures from above were much less effective in Russia than in the west.
The first land reform in the area of Gutsherrschaft, as in the area of Grundherrschaft, was the shift from a servile to a free system, and the abolition of jurisdictions and police powers based on landholding. Because the domain holdings were larger relative to peasant holdings, this reform presented a different problem and produced a different effect. In the Gutsherrschaft areas it was not enough to free the peasant from the jurisdiction of the Gutsherr and from compulsory labor dues, for there was a fundamental problem of land title to be adjusted._ The emancipation movements in the area of Gutsherrschaft involved not only the problem of whether to compensate the lordly family, and how much compensation to give. It involved also the problem of deciding how much land the peasants were to have.
There were three reform movements in the nineteenth century in the area of Gutsherrschaft. The first of these was in Prussia, during the Napoleonic period. This reform remade Prussian land tenure in the image of English. The large landholder and the wealthy peasant family got land; the poor peasant got nothing, and became an agricultural laborer for hire, perhaps with a cottage and garden allotted to him as "deputat" to allow him to eke out his existence.
The second reform wave came to the German states and the Austrian Empire in 1848. It was an imitation of the French Revolution, and where conditions resembled those of Old Regime France -- that is, in the area of Grundherrschaft -- it had the same effects. But the simple commutation of labor and other dues in a village where a large part of the land was domain land left the large landholdings intact, and gave to east-central Europe its character as an area of great landholders. This reform covered the western zone of Gutsherrschaft.
(Asiatic Turkey also went through an agrarian reform in the Metternich Period. The Sultan Mahmad II, 1808-1839, wiped out the great military fiefs, and Asiatic Turkey took on the character of a country of small peasant farms which it retains today.)
[p.097] The third reform wave came in 1861-65, and covered Russia, Russian Poland and Rumania. In Poland the lordly families held most of their domain land, but got no compensation for the dues that were cancelled; in Russia the lordly families were compensated, and the amount of their compensation added to the taxes of the peasant villages. The amount of land given to the peasants, and the amount retained as domain, varied from small "beggarly allotments" for which the peasants owed no compensation to the landlords, to large allotments that could utilize the labor power of the village, but upon which the taxes, which flowed through the State to the ex-landlords, were correspondingly high. The Rumanian reform of 1865 worked out like the Russian system of beggarly allotments; the peasants got some land free of commutation charges, but not enough land to live on.
Wherever Gutsherrschaft was broken up into peasant village and domain, the domain could be exploited in one of three ways: farmed with hired labor, leased to peasants, or sold to peasants. The state had done its work, and the market began its steady pressure. When the emancipation reform of 1861 was completed the peasants had about thirty-one per cent of the land; when the Soviet Revolution came in 1917 they had about eighty-seven per cent. of it, and in this revolution they occupied the remaining twenty-three per cent. The increase in peasant holdings at the expense of the great estates was accelerated by the labor scarcity in the first World War. In 1917 only a little more than ten per cent. of the land actually under cultivation was in the large estates. The process by which the great estates were squeezed out was essentially a continuous one, to which the Soviet Revolution gave only the finishing touches.
While Russia was passing through the Bismarck and Pre-War Periods, the market was steadily drawing land away from the great estates and putting it under family management in the villages. Meanwhile the problem of land tenure became a problem of the relation of individual peasant families to the village communities, and of the rich and poor peasant families with each other. The question was whether to strengthen the independence of the separate families, so that the more efficient ones could reward themselves, or to support the communal character of the village, so that the peasant families would constantly sustain each other.
The Emancipation movement had occupied the attention of three generations of Europeans. More than seventy years were required to effect the dissolution of Western Grundherrschaft and Eastern Gutsherrschaft, and to put all European agriculture on a strictly market basis -- a labor market for wages, a produce market for crops, and a free market in the land itself. [p.098]
In the Pre-War Period another reform movement defined itself. It was a kind of enclosure movement, but it had the specific object of creating family managed farms that would be neither too large nor too small. It was a movement to build up a strong peasantry. It began in the Pre-War Period at the two extremes of Europe, Ireland and Russia, and continued during the Long Armistice in Central and Western Europe. Here it would mean converting tenants into owners, there it would mean consolidating land parcels that were too small, and at another place dividing up estates that were too large. The course of this movement must now be followed.
In Ireland the land had long been cultivated in small parcels, and family managed, but the Irish peasant through the Bismarck period was a tenant without security. If he improved his land he would only see his rent raised. In Russia an entirely different situation prevented the creation of independent peasant families. The payments that took the major part of the peasant surplus were not rent payments, but taxes, assessed by the state to pay off the one-time serf owners and maintain the costs of government. For these taxes the villages were held collectively responsible. Over most of European Russia it was the practice of the villages to repartition the village land between families from time to time, in proportion to working capacity (number of adults) in each family. This Russian village communism, like Irish rack-renting, was a bar to the creation of strong peasant dynasties. Peasant families could not build up their holdings nd improve them from generation to generation.
The Irish land reform which began in 1892, and was practically completed in the Pre-War Period, was not unlike the Russian emancipation of 1861 in one respect: it bought out the great landholders and turned over their land to the peasants, leaving the payments to be made up over a long period by the peasant families. The Irish peasants simply bought farms on the installment plan through the mediation of the government. In Russia the problem was no longer, in the Pre-War Period, to get land away from the great estates, but to permit individual peasant families to get away from their villages. There was a widespread revolution in 1905 in Russia. This revolution, like the chronic agrarian disorders in Ireland, brought the government to try to build up strong individualistic peasant families who would have such a stake in the country that they would be found, as in France, on the side of public order. The statesman who developed this policy was Stolypin, Prime Minister of Russia. His land laws of 1906-1910 made it [p.099] easy for a peasant family to buy and trade itself out of the village and set itself up independently with its own fields. The process immediately got under way, and by the time the first World War began fifteen per cent. of the Russian land had been withdrawn from the villages to be managed by individual families. According to some estimates half the peasants had freed themselves from the village communes by 1917.
The first effect of the Revolution of 1917 in Russia was to force most of these independent families back into the villages. Their lands, like the remaining great estates, were redivided by the revolutionary peasantry. But in 1921 a new economic policy again fostered the development of this more independent peasant class. Observers said that the Soviet Government of Russia had rediscovered Stolypin.
This reform, which was accomplished for Ireland and started for Russia in the Pre-War Period, not only was pressed forward in Russia during the early years of the Long Armistice, but was taken up by the governments of the whole Baltic-Polish-Bohemian-Danubian area that had been the western zone of the old Gutsherrschaft. This was the area in which simple emancipation (which had given land to peasants in the Grundherrschaft areas), gave land to great domain holders in 1848 and 1864-65. Now at last these great domains were attacked by subdividing them and letting the peasants buy the new-made parcels on the installment plan, through the government. The amount of compensation received by the great landholders varied, and so did the completeness with which the reforms were carried through. In the three Baltic countries, Esthonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the great estates were almost completely liquidated; in Poland, Czecho-Slovakia, Rumania and Jugoslavia, there was a fairly extensive redistribution of land. In Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria and Finland there was relatively slight effective action.
As of 1928 it seemed that all Europe, from whatever situation it had started, was working toward the strengthening of independent peasant family ownership and control of land. In Russia the land was in theory nationalized, but each peasant family seemed perfectly secure in the land it was actually farming for itself. Even in England and Scotland efforts -- though ineffective -- were made to put people on land. In Italy land was being reclaimed for peasant family settlement. This movement to partition great estates reached Spain in 1935, and led to the Spanish civil war. [p.100]
Then in the 1930's a new problem appeared, and a whole array of unprecedented measures were taken in Europe. The real agrarian revolution in Russia dates only from 1931. For in that year a campaign was conducted to destroy the very class of strong peasants which had arisen since the Stolypin reform of 1909, and nourished itself on the Soviet policies of the 1920's. The program of the government was to "liquidate the kulak as a class". The "ku1ak" was the relatively wealthy peasant -- the one who had been pulling away from the village commune. The type of village organization that was forced upon Russia was a strong collective village management -- plantation management applied to peasant land. In all but garden land the separation of fields into family holdings disappeared; the land was thrown together, and each village, now a "kolkhoz" worked under unified supervision. This revolution was carried out with great brutality and effectiveness.
The changes in agricultural policy and land management elsewhere in Europe in the 1930's were a consequence of the Great Depression, as in Russia they were a consequence of the Five-Year Plan. They can only be understood in connection with three decisive developments that had changed the setting of the agrarian problem since the period of Metternich.
The first development was a greatly increased dependence of villagers, as consumers, upon products bought through the market -- especially manufactured goods. This had the effect of creating the characteristic grievance, encountered no less in Kansas than in Soviet Russia, that the prices of manufactured goods were too high relative to the prices of agricultural products.
The second development was a greatly increased exposure of the villagers, as producers and sellers, to the competition of producers all over the world. We have seen what wheat from the United States did to the yeomen of Crawley. Products such as wheat, meat and wool were produced abroad in direct competition with European peasant production. The story of sugar is different. In the Metternich Period all sugar came to Europe from abroad; during the Second EmPire beet sugar production developed in Europe in competition with colonial sugar. The story of vegetable oils is still different: Danish producers of butter became dependent upon fatty feeds manufactured from tropical nuts, and at the same time found their butter in competition with oleomargerine, made from raw materials imported from the tropics.
[p.101] The third development was the general dependence of agriculture upon credit, usually in the form of land mortgages. Mortgage debts contracted when prices were high naturally took up a larger proportion of the crop when prices fell, and left the peasant a smaller proportion of his crop to trade for the manufactured goods he needed. If at the same time the prices of the manufactured goods he wanted to buy remained high, while the prices of the things he had to sell had fallen, he might be unable to fill his normal needs. The whole movement to make peasant families into landholders put these very families into the positions in the economic system where they were most exposed to the market risk of falling price levels.
By 1925 the losses due to the destruction of wealth in the first World War had been made up. Population since 1913 had increased only six per cent., but the total world production of food and raw materials had increased sixteen per cent. But most of this increased production was not taking place in Europe; it was taking place in America, Asia, Oceania and Africa. The product of the land in these areas was, however, competing with the product of the European peasant farmer in his own market. By 1931 the world production of wheat and other basic agricultural commodities attained such a volume that in the then existing state of the market prices no longer repaid costs of production. The price of wheat in England fell to a low point which it had touched only once since Shakespeare was a boy.
At the very time that the Soviet Government undertook by force to liquidate the kulak as a class, the world market, operating not by force but by the sheer strength of its internal processes, threatened to liquidate the western peasant proprietor as a class.
The protective measures that were taken in western Europe to protect the very class that was being destroyed in Russia varied from state to state and from area to area, but in the main they involved two major features: relief from the debt burden by restraining the creditors and scaling down their claims, and a bolstering up of prices by protecting the peasant from the competition of foreign products, subsidizing his own production, or diverting acreage from the production of low-priced products in order to reduce the supply and thus increase the price.
The measures of relief from debt burdens were relatively simple. The Irish Free State simply stopped the payment of the land annuities that represented the still current installment on peasant land purchases of the Pre-War [p.102] Period. The Rumanian government supervised the scaling down of principal and interest on peasant mortgages, making the mortgage holder choose between a scaled down settlement and a ten-year moratorium on all payments. Such measures as these, however, did not so much modify the conditions of land tenure as protect them.
It was otherwise with the measures that were aimed at controlling prices by controlling supply. For the new agricultural policies put into effect by the European states in the 1930's were uniformly designed to create a line of management that would reach from the center of governmental power all the way to the farmers' fields, and induce the farmer to plant what the government wished him to plant, or to refrain from planting what the government did not wish to have planted. So, in a new setting, something that bore a resemblance to the old line of management that ran from the village community to the peasant family, that is to say the external control of family land utilization, was reestablished.
The peasant families under the European policies of the 1930's are controlled in the utilization of their land by two methods: price and subsidy manipulation, which pays them to plant what is wanted and to refrain from planting what is not wanted, and direct administrative decrees governing their action. Thus French wine growers are forbidden to irrigate their vineyards after July 15 in order to keep down the amount of wine produced, and required to pay a special tax on a vintage of more than 2,000 hectolitres per farm. Legislation of 1933 and 1934 prohibited increases in acreage devoted to wheat. Italy restricted the production of wines of low alcoholic content and pushed the expansion of wheat acreage. Germany operated principally through price controls, England through subsidies to wheat growers.
So the third great movement in land tenure got under way. The first had been the freeing of land management from anything other than market control; the second had been the deliberate building up of peasant family management under conditions that would provide maximum security of tenure; the third was now the establishment of control or land utilization, which in Russia put villages under plantation management, and elsewhere imposed some control, or exerted some influence, over the peasant's use of his loud.
The character of this third great revolution was a result in the west of the increased market dependence of the peasantry, in Russia of a specific social policy and ideology. In both areas it reflected the consequence of the introduction of scientific and mechanized agriculture, or of the desire to introduce such methods. The improvement [p.103] of agricultural technique by use of fertilizers, improvement of seed and stock, and use of machinery had begun in the eighteenth century, and was continuous through the Era of Nationalism. It reached a culminating point when, in the 1930's, it seemed that despite the vast increases in world population, the world was producing more food per capita than ever before.
We have seen how the tremendous productivity of land, European and non-European, under conditions of world markets and world prices, led to a variety of protective changes in European land tenure. Underlying the state policies that were expressed in the national control of land utilization there was not only the will to protect a distressed farming class, but also a desire to put the economy of each nation on a self-sufficient basis. Even little Latvia boasted in 1936:
"Remarkable changes have taken place in the production of foodstuffs during the period 1930-35. Until then a large part of the foodstuffs consumed in Latvia was imported from abroad -- for example breadstuffs, nearly the whole of the sugar consumed, and large quantities of eggs and salted herrings. During the years of world economic depression, the Latvian Government, chiefly owing to its desire to help the farmers, who were suffering severely from the crisis ... enacted a number of laws for the purpose of encouraging home production of foodstuffs and restricting the importation of these commodities." League of Nations. Official Document No. A. 12b, 1936 II-B. "Nutrition in various countries"., p. 45.
What the Latvian government was doing, the governments of other states were also doing. For economic self-sufficiency was an ideal that had defense value, and was therefore a part of power politics, of which more will be said later on.
These controls of production insofar as they were devised to meet a situation created by a world market and by world production, required for their complete effectiveness some kind of international action, and in the case of certain commodities international controls, aimed at limiting production, were attempted or put into effect. Tin, rubber, sugar and tea were brought under control by international action in the 1930's; attempts were made to apply this system to wheat. In all cases the establishment of these international controls meant that producing countries accepted through their governments quotas of the world market which they agreed not to exceed. The fulfillment of such agreements naturally required that control be extended to the producing plantations and mines themselves.
This part of the picture, however, is not complete until account is taken of the exploitation for Europe of land outside of Europe. We must therefore sketch briefly the history of land tenure in those areas which were dumping their products on the European market in the 1930's.
European occupation of land outside of Europe characterized the whole of the Modern Age. The pattern of occupancy and exploitation varied from time to time and from place to place. There was an Eastward movement of Russian landholders and peasantry which simply extended the zone of Gutsherrschaft in the Russian style, though there was a tenure more nearly approximating the peasant holdings in the Cossack areas of the Ukraine and in Siberia. Across the Atlantic there was a westward movement, -- which adapted to the new conditions of land, labor and crop the basic ideas of land tenure that were in effect in the places from which the Europeans came. So the French settlements along the St. Lawrence River were set up under the system of Grundherrschaft, -- the seigneurial system -- that obtained in France. This system survived there till 1848, and disappeared simultaneously with its last traces in Western Germany. In the Dutch and English settlements the two ideas of a yeoman farmer class farming the soil with or without hired labor, and a class of gentry or great proprietors collecting rents on vast domains were applied to the new lands, as they were found existing in England. Since there was more land than there were people to work it, the importation of labor from across the sea was a constant requirement of successful exploitation. The source of this labor was found in three types of immigration: peasants who paid their own way and rented or bought farms in the New World, agricultural laborers whose way was paid for them, and who were then purchased by American landholders as indentured servants, and finally negroes brought as slaves from Africa.
The New World counterpart of East European Gutsherrschaft was the plantation worked by slave labor. This form of enterprise predominated in the production of sugar and cotton. Zones of land tenure such as in Europe divided East from West divided America North and South.
The abolition of slavery, which began in the English colonies, in the period of Metternich, and was completed in [p.104] the Latin American countries in the Bismarck Period, modified management techniques in some measure, even where the large landholdings remained under plantation management. In large parts of the United States it led to the development of a system resembling Irish rack-renting except that rents were paid in the form of a share of the crop. This "share-cropping" applied particularly to cotton farming in the South. Grain farming in the North swept across the country as a system of family-managed farms. This system was regarded by Americans as their typical form of land tenure through the Pre-War Period, but the effects of the Great Depression threatened to destroy this structure, and substitute for it either tenant tenures on family-managed farms or large scale plantation farming with hired labor. The same principles of control that were applied in Europe were applied in the United States in the 1930's, for the same reasons -- to protect proprietary land tenures against the revolutionary effects of a depressed world market. In the system of controls established in the United States the idea of protecting the soil from erosion due to wind and water had a prominent place.
Land tenure in the pasture lands of Australia, the Argentine and the Great Plains and mountain areas of the United States had another story. Large units of enterprise prevailed. The adjustments that the cattle men and sheep men made with their governments, either on a basis of ownership rights in the land, or use rights to pasture it, furnish the thread of the history of land tenure in each of these areas.
The extension of European land tenures to Africa and southeastern Asia took place largely in the form of plantations farmed with hired labor. The problem of labor supply was crucial. Since these lands were subject to traditional native tenures, the European conqueror usually began operations with acts of expropriation. In the Pre-War Periods the system of enclosure for the benefit of large landholders, which had run its course in Europe, and against which a European reaction was under way, was extended to Africa and Asia. When the native was crowded off his tribal land, it was necessary to induce him to return to it as a hired laborer. The two methods that were found effective were to so restrict the amount of land left to him for his own cultivation that he had to become a coolie laborer or starve, or to assess a head tax which he could not pay without working for wages on someone's plantation. From the native's standpoint it made little difference whether one or another European power claimed a certain territory; the vital question was what the European power did to native land tenure when it established its authority. The same government did not always do the same thing. In Nigeria the British [p.105] government respected the traditional native land tenures of nineteen million negroes; in South and East Africa it trod such tenures underfoot.
We are now in a position to see the whole sweep of change in the relation of man to land as it moved through the Era of Nationalism. At the beginning of this era the [p.106] land of Europe sustained not only a peasantry but a landed aristocracy as well. Whether by a simple rent structure and wage labor system as at Crawley, a complex system of dues and taxes and fees as in Western Germany, or by forced labor in the production of grain as at Kock, a surplus from the village was directed into the hands of a specific social class. The Henleys and Meylers tho collected the rents of Crawley, the Jablonowskis and the d'Anstedts who made the profits of Kock, the Leiningens who stepped into profitable lordship over Oberschefflenz, were but a few out of the thousands of upper class families whose ambitions, ideals, standards of living, family policies and fields of activity defined the character of European continental organization. Europe as such did not exist for the peasantry of Oberschefflenz and Kock, but the continent and nothing less was the geographic enclosure of the aristocracy. The aristocracy had its language -- French. The sons of the great English families had their grand tour through Europe as a part of the normal routine of education. The members of this ruling agrarian aristocracy controlled Europe from bottom to top. They dominate parish and county and district and province, in Grundherrschaft and in Gutsherrschaft, no less than in the councils of royal and princely courts. They were not only the local magnates of Europe, but the high officers of state and army. It was through them that the people at large were caught in the net of power and law relations in which the eighteenth century enmeshed all Europe.
The land problem of Europe was defined in that day by the question of how much of his surplus the European villager was willing to pay over to these people for maintaining European civilization.
Some of this aristocracy has hung on even to the second world war, in Poland, in Hungary, in England, but no longer is it more than a relic of an economic past. The management of great enterprises of manufacturing, merchandising, transportation and banking are the key positions of the contemporary world. This world reaches the village not by a rent roll, a tax list, or a bailiff to summon to forced labor, but with a world-wide market and credit mechanism that can be no less effective in squeezing the surplus out of the peasants' hands.
As in the past the peasant had demanded protection from his immediate lord, whose hunting party might tread down the grain at his very door, so now he has demanded protection from a distant competitor who is operating on the other side of the world. The world of the market is a bigger world than was the world of the gentry and aristocracy of the Old Regime.
[p.107] The village as a form of human organization, with cultivation of grain, domestication of animals, and simple arts and crafts, is at least 8,000 years old. For six thousand years villages have made terms with cities; for four thousand years they have made terms with empires; they must now make terms with the two great monsters of today, the world market and the national state.
We may now inquire -- how are people of Europe fed? And how is their food assured to them?
Three thousand calories a day will feed a people well; cut this allowance in half and malnutrition sets in; cut it somewhat below the half-way line and starvation, through disease, mows down the population. It makes a difference, moreover, what food is eaten. An unbalanced diet will result in malnutrition. In any area there are certain staple foods, such as rice in China, which provide the major requirement in calories. Whatever the staple diet may be, it is likely to be deficient in something, and the special foods that make up this deficiency are "protective foods". Protective foods round out the requirements of vitamines and mineral salts. To a meat-eating people vegetables are a protective food; to a vegetable-eating people meat is a protective food.
There is an important difference between grains and vegetable foods on the one hand, and meat and dairy products on the other, in that the latter usually require more land for their production. A bushel of grain consumed as bread will provide more food for human beings than it will provide if fed to a hog and consumed as bacon. The vegetable foods, especially grains and roots, are the cheap foods; they are called primary. The foods that have passed through animals before being ready for human consumption are the expensive foods; they are called secondary. The lordly families who enjoyed the surplus from villages through the ages have usually consumed more secondary foods. The European landed aristocracy, as long as it was dominant, reserved for itself the right to hunt game; this gave it access to a source of meat supply denied to the peasantry. One of the measures [p.108] of the standard of living in Europe is the amount of meat consumed per capita. In general, plenty of meat means a high standard of living.
Another distinction between foods is the distinction between those that can be peasant-produced and those that must be bought. Now salt and sugar both belong to the latter class; they are not peasant-produced; they are purchased in the market.
Salt has always been a necessary market purchase; it is a dietary necessity; lack of salt in a diet is a real deficiency. Even the poorest and most primitive villages have required their salt, and a salt tax has always been a device to get some of the surplus from these villages.
Now in the common furniture of a modern table, sugar and salt are regarded as comparable necessities. But in terms of nutrition sugar is merely another carbohydrate, a provider of calories. The demand for sugar is psychological, rather than physiological. If sugar becomes an important part of a habitual diet, the diet has become to that extent market-dependent. The same conditions that bring sugar into a normal diet bring tea, coffee, chocolate and other foods that cannot be home produced. Sugar is probably an indicator of a type of diet that is not satisfied with home-produced food.
From statistics on sugar consumption one can trace on a map of Europe a sugar frontier; from statistics on meat consumption a meat frontier. The two lines run close together, somewhat east of the line that once separated Gutsherrschaft from Grundherrschaft. East of the sugar frontier people consume less than thirty pounds of sugar a year; west of it they consume fifty to a hundred pounds a year. Most of the meat frontier people consume, on the average, twice or three times as much meat as they consume east of it. These frontiers separate the East Baltic countries, Poland, Russia, Romania, and Italy from France, Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, and the Scandinavian countries. The statistical services of the countries east of this line are less ample than those west, but the line seems to be a genuine dietary boundary. It corresponds, moreover, to the line separating areas in which a majority of the occupied population works at agriculture from the areas in which only a minority work at agriculture. This is the frontier between two Europes -- the richer and more industrialized and urbanized west, and the poorer and more preponderantly rural east. The western area is the part of Europe in which the population is not reproducing itself; in the Eastern area it is more than replacing itself at present birth rates.
[p.109] There is direct evidence from the areas for which good statistics are available that the western dietary zone took on its present character since the Metternich Period. In 1860 meat consumption per capita in France was fifty-six pounds; today it is seventy-two; Poland today gets along with forty; Italy with forty-eight. Per capita bread consumption in France has fallen twenty-five per cent. since 1910 - a sign in this case of a drift from the cheapest primary foods. And sugar, which was a luxury in 1869, accounts today for sixteen per cent. of the calory intake of an Englishman, and eight per cent. of the calory intake of a Frenchman or German. It is therefore a normal part of a working diet.
There have been famines in Europe in the Era of Nationalism. There was a time of dearth in 1816 and again in l846-48 in western Europe; Russia experienced eleven major famines from 1845 to 1922. The most disastrous famine in western Europe was the Irish famine of 1845-51, which resulted from a failure of the potato crop; the Russian famine of 1921 and 1932-33 resulted from a combination of three factors, a drought, a blockade of Russia, and a diminished planting due to the policies of the Revolution in Russia. Modern transportation, which has brought the world market to the village, has also made famines unnecessary.
But it can still happen that individual families or whole classes of a population may be without adequate food. The most severe incidence of such distress has come in Europe's cities, not its villages. And here new social policies have evolved, from the Bismarck Period through the Long Armistice. Through the Barbarian and Feudal Ages and into the Era of Nationalism, the village itself, together with its seigneur and the church establishments, had borne the responsibility for maintaining its poor. The emancipation of the land left this responsibility with local government, not with the owners of land as such. Local responsibility for poor relief was maintained till the Long Armistice. Then most national governments underwrote the relief liabilities of local governments. This social policy -- the policy of national social security, was more closely keyed to the requirements of urban than of rural poverty. We shall see more of its operation when we examine the history of a city.
We have now completed a brief sketch of the history of the land of Europe -- the land as it is lived on, the land as it is worked on, the land as it is possessed and loved. We have not yet explained why, as in 1939, anyone from Crawley should travel several hundred miles in order to fight with someone from Oberschefflenz about the question [p.110] of what is to happen in Kock. This explanation will be long, but we must be patient. And first we must consider the situation of those people who do not live in villages, but in cities.
If land left agrarian nobles' hands of course their role changed
The map of consumption & rural occupation -- shows there must be cities. [p.111]