The Right of Property in Land

Detaljeret  indhold i Ogilvies essay: Birthright in Land.
Beskrivelsen af de enkelte afsnit giver et godt indblik i Ogilvies tanker.


With respect to its Foundation 
Its present Establishment 


The Regulations by which it might be rendered
more beneficial to the lower Ranks of Mankind


Section I 
Of the Right of Property in Land as derived from the Law of Nature

  1. Each individual derives from the right of general occupancy a right to an equal share of the soil
  2. This right cannot be precluded by any possession of others
  3. Nor is it tacitly renounced by those who have had no opportunity of entering upon it.
  4. The opportunity of claiming this right ought to be reserved for every citizen
  5. Rude societies have respected this right; in the progress of arts it is overlooked, and by conquests generally subverted
  6. Speculative reasoners have confounded this equal right with that which is founded in labour, and ascertained by municipal law
  7. The right of a landholder to an extensive estate must be founded chiefly in labour
  8. The progress of cultivation gives an ascendant to the right of labour over that of general occupancy
  9. But the public good requires that both should be respected and combined together
  10. Such combination is difficult, and has rarely been established for any length of time
  11. It is the proper object of Agrarian laws, and effectual means of establishing it may be devised
  12. The value of an estate in land consists of three parts — the original, the improved, and the improvable value
  13. The original and the improvable value of a great estate still belong to the community, the improved alone to the landholder
  14. The original value is the proper subject of land-taxes; the improvable value may be separated from the improved, and ought to be still open to the claims of the community 

Section II
Of the Right of Property in Land as founded on Public Utility

  1. Public happiness is the object of good government; it is not always increased by increased wealth and dominion
  2. Nor by increase of numbers
  3. The happiness of citizens bears proportion to their virtue; some situations are favourable to virtue, that of the independent cultivator more especially is so
  4. Men in that situation increase more in number
  5. And by their industry most effectually promote the real wealth of the public
  6. Comeliness and strength are the least equivocal marks of prosperity in a race of people
  7. In these respects the race of cultivators excel
  8. To increase the number of men in this situation, seems to increase public happiness
  9. The natural rights and best interests of men require the same economy of property in land
  10. Other plans for increasing happiness ought to be postponed to independent cultivation
  11. Manufactures and commerce in particular ought to be postponed to it
  12. If every field is cultivated by its proprietor, and every person who chooses it may become proprietor of a field, the highest public prosperity may be said to be obtained 

Section III
Of the Abuses and Pernicious Effects of that Exorbitant
Right of Property in Land which the Municipal
 Laws of Europe have established

  1. The actual state of Europe, with respect to property in land, the cultivation of the soil, and the prosperity of the lower ranks, is very different from what might be desired
  2. The imperfection of this state arises from that right to the improvable value of the soil which landholders possess
  3. The oppression proceeding from this right debases the spirit and corrupts the probity of the lower ranks
  4. The rent which may be taken for land ought to be submitted to regulations not less than the interest of money
  5. It is of more importance that regulations should be imposed on property in land
  6. And though difficult, not impracticable
  7. Property in land, as at present established in Europe, is a monopoly of the most pernicious kind
  8. By this monopoly, population is rendered almost stationary in Europe
  9. It checks the progress of agriculture in fertilising the earth
  10. Under its influence the increase of population tends to diminish happiness, and the celibacy of particular orders cannot be called a political evil
  11. The interest of landholders is substituted for that of the community; it ought to be the same, but is not
  12. The landholders of a nation levy the most oppressive of all taxes; they receive the most unmerited of all pensions, — if tithes are oppressive to industry, rents capable of being raised from time to time are much more so
  13. All property ought to be the reward of industry; all industry ought to be secured of its full reward; the exorbitant right: of the landholders subverts both these maxims of good policy
  14. It is the indirect influence of this monopoly which makes a poor-rate necessary; requires unnatural severity in penal laws; renders sumptuary laws unpolitical, and the improvement of machinery for facilitating labour unpopular, and perhaps pernicious
  15. While such a monopoly subsists, emigration ought to be left free, if not facilitated
  16. The oppressed state of the cultivators, being universal, has been regarded by themselves and others as necessary and irremediable
  17. A sound policy respecting property in land is perhaps the greatest improvement that can be made in human affairs
  18. It might restore a sinking state 


Section I
Of Circumstances and Occasions favourable to a complete 
Reformation of the Laws respecting Property in Land, 
by the sovereign or legislative power

  1. Reformation in this important point is not to be despaired of; the establishment of property in land has changed, and may hereafter receive other innovations
  2. Conquering princes might establish the most equitable and beneficial system in countries subdued by their arms
  3. In new colonies it ought to be established by the parent state
  4. In small dependent states the sovereign of a great nation may establish it without danger
  5. Princes of heroic minds, born to absolute monarchy, might establish a complete reformation in their whole dominions at once 

Section II
Of Circumstances and Occasions favourable to a partial 
Reformation of the Laws respecting Property in Land, 
by the sovereign or legislative power 

  1. Absolute monarchs might without difficulty establish many regulations of partial yet very extensive reformation
  2. The whole community may be disposed to adopt the most beneficial plans for public good
  3. Under cover of other regulations some changes favourable to cultivation may be introduced
  4. Certain regulations particularly require, and may justify such changes
  5. The regulation of leases is not unusual, and might be made productive of the best effects
  6. A right of redemption might be given to the cultivators of any estate exposed to sale
  7. Forfeited and escheated lands might be made the subject of beneficial establishments 

Section III
Of Circumstances which might induce the rulers of a State
to turn their wishes and endeavours towards the 
accomplishment of such a Change

  1. The collective body of the people, if at any time their power shall predominate, ought above all things to insist on a just regulation of property in land
  2. The candidates for disputed thrones might offer this reformation to the body of the people
  3. Whatever bodies of men are oppressed in other respects ought to claim this right also. It might become the ministers of religion to support it
  4. Public calamities may induce rulers of a state to think of renovating the vigour of the community by a just regulation of property in land
  5. Imminent and continual dangers may have the same effect
  6. And the accumulation of public debts ought to have it

Section IV
Of Public Institutions calculated for promoting a gradual
and salutary Change in the state of Property in Land

  1. A board instituted for that purpose might promote the independence of cultivation by calm and silent operations
  2. Premiums might produce some effect, as in affairs of inferior importance 

Section V
Of such examples and beginnings of reformation as might
be expected from the generous efforts of private persons
acting singly 

  1. In the management of a great estate, various measures favourable to independent cultivation might be very prudently introduced
  2. And in the settlement of an entail on liberal principles
  3. Some examples and beginnings may be obtained by charitable bequests and foundations
  4. And by the liberality of opulent individuals 

Section VI
Of such examples and beginnings of reformation as might 
be produced by the combined endeavours of
 private persons

  1. The joint contribution of many might effect what individuals cannot attempt
  2. The attentions of societies for the encouragement of agriculture might be extended to this, the most effectual encouragement of all 

Section VII
Of a progressive Agrarian law, which might be made the 
basis of all partial and occasional reformation 
respecting property in land
 Scheme of a progressive Agrarian law, exhibited in detail

Peculiar advantages of such a scheme

Variations by which it might be accommodated to the interests of various orders

Modifications more particularly adapted to different countries

The inconveniences that cannot be separated from such innovations would be more than compensated by probable advantages