Waste Lands. - Having, under various heads, in this work, had opportunities of proving the important national advantages that may be derived from a more general cultivation of the extensive heaths and commons, which lie in a state unbecoming an active and ingenious people, we are induced to avail ourselves of the remarks inserted by a judicious correspondent, in the Beth Journal, for January 25th, 1802.
If barren lands are to be cultivated only for the purpose of enlarging the estates of great landowners ; if commons are to be inclosed, only with a view to drive away into beggary those cottagers, who lived and supported their little families upon them; if improvements produce no other effect than that of diminishing the number, and swelling the wealth of farmers, and consequently of raising the price of every necessary of life, by forwarding the purposes of monoply; it were (perhaps), much better that things should remain just as they are. - If high cultivation and famine are to go hand in hand, it were better for the country to be placed in its primitive rudeness, where every man could enjoy the fruits of the earth who laboured for them, than that a half-starved multitude should have their eves dazzled with cultivated fields, and splendid domains, where " The country smiles a garden and a grave."
It is well known, that lands do not, upon the whole, yield so much food, when occupied by large as by small farmers ; and the experience of the last two years has proved, that a country may be abounding with provisions, while the prices are kept up so as to place them almost beyond the reach of the industrious poor. If a general inclosure is not followed by a general allotment of small farms, it will produce public mischief, instead of good. If the reclaiming of barren lands shall not tend to restore to their former occupations, those whom the war removed from agricultural labour, the country will be swarmed with vagrants, thieves, and robbers, instead of being blessed with plenty.