Evolution of Property According To Paul Lafargue
"The Evolution of Property. Social & Philosophical Studies. Paul Lafargue
2. "...the term capital, in the modern sense, dates no further back than the 18th century. This is the case also with the word philanthropy (the humanitarian hypocrisy proper to the capitalistic regime). And it was in the 18th century that capitalist property began to assert itself, and to acquire a preponderating influence in society. This social predominance of capital led to the French Revolution, which although one of the most considerable events of modern history, was, afer all, but a bourgeois revolution accomplished with those catchwords of libert, fraternity, equality, justice and patriotism which the bourgeoisie were, later on, to employ in puffing their political and financial enterprises."
In 'Dictionnaire de Mots Nouveaux' (1802) Sebastien Mercier inserted the word 'capitaliste'. Capitaliste': this word is well nigh unknown out of Paris. It designates a monster of wealth, a man who has a heart of iron, and no affections save metallic ones. Talk to him of the land tax - and he laughs at you; he does not own an inch of land, how should you tax him? Like the Arabs of the desert who have plundered a caravan, and who bury their gold out of fear of other brigands, the capitalists have hidden away our money.'
"The term capital, though of Latin origin, has no equivalent in the Greek and Latin tongues. The non-existence of the word in two such rich languages affords a proof that capitalist property did not exist in ancient times, at least not as an economical and social phenomenon.
The form of property which corresponds to the term capital was developed and acquired social importance only after the establishment of commercial production which crowned the economical and political movement agitating Europe after the 12th century. This commercial production was stimulated by the discovery of America and the route to India by the Cape of Good Hope, by the importation of precious metals from America, the taking of Constantinople, the invention of printing, the family alliances among the sovereigns of Europe, and the organization of the great feudal states, with the relative and general pacification which resulted therefrom. All these and other collateral causes co-operated to create a rapid development of capital, the most perfect of all forms of private property, and, it may be averred, the last. The comparatively recent appearance of capital is the best proof adducible that property is not immutable and always the same, but that, on the contrary, it, like all material and intellectual phenomena, incessantly evolves and passes through a series of forms which differ, but are derived, from one another."
"'(a). Property of personal appropriation begins with the food one eats, and extends to the articles of clothing and objects of luxury (rings, jewels, ect), with which one covers and decks oneself. Time was when the house, too, was included in this branch of personal property; a man possessed his dwelling, a marble palace or a hut of straw, like the tortoise his shell. If by the application of machinery to industry, civilisation has placed numberless objects of luxury within the reach of the poor which hitherto have been purchasable by the rich alone, it has on the other hand deprived the bulk of the nation of their dwelling-houses. It constrains them to live in hired apartments and furnished lodging; and in the midst of unprecedented wealth it has reduced the producer to a strict minimum of property of personal appropriation."
8. Vico, considered 'the father of the philosophy of history'. In 'Scienza Nouva', 'an ideal, eternal history, in accordance with which are successively developed the histories of all nations, from what state so ever of savagery, ferocity, or barbarism men progress towards domenstication.'
9. "...by gleaning facts in all parts of the globe, and by co-ordinating them into a logical series, we may succeed in following the different phases of the evolution of property."
10. Chapter 2. Primitive Communism
"The savage never reveals his name to a stranger; it is a precious thing of which he will make a present to a friend; so completely is his name identified with his person, that after his death his tribe ceases to pronouce it."
11. "Eskimo afte buying any article, if but a needle, immediately applies it to his mouth, or he will consecrate the object by a symbolical act, significative of his intention to keep the same for his personal use: this is the origin of 'taboo'."
"Manufactured articles are, in like manner, owned only if they have been appropriated; thus, an Eskimo cannot possess more than two canoes; the third is at the disposal of the clan: whatsoever the proprietor does not use is considered as property without an owner. A savage never holds himself responsible for the loss of a canoe or any other borrowed implement for hunting or fishing, and never dreams of restoring it."
"If the savage is incapable of conceiving the idea of individual possession of objects not incorporated with his person, it is because he has no conception of his individuality as distinct from the consanguine group in which he lives."
"To expel a savage from his clan, his horde, is tantamount to condemning him to death; among the pre-historic Greeks, as among all barbarians, a murder intentional or by accident of one of the members of the clan was punished by exile." "To be divided from his companions, to live alone, seemed a fearful thing to primeval man, accustomed to live in troops."
12. "...individuality does not make itself felt either in the family or in property
The clan was all in all; the clan was the family; it was the clan that married; it was the clan, again, that was the owner of property. In the clan all things are in common: the bushman of Africa who receives a present divides it among all the members of his horde; when he has captured an animal or found any object he shares his booty with his comrades, frequently reserving for himself the smallest portion. In times of famine, the young Fuegians explore the coast, and if they chance to light upon any cetaceous animal (a favourite dainty) they hasten, before touching it, to inform their comrades of their find. These at once hurry to the spot; whereupon the oldest member of the party proceeds to portion out equal shares to all."
"According to Martius, the Botocudos, those dauntless tribes of Brazil, organize their hunt in concert and never abandon the spot on which an animal has been captured until they have devoured it. The same fact is reported in the Dakotas and Australians."
13. "The Blackfeet, during the buffalo hunt, follow the herd on horseback, in large parties, composed of men, women, and children."
"When the savage ceases to lead a nomadic existence, and when he settles and builds himself a dwellinghouse, the house is not a private but a common one, even after the family has begun to assume a matriarchal form. The communal houses resemble those that La Perouse discovered in Polynesia; they are 10 feet high, 110 feet in length, and 10 feet in width, having the shape of an inverted pirogue; the enterance was by doors situated at both extremities, and they afforded shelter for a clan of upwards of 100 persons. The 'long houses' of the Iroquois, which, according to [Lewis] Morgan [in 'Houses and House Life of the American Aborigines (1881)] disappeared before the commencement of the present century, were 100 feet long by 30 broad, and 20 feet in height; they were traversed by a longitudinal passage having an opening at both ends; into this passage, like the alveoles of a hive, opened a series of small rooms, 7 feet in width, in which dwelt the married women of the clan. Each habitation bore the totem of the clan."
14. "The houses of the Dyaks of Borneo are similar, with the difference hat they are raised from 15 to 20 feet from the ground and posts of hard timber; they recall the lake cities, built upon piles, discovered in the Swiss lakes. Herodotus says that the Paeonians dwelt in houses of this description in Lake Prasias (V., sec 16). The 'casas grandes' of the Redskins of Mexico presented the appearance of an enormous stairway, with super-imposed storeys, sub-divided into cells for the married people: not improbably it is in such like communist dwellings that the prehistoric Geeks lived, as may be inferred from the palace brought to light in Argolis by the excavations of Dr Schliemann. In these communist dwelling-houses the provisions are in common and the repasts are common."
"The Iroquois [according to Morgan] who formed a household, cultivated gardens, gathered harvest, and stored it in their dwellings as a common store. There was more or less of individual ownership of the products and of their possession by different families. For example, the corn, after stripping back the husk, was braided by the husk in bunches and hung up in different apartments; but when one family had exhausted its supply, their wants were supplied by other families so long as any remained; each hunting or fishing party made a common stock of the capture, of which the surplus on their return was divided among the several families of each household, and, have been cured, were kept for winter use. In these Indian villages we not the singular phenomenon of individual ownership combined with common usage."
Heckewelder. 'History.Manners and Customs of Indian Nations who once inhabited Pennsylvania and the Neighbouring States. (1876P. Lived among the American Indians for fifteen years from 1771 to 1786, and was conversant with their language.
15. "The Indians of Laguna village (New Mexico) had common stores. 'Their women, generally, have the control of the granary,' wrote the Rev. Sam Gorman to Morgan in 1869, 'and they are more provident than their Spanish neighbours about the future; they try to have a year's provision on hand. It is only when two years of scarcity succeed each other that Pueblos, as a community, suffer hunger."
Iroquois. Food preparation. "A matron made the division from the kettle to each family according to their needs; it was served warm to each person in earthern or wooden bowls. They had neither tables, chairs, nor plates, in our sense, nor any room in the nature of a kichen or a dining-room, but age each by himself, sitting or standing where was most convenient to the person, the men eating first and by themselves, and the women and children afterwards and by themselves. That which remained was reserved for any member of the household when hungry. Towards evening the women cooked 'hominy', the maize having been pounded into bits the size of a grain of rice, which was boiled and put aside to be used cold as a lunch in the morning and evening and for entertainment of visitors; they had neither formal breakfast nor supper; each person, when hungry, ate whatever food the house contained. They were moderate eaters. This, adds Morgan, is a fair picture of Indian life in general in America, when discovered."
17. "When a common dwelling house, sheltering an entire clan, came to be sub-divided into private houses, containing a single family, the repasts ceased to be held in common, save on occasions of religious and national solemnities, such as the Greek syssities, which were celebrated in order to preserve the memory of the past; the provisions, although individually possessed by each private family, continue, practically, at the disposal of the members of the tribe. 'Every man, woman, or child, in Indian communities,' says Catlin, 'is allowed to enter anyone's lodge, and even that of the chief of the nation, and eat when they are hungry. Even so can the poorest and most worthless drone of the nation; if he is too lazy to supply himself or to hunt, he can walk into any lodge, and everyone will share with him as long as there is anything to eat." Those who beg, however, are stigmatized.
"In the Caroline Isles, when an indigene sets out on a journey, he carries with him no provisions. When he is hungry he enters a lodge without any kind of ceremony, and without waiting for permission he plunges his hand into the tub containing the 'popoi' (a paste of the fruit of the bread tree) and when his hunger is satisfied he departs without so much as thanking anybody. He has exercised a right."
18. "Plutarch says that Lycurgus, the mythical personage to whom Spartans refer to all their institutions, forbade the closing of the house doors in order that everybody might walk in and help himself to the food and utensils he wanted, even in the absense of the owner: a citizen of Sparta was entitled, without permission, to ride the horses, use the dogs, and even dispose of the slaves of any other Spartan."
The Great Spirit. "'The Indians,' says Heckewelder, 'think that the Great Spirit has made the earth, and all that it contains, for the common good of mankind; when he stocked the country and gave them plenty of game, it was not for the good of a few, but of all. Everything is given in common to the sons of men. Whatever liveth on the land, whatever groweth out of the earth, and all that is in the rivers and waters, was given jointly to all, and everyone is entitled to his share. Hospitality with them is not a virtue, but a strict duty . . . They would lie down on an empty stomach rather than have it laid to their charge that they had neglected their duty by not satisfying the wants of the stranger, the sick, or the needy . . . because they have a common right to be helped out of the common stock; for if the meat they have been served with was taken from the wood, it was common to all before the hunter took it; if corn and vegetables, it had grown out of the common ground, yet not by the power of man, but by that of the Great Spirit.'
19. " 'If a man entered an Iroquois house,' says Morgan, 'whether a villager, a tribesman, or a stranger, and at whatever hour of the day, it was the duty of the women of the house to set food before him. An omission to do this would have been a discourtesy amounting to an affront. If hungry, he eats, if not hungry, courtesy required he should taste the food and thank the giver.' "
"A guest was held sacred, even though an enemy. Tacitus describes the same usages among the barbarian Germans who invaded the Roman Empire. 'No people,' he says, 'are more addicted to social entertainments, or more liberal in the exercise of hospitality. To refuse any person whatever admittance under their roof is accounted flagitious. Everyone according to his ability feasts his guest; when his provisions are exhausted, he who was late the host is now the guide and companion to another hospitable board. They enter the next house, and are received with equal cordiality. No one makes a distinction with respect to the rights of hospitality between a stranger and an acquaintance.' "
"Tacitus held up the barbarian Germans as an example to his civilized compatriots." Catlin, who lived among the tribes of North America between 1832-1839 writes, 'Morality and virtue, I venture to say, the civilized world need not undertake to teach them.'
20. "Lahontan, says: 'Savages do not distinguish between 'mine' and 'thine', for it may be affirmed that what belongs to the one belongs to the other. It is only among the Christian savages who dwell at the gates of our cities that money is in use. The others will neither handle it nor even look upon it. They call it: 'the serpent of the white men'. They think it strange that some should possess more than others, and that those who have most should be more highly esteemed than those who have least. They neither quarrel nor fight among themselves; they neither rob nor speak ill of one another.' " [2. Voyage de Lahontan. II.]
20. According to Morgan, nomadic people remain so in groups of 30 or 40, and probably followed sea shores and rivers.
21. Tribal Common Land. "I know not with what accuracy, that each savage, for his subsistence, requires three square miles of land. Hence, when a country begins to be populous, it becomes necessary to divide the land among the tribes. "
"The earliest distribution of the land was into pasture and territories of chase common to the tribe..."
In Leviticus xxv., 23, 'The land shall not be sold for ever, for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.'
"Mankind underwent a long and painful process of development before arriving at private property in land.
Among the Fuegians vast tracts of unoccupied land circumscribe the territories of chase belonging to the tribe. Caesar relates that the Suevi and Germans founded their pride upon having vast solitudes round their frontiers. ('De Bello Gallico iv., 3.) Savage and barbarian peoples limit their territories by neutral zones, because an alien found upon the lands of any tribe is hunted like a wild beast, and mutilated or put to death if taken. Heckewelder reports that the Redskins cut off the noses and ears of every individual found on their territory, and sent him back to inform his chief that on the next occasion they would scalp him. The feudal saying, 'Qui terre a, guerra a', held good in primitive times; the violations of the territories of chase are among the chief causes of dispute and warfare between neighbouring tribes. The unoccupied areas, established to prevent incursions, came, at a later period, to serve as market places where the tribes met to exchange their belongings.
22. Birth of Property & Markets "Harold, in 1063, defeated the Cambrians, who made perpetual inroads on the territories of the Saxons; he made a covenant with them that every man of their nation found in arms east of the entrenchment of Offa should have his right hand cut off. The Saxons, on their side, raised parallel trenches, and the space enclosed by the two walls became neutral ground for the merchants of both nations."
Separation of sexes among tribes.
Sex relations. "Anthropologists have noted with a feeling of surprise that the sexes among savage people are isolated and live apart; there is reason for supposing that this separation of the sexes was introduced when it was sought to put a stop to the primitive promiscuity and prevent the sexual intercourse that was the rule between brother and sister. This separation of the sexes within the limits of the tribe, necessary in the interests of morality, was upheld and promoted by a differentiation of pursuits and by property. The man is habitually charged with the defence and the procuring of food, while on the woman devolves the culinary preparation of the food, the fabrication of the clothes or household utensils, and the management of the house once it has sprung into existence. [1. 'A man,' said a Kurnai to Fison, 'hunts, fishes, fights, and sits down,' meaning that all besides is the business of the women.] It is, as Marx observes, the division of labour which begins and which is based on sex: property, in its origin, was confined to a single sex.
The man is a hunter and a warrior; he possesses the horses and arms; to the woman belong the household utensils and other objects appropriate to her pursuits; these belonging she is obliged to transport on her head or back, in the same way that she carries her child, which belongs to her and not to the father, generally unknown."
Agriculture and Sex Relations. "The introduction of agriculture enhanced the separation of the sexes, while it was detrminant cause of the parcelling of the lands, the common property of the tribe. The man continues a warrior and a hunter; he resigns to his wife the labour of the fields consenting, on occasion, to assist at harvest time; among pastoral peoples he reserves to himself the care of the flocks and herds, which comes to be looked on as a nobler pursuit than agriculture; it is, in truth, the less arduous of the two. The Kaffirs consider the tending of the herds to be an aristocratic occupation; they call the cow the 'black pearl'. The earliest laws of the Aryans forbade agriculture, thought degrading, to the two highest classes, the Brahmins and the Kshattryas, or warriors.
23. Early nations allotted land to women, as they cultivated it. "In all societies in which the matriarchal form of the family has maintained itself, we find landed property held by the woman; such was the case among the Egyptians, the Nairs, the Touaregs of the African desert, and the Basques of the Pyrenees; in the time of Aristotle two-thirds of the territory of Sparta belonged to the women.
Landed property, which was ultimately to constitute for its owners a means of emancipation and of social supremacy, was, at its origin, a cause of subjection; the woemn were condemned to the rude labour of the fields, from which they were emancipated only by the introduction of servile labour.
Agriculture, which led to private property in land, introduced the servile labour, which in the course of centuries has borne the names of slave-labour, bond-labour, and wage-labour."
Communal agriculture. "So long as primitive communism subsists, the tribal lands are cultivated in common. 'In certain parts of India', says Nearchus one of Alexander's generals, and eye-witness of events that took place in the 4th century, BC, 'the lands were cultivated in common by tribes or groups of relatives, who at the end of the year shared among themselves the fruits and crops.' [2. Nearchus apud Strabo, lib xv.]
Stephen cites a settlement of Maya Indians composed of 100 labourers, 'in which the land are held and wrought in common and products shared by all'. [3. Stephen. 'Incidents of a travel in Yucatan, II.]
From Tao, an Indian village of New Mexico, Mr. Miller, in Dec. 1877, wrote to Morgan: 'There is a cornfield at each pueblo, cultivated by all in common, and when the grain is scarce the poor take from this store after it is housed, and it is in the charge and at the disposal of the Cacique, called the Governor.' "
25. Piracy. "Caesar shows us how the Germans set out annually on predatory expeditions; the booty was, probably, divided among all the warriors, including those who had remained at home to perform the agricultural labour of the community. The Greeks of prehistoric times, also, were audacious pirates, who scoured the Mediterranean and fled with their booty to their citadels, perched on the tops of promontories like eagles' nests, and as inexpungnable as the round towers of the Scandinavians, built in the midst of the waters. A precious fragment of a Greek song, the Skolion of Hybrias, presents us with a picture of the heroic lives of the Greeks. The hero says:-'I have for riches a great lance, and my sword, and my bucker, the rampart of my body; with these I till the ground and reap the harvest and vintage the sweet juice of the grapse; thanks to these I am styled the master of the 'mnoia' (the slaves of the community). Let those who dare not bear the lance and the buckler kneel to me as to a master and call me the great king.' Piracy is the favourite prusuit of prehistoric times. Nestor inquires of Telemachus, his guest, if he is a pirate (Odyssey III). Solon maintained a college of pirates at Athens (Institutes of Gaius), the Thucydides states that in ancient times piracy was honourable (I, sec. 5)."
Crete was one of the first islands colonized by Greek pirates. "The Greek cities maintained, besides a public domain, public slaves, [supervised by women] and upheld common repasts similar to those described by Heraclides. [1. The Greek slaves were divided into two classes, the public slaves (Koine douleia) belonging to the state, and the slaves belonging to private individuals, called 'Klerotes', i.e., adjudged by lot. Athens possessed a number of public slaves, who did not cultivate the soil but discharged the functions of executioner, police agents, and inferior employees of the administration.]"
Slaves/Serfs in Common. "Mr Hodgson, in 1830, described a village, thirty miles north-west of Madras, the inhabitants of which were assisted in their agricultural operations by slaves who were common property; for they were transferred with the other privileges of the village occupants when those privileges were sold or mortgaged. The mediaeval towns and even villages had serfs in common. [1. Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1830, vol. ii.]
26. Final paragraph. "Thus we see that everywhere property in land and its produce, in domestic animals, serfs and slaves, was primarily property common to all the members of the clan. Communism was the cradle of humanity; the work of civilization has been to destroy this primitive communism, of which the last vestiges that remain, in defiance of the rapacity of the aristocrat and the bourgeois, are the communal lands. But the work of civilization is twofold; while on the one hand it destroys, on the other hand it reconstructs; while it broke into pieces the communist mould of primitive humanity, it was building up the elements of a higher and more complex form of communism. I am here concerned to trace out civilization on its double movement of destruction and reconstruction."
27. Chapter 3. Family or Consanguine Collectivism
"THE common tribal property began to break up as the family was being consituted."
30. "...I would lay stress upon this point, to wit, that the family, wherever or however constituted, whether affecting the matriarchal or patriarchal form, invariably breaks up the communism of the clan or tribe. At first the clan wasa the common family of all its members; afterwards there came to exist private families, having interests distinct from those of the clan considered as an aggregate of a number of families; the communal territory of the tribe was then parcelled out so as to form the 'collective property' of each family."
31. Early European Villages. "The arable lands, hitherto cultivated in common by the entire clan, are divided into parcels of different categories, according to the quality of the soil; the parcels of different categories, according to the quality of the soil; the parcels are formed into lots, in such wise that each lot contains an equal proportion of the different descriptions of soil; the number of lots corresponds to that of the families. A portion of the land is reserved in view of a possible increase of the population; it is let on lease or cultivated in common. To preclude injustice or grounds for complaint the shares were drawn by lot; hence, in Greek and Latin, the word which designate lot (sors, cleros) signify also goods and patrimony.
If, when a family had complained of unfairness, they proved, on inquiry, that their complaint was justified, satisfaction was granted them by an additional allotment out of the reserve lands. The inquirers who have had opportunities of observing the way in which these partitions of the land are practised, have been struck by the spirit of equality which presides over them, and by the ability of the peasant land surveyors. Haxthausen relates how 'Count de Kinsleff, the minister of the imperial domains, had in several localities of the government of Woronieje caused the land to be valued and surveyed by land taxers and land surveyors. The results went to show that the measurements of the peasants were in all respects, save for a few minor discrepancies, in perfect consonance with the truth. Besides, who knows which of the two was the more accurate?'
The pasture lands, forests, lakes, and ponds, the right of hunting and fishing, and other rights, such as the imposts raised on the caravans, ect., are the joint property of all the members of the clan.
The allotments are cultivated by each family under the direction of its chief and the supervision of the village council; the crops are the property of the family collectively, instead of belonging, as at an earlier period, to the tribe or clan. A family is not allowed to cultivate their lot at pleasure, says Marshall. 'They must sow their fields with the same grain as that of the other families of the community.'[1. Marshal. 'Elementary and Practical Treatise on Landed Property'. London. 1804.]
The system of cultivation is a triennial rotation (1) corn or rye, (2) spring crops (barley, oats, beans, peas, ect.), (3) fallow. Not only the kind of seed to sow, but also the seed and harvest times, are prescribed by the communal council. Sir G. Campbell informs us that every Indian village possesses its calendar-Brahmin, or astrologist, whose business it is to indicate the propitious seasons for seed time and harvest."
33. Scandinavian countries. "Russia. [according to Sprungli de Neuenegg] 'On an appointed evening,' he says, 'the entire commune repairs to the communal meadows, every commoner choosing his own ground, and when the signal is given at midnight, from top of the hill downwards, every man mows down the grass which stands before him in a straight line, and all that which he has cut till noon of the next day belongs to him. The grass which remains standing after the operation is trodden down and browsed by the cattle which are turned on to it.'
The crops once got in, the lands allotted to the different families become common property again, and the villagers are free to send their cattle to de-pasture them.
Originally, the fathers of the families belonging to the clan, were alone entitled to a share of these allotments. It is only at a later period that the stranger settlers, having obtained the freedom of the city after a term of residence, were admitted to the partition of the land. Landed property belonged to the fathers, whence 'partria', fatherland; in the Scandinavian laws, 'house' and 'fatherland' were synonyms. At that time a man possessed a 'patria' and political rights only if he had a right to a share in the land. As a consequence, the fathers and males of the family alone were charged with the country's defence; they alone were privileged to bear arms. The progress of capitalism consists in confiding the defence of the country to those who do not possess an inch of land - who have no stake in the country - and to accord political rights to men who have no property.
Private property in land does not as yet obtain, because the land belongs to the entire village, and only the temporary usage of it is granted, on condition that it shall be cultivated according to the established customs, and under the supervision of the village elders charged with watching over the maintenance of those customs. The house alone, with its small enclosure, is the private property of the family; among some peoples, e.g. the Neo-Caledonians, the tenement was burnt on the death of the chief of the family, as well as his arms, his favourite animals, and, occasionally, his slaves. According to all appearance, the house for a long time was distinguished from the land, as a movable; it is so qualified in many customaries of France; in that of Lille, among others."
34. Man as King of the Household. "The house is inviolable; nobody has a 'right to enter it without the master's consent'. The justice of the country was suspended at the threshold; if a criminal had penetrated into the house, nay, if he had but touched the door-latch, he was secure from public prosecution and amenable only to the authority of the father of the family, who exercised the legislative and executive power within the precincts of the house. In 186 B.C., the Roman Senate, having constituting a part of the household, were answerable only to the master of it. To such extremes was this inviolability pushed in Rome that a father could not invoke the assistance of the magistrates or public force in case of his son's resistance. In the Middle Ages this sanctity of the domicile still existed; at Mulhouse, for example, a burgher shut up in his house ceased to be amenable to the justice of the town; the court was bound to transport itself to his house door in order to judge him, and it was open to him to reply to the questions put to him from the window. The right of asylum possessed by the Church was merely a transformation of this sanctity of the house; as we shall see hereafter, the Church was but a sort of communal house."
34. Village boundary. "It has been shown that the tribal territories were surrounded by a strip of uncultivated land, which served to mark the boundaries of other neighbouring tribes; in like manner the family dwelling is surrounded by a piece of unoccupied land in order to render it independent of the adjacent dwelling-houses; this was the sole land which, subsequently, it was permitted to enclose with palisades, walls, or hedges. In the barbarian codes it is known by the name of legal, legitimate court (curtis legalis, hobo legitima); in this spot was placed the family tomb. So indispensable was this insulation held to be the Roman law of the Twelve Tables fixed the space to intervene the town houses at two-and-a-half feet.
It was not the houses only, but also the family allotments of land which were isolated, so that the fear of fire could not have suggested the measure. [as Tacitus and others assumed] A law of the Twelve Tables regulates that a strip of land, five feet in width, be left uncultivated.
35. Locke, 'Where there is no property there is no injustice.' 'For the idea of property being the right to anything, and the idea to which the name injustice is given being the invasion or violation of that right.' [2. Locke's 'Essay on Human Understanding'. Book IV. chap. iii, sec. 18.]
Religion used to ritualise property. "Religious rites and ceremonies were instituted to impress upon the superstitious minds of primitive people the respect due to this private propety of the family collectivit, so greatly opposed to their communistic usages. In Greece and Italy, on appointed days of the month and year, the chief of the family walked round his fields, along the uncultivated boundary, pushing the victims before him, singing hymns, and offering up sacrifices to the posts or stones, the metes and bounds of the fields, which were converted into divinities - they were the Termini of the Romans, the divine bournes' of the Greeks. The cultivator was not to approach the landmark, 'lest the divinity, on feeling himself struck by the ploughshare, should cry out to him, "Stop, this is my field, yonder is thine."' The Bible abounds in recommendations to respect the fields of one's neighbour: 'Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark.' (Deut. xix, 14.) 'Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour's landmark.' Job, who has the soul of a landlord, numbers among the wickedest the man 'who removes the landmarks.' (Job xxiv.)"
36. "Catlin, who knew the savages of America well, states that a Sioux chief had expressed his surprise to him at having seen 'along the frontier white men whip their children; a thing that is very cruel.'
The worst crime that a barbarian can commit is to shed the blood of his clan; if he kills one of its members the entire clan must rise up to take vengeance on him."
37. Punishment of Theft. " 'Whosoever,' decrees the law of the Twelve Tables, 'shall in the night furtively have cut, or caused to graze on, the crops yielded by the plough, shall, if he has reached puberty, be devoted to Ceres and put to death; if he has not arrived at puberty he shall be beaten with rods at the will of the magistrate and condemned to repair the damage doubly. The manifest thief (i.e., taken in the act), if a freeman, shall be scourged with rods and delivered up to slavery. The incendiary of a corn-stack shall be whipped and put to death by fire.' (Table VIII, secs. 9, 10, 14.) The Saxons punished theft with death. The Burgundian law surpassed the Roman law in cruelty; it condemned to slavery the wives and children under 14 years of age who had not denounced their husbands and fathers guilty of stealing a horse or an ox. (XLVII, secs. 1, 2.) Property introduced the common informer into the family."
38. "...justice and our odious criminal codes followed in the wake of collective property and are an outgrowth of it.
Collective property, if not the sole cause, was, at all events, the pre-eminent cause of the overthrow of the matriarchate by the patriarchate.
39. Land distribution in Russia. "The quantity of land distributed was generally proportionate to the number of males in the family; the father, with a view to the procuring of servants to cultivate it, married his sons while still in infancy to adult women, who became his concubines. Hathausen relates that in Russia one could see tall and robust young women carrying their little husbands in their arms."
Village as Petty State. "Where collective property exists, every village is a petty state, the government whereof is constituted by theh council elected in the assembly of the family-chiefs, co-equals in rights and privileges. In India, where the collective form of property was highly developed, the village had its public officers, who were artisans (wheelwrights, tailors, weavers, ect.), schoolmasters, priests, and dancing women for public ceremonies; they were paid by the village community, and owed their services to the members having ancestral shares in the land, but not to stranger settlers. In the Greek republics the state maintained public prostitutes for the use of the males of the patrician families. Sir G. Cambell states, among other curious facts, that the smiths, and the artisans generally, were more highly remunerated in the Indian villages than the priest."
Village Commerce. "The head man of the village, elected for his ability, his learning, and powers as a sorcerer, is the administrator of the property of the community; he alone is privileged to carry on commerce with the exterior, that is, to sell the surplus of the crops and cattle, and to buy such objects as are not manufactured in the village. As Haxthausen observes: 'Commerce is only carried on wholesale, which is of great advantage to the peasant, who, left to himself, is often under the necessity of selling his products below their real value, and at unfavourable moments. As commerce is in the hands of the chief, the latte ris able from his connections with the chiefs of the neighbouring villages to wait for a rise in prices, and take advantage of all favourable circumstances before concluding a sale.' All those who are familiar with the deceptions practised upon peasants by merchants will appreciate the justness of the observation of Haxthausen. The French bourgeois, who pounced upon Algiers and Tunis as on a prey, expressed great moral indignation at being prevented from entering itno communication with the Arabs individually, and obliged to treat with the chiefs of the community; they loudly and pathetically bewailed the unhappy lot of the wretched Arabs bereft of the liberty of allowing themselves to be fleeced by the European merchants!
Petty societies, organized on the basis of collective property, are endowed with a vitality and power of resistance possessed by no other social form in an equal degree.
'The village communites are little republics, having nearly everything that they want within themselves and almost independent of any foreign relations,; says Lord Metcalfe. 'They seem to last where nothing else lasts. Dynasty after dynasty tumbles down, revolution succeeds to revolution; Hindu, Pagan, Mogul, Mahratta, Sikh, English are all masters in turn; but the village communities remain the same. in time of trouble they arm and fortify themselves; a hostile army passes through the country, the village communities collect their cattle within their walls and let the enemy pass unmolested. if plunder and devastation be directed against themselves, and the force employed be irresistible, they flee to friendly villages at a distance; but when the storm has passed over they return and resume their occupations. If a country remains for a series of years the scene of continued pillage and massacre, so that the village cannot be inhabited, the scattered villagers nevertheless return whenever the power of peaceable possession revives. A generation may pass away, but the succeeding generation will return. The sons will take the places of their fathers, the same site for the village, the same positions for their houses; the same lands will be re-occupied by the descendants . . . It is not a trifling matter that will turn them out, for they will often maintain their posts throughout times of disturbance and convulsions, and acquire a strength sufficient to resist pillage and oppression with success. Further on he adds: 'The village constitution which can survive all outward shock is, I suspect, easily subverted with the aid of our regulations and Courts of Justice by any internal disturbance; litigation, above all things, I should think would tend to destroy it.'
41. "Bourgeois exploitation cannot tolerate, alongside of it, the collective form of property, which it destroys and replaces by private property, the adequate form of bourgeois property. What has taken place in India and Algeria has occured in France. The village collectivities that had lasted throughout the entire feudal period, and survived til 1789, were disorganized by the dissolvent act of the laws during and after the bourgeois revolution. The great revolutionary jruist, Merlin 'suspect' (so called because he had been the proposer of the sanguinary 'loi des suspects'), did more towards bringing about the destruction and confiscation of the communal lands of the village collectivities than the feudal lords had done in the course of centuries."
42. "As the collectivist village forms a number of administrative units represented by the chief who directs it and trafficks in its name, the Government makes the latter responsible for the levying of the taxes and the recruiting of the militia, and charges him with additional functions which are not remunerated. In Russa the Imperial Government lends its weight to the decisions of the communal council, incorporating into the army, and even despatching to Siberia, all those whose conduct is not approved of by the elders. In France, the monarchy anterior to 1789 exerted itself to uphold these peasant collectivist organizations, assailed on the one hand by the feudal lords, who brutally despoiled them of their communal possessions and privileges, and on the ther by the bourgeoise, who seized upon their lands by every means."
Early feudalism. "The feudal lords encouraged the organization of the peasants into family collectivities. Dalloz mentions a contract of the 17th century in which a lord causes his lands to be cultivated by 'metayers', on condition that the peasants shall have 'in common, fire and food and live in perpetual community.' A legist of the 18th century, Dunod, furnishes us with the reason which led to the community of the cultivators: It is that 'the seignorial domains are better cultivated, and the subjects better able to pay the tributes due to the lord when living in common than when forming separate households.' "
43. "Private property, which was to succeed collective property grew out of it. The house and garden enclosed by walls and palisades were the private property, absolute and inalienable, of the family; no public authority had the right to trench on it. In the interior of the house the different members, not omitting the slaves, possessed a 'peculium', some private property independent of that of the family; this individual property, acquired by the personal toil of its owner, was often consideralbe; it consisted of slaves, cattle and movables of various kinds. The right to a 'peculium' was acquired slowly; in the beginning no one member of the family could possess aught in severalty; all that he acquired reverted of right to the community."
44. The breakdown of collective property by marriage by leaving shared housing, surfacing personal property. "The arable and pasture lands of which the family had but the usufruct became ultimately their private property, and when the family was broken up, 'i.e.,' when every male upon marrying quitted the collective dwelling for a house of his own, landed property shared the fate of personal property - it was divided amongst the children and was held in severalty."
Village permanence. "Villages founded on collective property form economic units; that is to say that they contain all they require for the intellectual and material wants of their inhabitants, and that contrariwise, they comprise few elements capable of determining change; here all things are accomplished in accordance with traditions prescribed by the elders, and handed down like precious heirlooms. In effect, once a village has arrived at such a degree of industrial and agricultural development as to be capable of satisfying the natural and simple wants of the villagers, it would seem that it no longer finds within itself any cause for change; an impulse from without is required to set it in motion."
45. Breakup of Collective Property by Population Expansion and Newcomers. "In the villages in which collective property obtains all the chiefs of families are co-equals; they all possess an equal right to share in the allotment of the lands, because all originally belonged to the same clan; the strangers who have come to reside there as artificers, fugitives, or prisoners of war, are entitled, after having obtained the freedom of the city, which corresponds to the ancient adoption by the clan, to share in the territorial partition equally with the original inhabitants. This admission of strangers was feasible only so long as the villages grew slowly and as the land to be disposed of remained abundant: the populous villages were forced to disseminate, to send forth colonies and to clear the neighbouring forests. Every family was free, indeed, to make clearances outside a given limit and during a stated period, and was held to have a possessory right in the lands which it had brought under culture. But this abundance of uncultivated land began to fail in the villages situated near the sea shore or by the riverside, which, owing to their more favoured position, attracted a larger number of strangers. Into these villages, which grew into small towns, it became difficult to gain admission, and for a right of sojourn certain fees were levied. [1. 'Histoire des biens Communaux jusqu'au XIII. siecle. 1856.]
The newcomers were excluded from the territorial partitions, from the right of common pasture, and from the administration of the towns; these rights were strictly limited to the original families, who constituted a privileged body, a sort of communal aristocracy, to wit, the municipal aristocracy, opposed alike to the feudal or warlike aristocracy and to the alien artificers. The latter, in order to resist the continual aggressions of the communal aristocracy, formed trade corporations. This division of the members of the city was throughout the Middle Ages a constant source of intestine warfare."
46. "Everywhere the monopolizers of land have been loaded with maledictions; in Russia they are called the community-eaters; in Java it is forbidden to claim more than one inheritance. Isaiah exclaims: 'Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth.' (v. 8.)"
The State, Tax, and the Usurers. "At the outset the taxes were paid in kind and proportionally to the nature of the harvest; but this mode of payment no longer answers the claims of a government which becomes centralized; it exacts money payment of the taxes in advance, taking no account of the state of the crops. The villagers, as a consequence, are constrained to apply to the usurers, those pests of the village; this vile brood, who are countenanced by the government, rob the peasant shamelessly; they transform him into a nominal proprietor, who tills his fields with no other object than to pay off his debts, which increase in proportion as he discharges them. The contempt and hatred inspired by the usurers is widespread and intense; if the anti-Semitic campaign in Russia has given rise to such sanguinary scenes in the villages, it is because the peasant made no distinction between the Jew and the usurer; many an orthodox Christian who needed not to be circumcised in order to strip the cultivators as clean as ever the purest descendant of Abraham could have done, was robbed and massacred dduring the height of the fever of the anti-Semitic movement. These various causes co-operated with the development of industry and commerce to accelerate the monopolizing of the land, vested more and more in private families, and to precipitate the dissolution of the patriarchal family."
47. Chapter 4. Feudal Property
"FEUDAL property presents itself under two forms: immovable property, called 'corporeal' by the French feudists, consisting of a castle or manor with its appurtenances and surrounding lands, 'as far as a capon can fly;' and movable or 'incorporeal' property, consisting of military service, aids, reliefs, fines, tithes, ect.
Feudal property, of which ecclesiastical property is but a variety, springs up in the midst of village communities based on collective propety, and evolves at their expense; after a long series of transofrmations it is resolved into bourgeois or capitalist property, the adequate form of private property."
"Under the feudal system the landlord has obligations and is far from enjoying the liberty of the capitalist - the right to use and abuse. The land is not marketable; it is burdened with conditions, and is transmitted according to traditionary customs which the defined duties towards his hierarchical superiors and inferiors.
The system, in its essence, is a compact of reciprocal services; the feudal lord only holds his land and possesses a claim on the labour and harvests of his tenants and vassals on condition of doing suit and service to his superiors and lending aid to his dependants. On accepting the oath of fealty and homage the lord engaged to protect his vassal against all and sundry by all the means at his command; in return for which support the vassal was bound to render military and personal service and make certain payments to his lord. The latter, in his turn, for the sake of protection, commended himself to a more puissant feudal lord, who himself stood in the relation of vassalage to a suzerain, to the king or emperor."
48. "...a sense of duty was the spirit of feudal society, just as the lust of lucre is the soul of our own."
49. "Consanguine collectivism had but created the communal unit; feudalism called forth a provincial and national life by knitting together the independent and insulated groups of a province or a nation by a reciprocity of duties and services. Viewed in this light feudalism is a federation of baronies.
The duties which the lord owed his serfs, tenants, and vassals were manifold and onerous, but with the decay of feudalism he shook off these duties, while, at the same time, he continued to exact and even aggravated, the dues and obligations which, originally, had been but the recompense of services he had rendered. Not content with neglecting his feudal duties, he raised domains and forests. The feudists, justly stigmatized as 'feudal pens', maintained that the woodlands, forests, and meadows had immemorially belonged to the lord, who had merely resigned the usufruct thereof to his serfs and vassals. The English feudists made shorter work of it. They fabricated history and declared that at some period -- 'sometimes vaguely associated with the feudalization of Europe, sometimes more precisely with the Norman Conquest - the entire soil of England was confiscated; that the whole of each manor became the lord's demesne; that the lord divided certain parts of it among his free retainers, but kept a part in his own hands to be tilled by his villeins; that all which was not required for this distribution was left as the lord's waste; and that all customs which cannot be traced to feudal principles gew up insensibly through the subsequent tolerance of the feudal chief.' [1. H.S. Maine. 'Village Communities' p. 84. presented as evidence before the Select Committee of the House of Commons which consider the subject of enclosures, by a lawyer, Mr. Blamire]
The bourgeois historians and Merlin, the terrible jurist of the convention and destroyer of the communal lands, solicitous to trace the private form of property to the feudal period, adopted the interested thesis of the aristocrats. The history of the genesis and evolution of feudal property will prove the unsoundness of the feudists' theory and show that seignorial property was built up by fraud and violence."
50. "The Teutonic tribes who had invaded Western Europe were a nomad population, in a state of barbarism nearly akin to that of the Iroquois tribes at the time of the discovery of America, Strabo tells us that the barbarians established in Belgium and in the North-East of France were ignorant of agriculture, and lives exclusively on milk and flesh; principally on pork, fresh or salt; that they possessed herds of swine - savage and dangerous as the country, and so abundant as to supply them with food and the means of buying the few articles they stood in need of. Strabo adds that the Gauls had similar manners, and that to know them it required but to contemplate the Germans of his time. When Caesar landed in England he found that the Britons inhabiting Kent possessed much the same manners and customs as the Gauls; they did not till the land; they subsisted on a milk diet and on flesh, and were clad in skins. They painted their bodies blue in order to strike terror into their enemies, and had their wives in common by groups of ten or twelve, including brothers, fathers, and sons. In Europe and elsewhere the point of departure is the same."
51. "When they [barbarians] began to practise a rude kind of agriculture, they undertook warlike expeditions for the purpose of keeping up the exercise of fighting. A war chief of renown needed but to announce that he was starting on a campaign to see warriors flock to him, eager for spoils and glory. During the expedition they owed him obedience, as did the Greek warriors to Agamemnon, but they ate at the same table and banqueted with him without distinction of persons, and the booty was divided equally and by lot. Back again in their villages, they recovered their independence and equality, and the war chief lost his authority.
It is in this free and equal fashion that the Scandinavians, and in fact all barbarians, organized their expeditions. These piratical manners prevailed during the whole of the middle ages; when William the Conqueror and Pope Innocent III wanted to levy an army against the English and the Albigenses, it was only necessary for them to promise a division of the spoils taken fromt he vanquished. Before the battle of Hastings, just as the troops were about to engage in fight, William, with a loud voice called out to his soldiers: 'Fight bravely and put all to death; if we win, we shall all be rich; what I get, you shall get; if I conquer, you will conquer; if I obtain the land, you will obtain it.' His Holiness the Pope used similar language on the 10th of March, in the year 1208, on stirring up the faithful to fight the heretic Albigenses: 'Up now, soldiers of Christ; root out impiety by every means that God may have revealed to you [the means that the Lord had revealed were fire, rapine, and murder], drive out of their castles the Earl of Toulouse and his vassals, and seize upon their lands, that the orthodox Catholics may be established in the dominions of the heretics.' "
53. "The inhabitants of the towns and provinces were constrained, for safety's sake, to live in fortified places. The charters of Auvergne of the 11th and 12th centuries designate such villages by the term of 'castra' (camp). In the towns and boroughs houses were constructed in view of the necessity of sustaining a siege.
The village collectivities which, at the outset, were composed almost exclusively of individuals beloning to the same clan, and consequently equals, elected chieftains charged with their defence, who eventually came to gather into their hands the several rights of jurisdiction, of settling differences, of interpreting the customs, and maintaining order. The Franks in their barbarous Latin called such a chieftain 'graffio', from 'graf', the German for count. The elected chiefs of the village collectivities are the feudal barons in embryo.
In the beginning they were simply public officers subject to the authority of the council of the elders and the popular assemblies, and with the execution of whose decisions they were charged; they were severely punished for every neglect of duty; The graffio of the Frankish tribes who omitted to expel a stranger whose expulsion had been voted by the assembly was amerced in a fine of 200 gold solidi. ('Lex Salica'.) This was exactly the sum assessed as composition for murder. (Weregild)
The powers which were at a later date to become the appanage of the feudal lords, belonged to the community met in full assembly, ('Folkmoote.) All of the inhabitants were bound to attend in arms, under penalty of a fine; certain village collectivities possessed serfs, as, later on, did the lords.
The laws of Wales, collected in 940, by order of King Hoel-Du, and published in 1841 by A. Owen, indicate the mode of election and qualities and the functions of these village chiefs which do not substantially differ from those of the barbarian war-chief. The chief of the clan was chosen by allthe heads of families having wives and legitimate offspring, and he held his office for life among certain peoples his functions were temporary and revocable. It was imperative 'that he should speak on behalf of his kind and be listened to; that he should fight on behalf of his kind and be feared; that he should be security on behalf of his kind and be accepted.' When he administered justice he was assisted by the seven oldest villagers; under his orders stood an 'avenger', charged with executing vengeance; for justice at that epoch was but revenge - the lex talionis - blow for blow, wound for wound. On the first alarm, after the clamour, called 'haro' by the Normans and 'biafor' by the Basques, the inhabitants were bound to issue forth from their houses, in arms, and place themselves under their chieftain's command; he was the military chiefs, to whom all owed fidelity and obedience. Whoever failed to respond to his appeal was fined. In certain boroughs we find a military organization, 'e.g.', at Tarbes the inhabitants were formed into tithings having at their head a tithing-man, whose office it was to see that all the men were armed and that their arms were in good condition.
55. "Greatness was dangerous: the Scandinavians, in great calamities - in a pressing famine, for example - sacrificed their king, as the highest price with which they could purchase the Divine favour. In this manner the first king of Vermaland, a province of Sweden, was burnt in honour of Odin, to put an end to a great dearth. Earl Hakon, of Norway, offered his son in sacrifice to obtain the victory over the Jomsburg pirates, and Gideon immolated his daughter to Jehovah for a similar reason."
57. "On electing the village chief, the choice fell, we may presume, on the owner of the most spacious dwelling-house, affording the greatest facilities of defence and the best place of refuge for the peasants in an emergency. This strategical advantage, which, originally, may have been a matter of accident, came to be a condition exacted from every chieftain; in the Indian villages beyond the border the 'burj', or watch tower, is always attached to the house of the chief, and in constant use as a place of refuge and observation. During the feudal period every lord was bound to possess a castle or fortified house having a courtyard protected by moats and drawbridges, a large square tower and a grist mill, to enable the peasants to shelter their crops and cattle, grind their corn and organize their defence. The chieftain's dwelling-house was considered as a sort of common house, and actually became such in times of danger. The members of the village collectivities applied themselves to repairing and fortifying it, surrounding it with walls and trenches; it was the custom for the members of a village to aid in the construction and repair of the houses of all the inhabitants without distinction. This custom is the origin of the right possessed by the feudal lord 'to compel his vassals and tenants to contribute towards the construction of the fortifications in time of war.' and the commentary of the feudal writer indicates the origin of the right. 'And as these fortifications serve alike for the security of the country and the towns, the safety of persons, and the conservation of property, non-residents owning lands in the locality are bound to contribute towards the same.' "
61. "From the hour that the cultivator no longer stood in need of military service, the feudal system had no reason to exist. Feudalism, born of warfare, perished by warfare; it perished by the very qualities which had justified its existence."
"The feudal lord and the vassal became co-equals once again in the communal assemblies which discussed the agricultural interests alike of the villager and the lord; the assemblies met without his sanction, and despite his unwillingness to convoke them. His communal rights were as limited as those of the rest of the inhabitants; the heads of cattle he was entitled to send to pasture on the commons were strictly prescribed."
62. "The origin of ecclesiastical property is analogous to that of seignorial property. In those turbulent times men fled for protection to the church no less than to the baron's castle; the priestly power, indeed, far outweighed that of the baron; it was the priest who held the key of paradise. Men willed their goods to the church on their death beds in the hope of securing a seat in paradise; this custom, which was voluntary at the outset, became so general that it ended by being imposed as an obligation. 'Any person dying without leaving a part of his possessions to the Church -- which was termed dying 'deconfes' -- was debarred from communion and sepulture. If a man died intestate his relations had to appeal to the bishops to appoint arbiters, who conjointly with themselves fixed the amount which the defunct ought to have bequeathed if he had made a testament.'"
63. "...property of the Church was derived, also, from other less turbid sources: men gave away their possessions and even their persons in exchange for her temporal protection. 'The major part of the acts of voluntary slavery ('obnoxatio'), says Guerard, were prompted by the spirit of devotion, and by the indulgence practised by the bishops and abbots towards their serfs, and by the benefits which the law accorded them.'"
"The high dignitaries of the church were military chieftains, who laid down their cross and chasuable to grasp a sword and don a cuirass."
64. "The early kings and military chieftains bestowed churches and monasteries on their liege men and soldiers as rewards; from the 8th to the 11th centuries a considerable number of churches were in the hands of laymen. The kings of France down to the 18th century had conserved the 'driot de regale', which entitled them to all the fruits of the vacant bishoprices. When Henry VIII, the Bluebeard of English story and Supreme Pontiff of England, in order to reform the Church, suppressed not fewer than 645 monasteries, 90 colleges, 2,347 chantries and free chapels, 100 hospitals, with revenue amounting to two millions per annum, and shared the plunder with his courtiers and concubines, he practised on a larger scale what all his predecessors had done."
"THE feudal burdens outlasted the feudal barons, who vanished when they had grown useless; these dues became the appanage of nobles, often of middle-class origin, who did not render the services of which these dues had been the meed."
65. "Violently attacked by the bourgeois writers, and energetically defended by the feudists, they were definitely suppressed in France by the revolution of 1789. The earlier English revolution which established bourgeois authority, the House of Commons by the side of the House of Lords, has allowed a number of feudal privileges to subsist which are anachronisms at a time when the aristocratic or landed classes are simply a wing of the 'great middle class' in every sense of the word."
66. "...of the possessions of the barons and the monks, there followed a lack of serfs to cultivate their lands, wherefore they gave their arable 'en bordelage' to peasant collectivities, 'eating from the same pan and off the same loaf,' to use the language of the period.[1. 'Bordelage' is a feudal system of tenure resembling 'metayage', inasmuch as the rent for the land is paid not in money, but in a portion of the produce. This tenure has been general in all feudal Europe; in France it lasted till the Revolution of 1789. Guerard found it flourishing in the 9th century, on the lands of the Abbey of St. Germain des Pres. Mr. L. Gomme, in his 'Village Communities' describes similar peasant associations in England, Scotland, and Ireland.] But, whether Freemen or serfs, the tenants owed a certain number of days of work to the feudal lord, to till his field or house his corn.
As, at this period, production of commodities and commerce did not as yet exist, the baron, no less than the peasant, was obliged to produce all that was requisite to supply his wants. In the feudal habitation there existed workshops of every description for the manufacture of arms, farming implements, stuffs, clothing, ect., in which the peasants and their wives were bound to work for a certain number of days in the years. The female labourer was under the direction of the lady of the manor herself, and the workshops for the same were termed 'geniciae'. The monasteries likewise possessed workshops for females. [2. In the donation made in 728 by Count Eberhard to the monastery of Merbach, mention is made of 40 work women employed in the Geniciae.] These workshops were rapidly turned into harem for the lords and their retainers, and even into dens of debauchery, in which the barons and the priests debauched their female serfs and vassals. The word 'geniciaria' (woman working in the genicia) became synonymous with prostitute. Our modern brothels, as we see, have a religious and aristocratic origin.
In the beginning the number of days of work due to the baron by his vassal was insignificant; in some places it amounted to three days in the year. [3. "Let the freeman enjoy liberty and go three times a year into the count's service," ordains the Customary of Bigorre.] In France, the royal ordinances, in default of a contract or custom prescribed the number of twelve days, Villein socage was harder; but the service was not to exceed three days a week, and the serfs had, further, the enjoyment of a small field which the lord had ceded to him and from which he could not be expelled; he had also a share in the baron's harvest and a right of pasture in the forest and arable lands."
67. "Count Gasparin, who was Minister of Agriculture under Louis XVIII., in his treaty on 'Fermage', published in 1821, states his belief in the superiority, as regards to the landed proprietor, of the system of 'metayage' to that of 'socage'. But in the decline of the feudal system the lords abused their power to aggravate socage. 'They had usurped such authority,' says Jean Chenu, a writer of the beginning of the seventeenth century, 'that they exacted the labour of tillage, the gathering their grapes and a thousand other services, with no better title than the peasants' fear of being beaten or eaten up by their men at arms.' When, in the fourteenth century, peace was gradually established in the interior of Europe, every useful function had been taken away from the feudal baron; and the nobles who succeeded the barons became parasites and tyrants.
BANS DE MOISSON.--It has been supposed that the lord's right of prescribing the days on which to mow the fields, gather the grapes, reap the corn, etc., was a purely feudal one, whereas its origin is traceable to the period in which collective property obtained. We have seen above that in order to allow the arable lands to remain open to the cattle of the village, the elders fixed the days for the various harvests. This usage, established in the interests of the villagers, could only be diverted from its true ends when the lord began to traffic with his crops. He substituted his own authority for that of the council of the elders, or influenced their decisions so as to retard the proclamation of the 'ban des moissons' and be beforehand with his own crops, and able, consequently, to sell them earlier and on better terms than the produce of the communal fields.
BANALITE [1. The term signifies the compulsory usage of a thing belonging to the lord on condition of a due.] -- The term is feudal; but the custom which it designates is a communistic one. In the village collectivities, certain offices, as aforeshown, were filled by individuals maintained at the expense of the commune; there was the village herdsman, who drove the cattle to pasture; there were common forges, mills, slaughter-houses, and animals to breed from, at the disposal of the community. Private families, instead of baking their own bread, sent it to be baked in the communal oven; a custom introduced from the economical consideration of reducing the consumption of fuel. The charge of watching over and attending to these ovens was entrusted to the council of elders; thereafter to the lord, who, whenever it was in his interest to do so, substituted his own authority for that of the men commissioned by the commune. A small tax was levied for this right of usage of the common objects; in an ordinance of 1223, of Guillaume Blanchemain, Archbishop of Reims, it is said that 'the prelate shall be the proprietor of the common oven and be entitled to the tribute of a loaf for every batch of thirty-two loaves.' Boucher d'Argis cites decrees of 1563 and 1673 fixing the right of grinding in the common mills at a 16th and a 13th; it is computed that, at present, the miller deducts more than a tenth.
These sort of institutions could exist only in the absence of the production of commodities; they hampered commerce and stood in the way of private enterprise; the revolutionary bourgeois of France pronounced them tainted with feudalism, and abolished them in 1790."
68. "The CHURCH, which eventually became the exlusive property of the clergy, and is now closed to the public out of the house of worship, was previously the joint property of the curate, the baron, and the peasants. The chancel and altar belonged to the lord and curate; they were bound to repair the woodwork, flooring, seats, ect, but the nave belonged to the peasants, who used it for their markets, communal assemblies, and dancing parties, or as a storehouse for their crops in case of need. [2. A synodical statue of 1529 prohibits - "To hold or suffer in the church or cemeteries here any festivals, dances, games, merrymakings, representations, markets, and other illicit assemblies; for the church is ordained solely to serve the Lord, and not for suchlike follies." The naive believers of the Middle Ages saw no harm in dancing, and representing their mysteries, in the house of the Lord.] The church bells, likewise, belonged to the peasants, who set them pealing to announce their assemblies, or to apprise the villagers of fires or stile attacks. In the judicial archives of the French provinces of the 17th and 18th centuries, we find frequent mention of judgments rendered against the bells for having warned the peasants of the arrival of the collectors of the salt-tax; they were sentenced to be taken down and whipped by the hands of the executioner, 'notwithstanding that they had been consecrated and blessed by a most solemmn ceremony, in which the oil of St. Chrism and myrrh and incense had been used and many prayers recited.' The Church was the house of God, elevated in the face of the feudal manor, and the feudal peasants gathered together under the shadow of it as around a strong and tender mother."
69. "The TITHE raised on the harvests of the peasants and the nobles in favour of the Church, was, in the beginning, optional; just as it is in Ireland at the present hour; it was paid alike to the priest and sorcerer. Agobard, an archbishop of the 9th century, complains that the ecclesiastical tithe is paid with far less regularity than that accorded to the 'tempestarii', men endowed with the power to lay storms and conjure up foul weather. But from being optional the tithes became compulsory in virtue of the feudal adage 'no land without its tithes and burdens'; they were converted into a seignorial right, and accorded to lay lords and abbots, who re-sold them to other laymen. Discretionary at the outset, the tithes became obligatory; and, in the sequel, constituted an oppressive impost that no performance of services any longer authorized: even so is refined gold transmuted into vile copper!"
"Marx, in his admirable 27th chapter of 'Capital', 'on the expropriation of the agricultural population from the land,' to which I refer the reader, has described the prompt and brutal fashion in which the Scotch and English lords stole the possessions of the yeomen, 'The great encroachers,' as Harrison, the editor of 'Holinshed's Chronicle', calls them, went to work expeditiously. In the 15th century the immense majority of the population consisted of peasant proprietors, whatever was the feudal title under which their right of property was hidden. Macaulay calculates that 'the number of proprietors was not less than 160,000, who with their families must have de up more than one-seventh of the whole nation. The average income of these small landlords was estimated at between P60 and P70 a year.'
The chief period of eviction began with the 16th century. The great feudal lords drove the peasantry by force from the land, to which they had the same feudal right as the lord himself, and seized upon the common lands. The rapid rise of the Flemish wool manufacture, and the corresponding rise in the price of wool in England, gave a direct impulse to these evictions. The sheep drove out the men. 'The shepe that were wont to be so meke and tame,' says Thomas More, 'and so small eaters, now, as I heare say, be become so great devourers and so wylde, that they eate up and swallow downe the very men themselves.' [1. 'Utopia' from a translation by Robinson. 1869.]
In the last decade of the 17th century, the yeomanry, the class of independent peasants, were more numerous than the class of farmers. They had formed the backbone of Cromwell's strength, and, even according to the confession of Macaulay, stood in favourable contrast to the druken squires and to their servants, the country clergy, who had to marry their masters' cast-off mistresses. About 1750 the yeomanry had disappeared, and so had in the last decade of the 18th century the last trace of the common land of the agricultural labourer. In the 19th century the very memory of the connection between the agricultural labourer and the communal property has, of course, vanished in England. [!!] The agricultural population has received not a farthing of compensation for the 3,511,770 acres of common land which between 1800 and 1831 were stolen from them by parliamentary devices presented to the landlords by the landlords. [!!]
The last process of wholesale expropriation of the agricultural population from the soil is, finally, the so-called clearing of estates, 'i.e.', the sweeping men off them. But what 'clearing of estates' really and properly signifies we learn only in the promised land of modern romance, the Highlands of Scotland. There the process is distinguished by its systematic character, by the magnitude of the scale on which it is carried out at one blow (in Ireland, landlords have gone to the length of sweeping away several villages at once; in Scotland areas as large as German principalities are dealt with), finally by the peculiar form of property under which the embezzled lands were held.
The Highland Celts were organized in clans, each of which was the owner of the land on which it was settled. The representative of the clan, its chief or 'great man', was only the titular owner of this property, just as the Queen of England is the titular owner of all the national soil. When the English Government succeeded in suppressing the intestine wars of these 'great men', and their constant incursions into the lowland plains, the chiefs of the clans by no means gave up their time-honoured trade as robbers; they only changed its form. On their own authority they transofrmed their nominal right into a right of private property, and as this brought them into collision with their clansmen, they resolved to drive them out by open force. 'A king of England might as well claim to drive his subjects into the sea,' says Professor Newman. This revolution, which began in Scotland after the last rising of the followers of the Pretender, can be followed through its first phases in the writings of Sir James Steuart and James Anderson. As an example of the method obtaining in the 19th century, the 'clearing' made by the Duchess of Sunderland will suffice here. This person, well instructed in economy, resolved, on entering upon her government, to effect a radical cure, and to turn the whole country, whose population had already been, by earlier processes of a like kind, reduced to 15,000, into a sheep walk. From 1814 to 1820 these 15,000 inhabitants, about 3,000 families, were systematically hunted and rooted out. All their villages were destroyed and burnt, all their fields turned into pasturage. British soldiers enforced the eviction, and came to blows with the inhabitants. One old woman was burnt to death in the flames of the hut which she refused to leave. Thus this fine lady appropriated 794,000 acres of land that had from time immemorial belonged to the clan. She assigned to the expelled inhabitants about 6,000 acres on the sea shore -- two acres per family. The 6,000 acres on the sea shore -- two acres per family. The income to their owners. The duchess, in the nobility of her heart, actually went so far as to let these at an average rent of 2s. 6d. per acre to the clansmen who for centuries had shed their blood for her family. The whole of the stolen clan-land she divided into 29 great sheep farms, each inhabited by a single family, for the most part imported English farm servants. In the year 1835 the 15,000 Gaels were already replaced by 121,000 sheep. The remnant of the aborigines flung on the sea shore tried to live by catching fish. They became amphibious and lived, as an English author says, half on land and half on water, and withal only half on both."
72. "The plunder of the State lands on a large scale began with William of Orange. 'These estates were given away, sold at a ridiculous figure, or even annexed to private estates by direct seizure. All this happened without the slightest observation of legal etiquette. The crown lands thus fraudulently appropriated, together with the robbery of the Church estates, as far as these had not been lost again during the Republican Revolution, form the basis of the today princely domains of the English oligarchy. The bourgeois capitalists favoured the operation with the view, among others, to promoting free trade in land, extending the domain of modern agriculture on the large farm system, and to increasing their supply of the free agricultural proletarians ready to hand.'
After the restoration of the Stuarts the landed proprietors had carried by legal means an act of usurpation, effected everywhere on the Continent without any legal formality. In 1660 a House of Commons in which the landlords were supreme relieved their estates of all feudal dues, then amounting to about one-half of the entire revenues of the State. Military service, purveyance, aids, reliefs, premier seisin, wardship, alienation, escheat, all disappeared in a day. In their place were substituted excise duties. By 12 Charles II., c. 23 the great bulk of taxation was for the first time transferred from the land to the people, who have borne it ever since.
Landed property monopolized by the lords was exempted from all dues towards the States, as the lord had been discharged from all obligations towards his vassals and tenants: feudal property had been changed into capitalist property.
This transformation was accomplished in Great Britain in the midst of the most awful misery of the peasant class; the cultivators were expelled from the land wholesale and made beggars. Their numbers became a social danger against which the most barbarous measures were taken. Legislation treated them as 'voluntary' criminals, and assumed that it depended on their own will to go on working under the old conditions that no longer existed. In England this legislation began under Henry VII.
Henry VIII., 1530: -- 'Beggars old and unable to work receive a beggar's license. On the other hand, whipping and imprisonment for sturdy vagabonds. They are to be tied to a cart tail and whipped until the blood streams from their bodies, then to swear an oath to go back to their birth place, or to where they have lived the last three years, and to put themselves to labour.' What grim irony! In 27 Henry VIII. the former statues is repeated, but strengthened with new clauses. 'For the second arrest for vagabondage the whipping is to be repeated and half the ear sliced off, but for the third relapse the offender is to be executed as a hardened criminal and enemy of the commonweal.'
Elizabeth, 1572: -- 'Unlicensed beggars above 14 years of age are to be severely flogged and branded on the left ear unless someone will take them into service for two years; in case of reptition of offence, if they are over 18 they are to be executed, unless someone will take them into service for two years; but for the third offence they are to be executed without mercy as felons.' Similar statues, 18 Elizabeth, c. 13, and another 1597, James I:--'Anyone wandering about and begging is declared a rogue and a vagabond. Justices of the Peace in petty sessions are authorized ot have them publicly whipped, and for the first offence to imprison them for six months, for the second two years. Whilst in prison they are to be whipped as much as often as the Justices of the Peace think fit. Incorrigible and dangerous rogues are to be branded with an 'R' on the left shoulder and set to hard labour, and, if they are caught begging again, to be executed without mercy.'--These statues, legally binding until the beginning of the 18th century, were only repealed by 12 Ann, c 23.
Albeit not a single nation in Europe can boast of having raised an aristocracy that accomplished its work of monopolizing the land with anything like the rapacity and ferociousness of the Scotch and English landlords, nevertheless in all countries the peasant class has been in great part despoiled of its territorial possessions; and no means have been left untried to bring about that most laudable and lucrative consummation. Let me enumerate a few of the devices that were resorted to in France.
The feudal obligations, aids, and fines became so excessive that the [p74] peasants commuted for them by ceding to the lords a portion of the common lands. These cessions of territory, greedily hungered after by the feudal lords, would appear, well-nigh all of them, to have been obtained by the aid of artifice; the nobles corrupted a certain number of villagers who managed to constitute in their own persons the general assembly of the commune that voted the cessions; hence we come across royal ordinances in France which specify that for a cession of territory to be valid it must be voted in an assembly of all the inhabitants of the Commune."
74. "The robbers of the communal lands did not invariably employ Jesuitical means; they often plundered with open brutality. In the 16th century, a period when the industrial and commercial bourgeoisie were rapidly developing, the communal lands were coveted at one and the same time by the nobles and by the bourgeois speculators. The towns were enlarged to meet the new requirements, and agriculture increased its yield. The development of agriculture was the great object of the speculators; under the pretext of giving increased extension to the arable lands, they induced the King to grant them, by royal edict, the right of bringing under culture the waste lands; they hastened to include in the category of waste lands the communal territories, and proceeded to wrest them from the peasants, who took up arms in their defence..."
5. Bourgeoise Property
84. "The character of industry then experiences a change; the artificer becomes independent of his customer. He no longer waits for the latter to supply him with the material he must work up; he buys it, and keeps a stock of it on hand; he ceases to work to order, and works only with a view to sell. To his quality of producer is superadded that of trader; he buys the raw material, and sells his finished work; he englarges his shop, and seeks the help of apprentices and journeymen, who work under his direction and side by side with him, lodging in his house and eating at his table. The fund he requires is of so modest a desciption as hardly to deserve the name of capital, in the sense in which Marx employs the word, even although this fund be capital in embryo.
The increase of the population in the mediaeval villages forbids the access of new-comers to the communal lands, and precludes their sharing in the agrarian divisions. The village lands remained the exclusive property of the original inhabitants and their descendants, who constituted a sort of municipal aristocracy, while, in the country, the exigencies of defence called into life the feudal aristocracy. The urban aristocracy has survived in certain towns of democratic Switzerland. In the Alsatia of our day these urban aristocrats have become great manufacturers."
86. "When the warfare between castle and castle abated, owing to the disappearance of the vanquished, whose lands were engrossed by the victor, and there ensued a greater security of the highways, commercial intercourse between the different provinces became possible and great centres of handicraft production sprang up. The city of Ghent, which manufactured cloths from wool imported chiefly from England, possessed in the 14th century a population of upwards of half-a-million inhabitants. The development of commerce shook the social organization of the feudal city."
87. "All the industrial towns of the Middle Ages were stained with blood by the conflicts between journeymen and craftsmasters.
The discovery of the passage of the Indies by rounding the Cape of Good Hope, and that of America, which date from the end of the 15th century, by bringing the gold of America into the European market, and by introducing transoceanic commerce, depreciated the value of landed property, gave a decisive impulse to the rising bourgeois production in the cities of the Mediterranean, the cities of the Low Countries, and the Hanseatic League, and opened the era of modern revolution.
The countries newly discovered in India and America were put to plunder, and turned into markets for the industrial and agricultural products of Europe. England exported corn to America; Auvergne cheese, wine, ect.
The creation of the colonial market and the importation of American gold furthered the development of manufacturing industry. Private individuals were enabled to accumulate the funds required for the establishment of manufactories, which in the beginning were simply workshops of artificers, only distinguished from these by the greater number of workmen employed, and the larger quantity of commodities manufactured. As these workshops infringed all the regulations of the guilds, and encroached on the privileges of the masters, they could not be established in the towns, but had to be set up in the suburbs, the country or the maritime cities which, newly founded, possessed neither municipal aristocracy nor incorporated trades. In London neither municipal aristocracy nor incorporated trades. In London and Paris, it was outside the city walls, in Westminster, Southwark, and the Faubourg St. Antoine that the manufactories were created. They were established by merchants enriched by the colonial trade, and not by the guildmasters, bound in the chains of routine, and fettered by corporative bonds. In the present day we see railways constructed and directed, not by the masters of stage-coach companies, but by financial men."
93. "The cultivators of the corn-growing States of the Union may be classed under four great categories: 1, the day labourers or agricultural proletarians; 2, the small farmers (peasant proprietors and 'metayers'); 3, proprietors who direct the cultivation of their land; 4, great financial farmers of whom, in Europe, the only counterparts are to be found in different parts of Roumania and in the south of Russia."
102. "Mechanical production has robbed the artisan of his technical skill and turned the wage labourer into a servant of the machine; the capitalistic organization of industry has made a parasite of the capitalist. The parasitical nature of his 'role' is recognized and proclaimed by the creation of anonymous companies whose shares and obligations--the bourgeois' titles of property--pass from hand to hand, without exerting any influence on production, and on the Stock Exchange change hands a dozen times a day.
103. "The Rothschilds, Grants, Goulds, and other financiers of that stamp, practically demonstrate to the capitalists that they are useless, by cheating them out of their shares and bonds by Stock Exchange swindling, and other financial hanky-panky, and by accumulating in their strong-boxes the profits derived from the great organisms of production."
"Machinery which has killed the artificer will kill the capitalist."
104. "In primitive society property was common only among members of the same tribe, connected by the ties of blood; every human being not included in the narrow circle of kinship was a stranger, an enemy; but in the society of the future, property will be held in common by all the members of the great human family, without distinction of nationality, race, or colour; for the workers, bowed under the same capitalistic yoke, have recognized that brothers in misery, brothers in revolt, they must remain brothers in victory." ()