functions of the State, are the only justifications for State interference. Everything else is an encroachment on the fundamental rights of property. Now it would, to my mind, be consistent with the traditional policy of Conservatism to further and promote every one of these objects, and so far as these go, to admit the right of the State to interfere. Bearing these axioms in mind, let us see what are the objections to the present land laws most current with reformers at the present day; whether they are justifiable, and how far they may be remedied.
Current Objections to Land Laws.One never takes up a book or pamphlet on the subject without finding it full of loose invectives against feudal tenure, primogeniture, the law of entail and settlement, and the consequent complexity of titles and difficulties in the conveyance and free trade in land. First, with regard to feudal tenures. Now, these form a very convenient stalking horse; it, no doubt, serves the purpose of platform orators, to paint pictures of a sort of medivæal baron swooping down upon a defenceless tenantry, powerless to resist or obtain redress. How different from the real picture of the landlord, whom Mr. Bright delighted to see, scuttling across the sea from his tenants in Ireland, or meekly obliged in England to shut up his country house and live abroad? But, as a fact, as every lawyer knows,—although some of its incidents, such as the liability to fines and heriots, remain in the case of copyholds, which are continually decreasing in number, and which the tenant can at any time turn into freehold,—all feudal tenures have been abolished in England for two centuries. If, on the other hand, is meant by feudal tenure what may be more properly called the spirit of feudalism, that spirit of close