Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

7 articles on this Page



[No title]

[No title]





"¡:- THE RURAL EXODUS. The Natural Cause of It. Sir,—The following seems to have a direcfr bearing on the Rural Exodus:— "A London solicitor who had often to exam- ine the registers of London parishes told me the following significant fact. He said that families permanently occupied and resident in London die out in the second, or at the latest in the third, generation. ;,Li "L,.u third generation permanent city dwellers do not perpetuate the race—they die out, and their places are taken by fresh and ever-fresh incomers from the country. "Dr. H. Campbell, of Wimpoie Street, goes- so far as to say that in the luwer classes the family never passes beyond the third genera- tion of the slum born and bred. If you get a third generation at all, you will find that the individual is puny and wizen, on the- high road to racial extinction. It ss difficult to find children wllO:e and grand- parents were slum born and b/ed People are continually coming in from the country* drifting to the slums, and carrying a fresh. lease of life to this part of the population of great crities. I attribute the physical degeneracy of Londoners to tiic-. of the children in close, ill-lighted rooms, and to their subsequently following employ- ments which entail prolonged confinement indoors. The individual who is London-Bora and strictly London-bred is placed in an environment totally different from that in which the human race was evolved; and it therefore follows that the vast majority of true Londoners have the seal of fate stamped upon them. The typical full-grown Cockney, is, in truth, a painfully deteriorated type of humanity." The above is an extract from an article w, iCDI appeared In "The Crisis" (a quarterly review)* a few years ago, and demonstrates a fact which! few of your contributors appear to realise- namely, that there is a town side as well as a country side to the important discussions started by Mr. Isaiah Reynolds. As a. town-bred man who has lived in the provinces for many years, I may claim to know a little of both aspects of the question, which the greatest minds of our great nation have wrestled with for "years and donkey's 'ears, without having attained any satisfactory result.. Each year the towns get more crowded, the- misery more acute. For where there is a crowded town there will always be misery; and to my mind the number of slums in large cities would be reduced by deporting to less populated areas some of the industries of stifling London, crowded Manchester, etc. Take the soap factories and some of those other factories from East End of London: transport them to some convenient waterside place, and see what a difference it would make to the atmosphere and overcrowd ing. Some Londoners assert that the fog nuis- ance is mainly due to the multitude of factory and other chimneys in the East End. How utterly useless it is to attempt to stop people going to the big towns is shown by the quotation at the beginning of this letter. It is quite essential that the towns should have infusions of new blood, to compensate for the loss of material which the conditions of living in those towns entails. The country-bred man* though a little slow to town ways at first, iN often preferred by the town employer because he is stronger and healthier than the town- bred man. It is the survival of the fittest. This is a very important factor in the question, and I contend that it is useless for county authorities to offer special inducements to the country-bred man to stay in the country, be- cause the town employer will assuredly offer him further inducements to leave it. The said authorities would only ba trying to upset one of Nature's economic laws. To establish industrial farms would, per- haps, be a solution to the whole question. To me it is astonishing that the Government can allow many thousands of acres of Crown lands to go untilled, uncared for, and yet allow local authorities to maintain workhouses for the unemployed and destitute. For all that able-bodied paupers are put to stone-breaking (which could be done by machinery at half the cost), the ratepayers still have to contribute the major portion towards the upkeep of work- houses. Why not, then. establish industrial farms for the unemployed, with competent farmers to overseer them and skilled farm hands as instructors ? "What!" I can hear some pious farmer ex- claim, "do you want to dump your town re- fuse on to our fair countryside?" I answer in the affirmative. It would only be the evolution of Nature, as God intended when he first set man upon this planet. Was it foresight, or was it intuition, that in- duced our former statesmen to send desperate criminals to Botany Bay? Anyway, events have more than justified their action, and great good has come out of evil. The original convicts became squatters and cultivated the land, and! among their progeny to-day arc to be found some of the largest 3heep farmers in Austra- lasia. If such excellent results can be obtained by placing criminals on the land, what could we not do with people whose only crime is that they have been left behind in the race for life. I maintain that the estab- lishment of industrial farms would mean the regeneration of our race, and that in two gener- ations a sturdy, well-set-up lot of countrymen- men well able to fight for King and country- would evolve from grandparents who were once numbered among the unemployed. And before those two generations had passed away thousands of acres would be under cultivation which are now nothing but a barren waste. A. J. K. Sir,—Now that the interesting discussion on the above subject has taken a more sensible turn again this week, I hope we will have some more contributions from the pens of "E. J. J." and E. Perkins. I think that these gentlemen have exploded Mr. Isaiah Reynolds' idea of "small holdings under the County Council" being a remedy for rural depopulation. From more County Council mal-administration heaven defend us. Under their reign (in spite of the Agricultural Rating Act) the rates have risen 100 per cent. If that worthy body of men go on experimenting with the ratepayers' money again on small holdings I think there will be, not a Rural Exodus but a general stampede out of the country altogether. I suppose that owing to the senseless and personal abusive letters that we have had on this subject the last three weeks, "E. J. J." and "E. P." have thought it beneatn their dignity to reply. I should like to hear their remedy for the Rural Exodus. I think that owing to the increase in wages, and better food, and easier time altogether of the farm labour, that they are not leaving the land to the same extent that they were a few years ago. I think that until we get fair trading terms so that we can compete with the foreigner in our own markets, and thereby afford to employ more labour, and give still higher wages and shorter hours, viz., the same wage and average weekly hours that they the labourers) get in town and public works, they will still continue to leave the land. But this is impossible as long as the foreigner has the monopoly in our markets' and preferential rates over our own railways. At present agricultural produce of all kind& can be sent to the London and other large markets from America, Canada, and other coun- tries (where they have hardly any rent, rates, or taxes to pay) for less than it costs us to send it from Pembrokeshires. As examples, I will give two instances in my own case. Two years ago I saw seed potatoes advertised in my agri- cultural journal at £2 2s. per ton (forward on rail) from one of the Midland counties Think- ing these very cheap, I ordered half-a-ton to be sent to my nearest station, and grand potatoes they were. 1 tnougir I had had a bargain until I found that I had i pay 30s. carriage on the 21s: worth of potatoes. Lately I had negotiated the sale of a small boar pig with a gentleman in Devonshire, price k4 (carriage forward on rail); but when that gentleman inquired and found that the carriage would cost him £3 he refused to take the pig. I could give numer- ous other instances of the exorbitant rates- charged by our railway companies, thereby being able (at our expense) to carry foreign produce at a reduced rate. I think it is a sad. thing that the Government is so blind to the interests of the country as to allow the for- eigner preferential rates over our lines and also use our markets free of toll at the BritisN, producers' expense. One word in concluding- In reply to Mr. H. A. Williams' letter I think that if he could see the balance sheets of the large estates of Pembrokeshire for the last 20 years, giving the gross and nett rental, also reductions, abatements, and arrears of rent, and money spent in repairing dilapidations of bad tenants, etc., that he would not be so hard on the men who have to accept less interest f Or' their capital than any other investment J know of.—Yours truly, TENANT FARMER-