however, has been much obstructed by entails
the heirs of entail being generally restrained 
from letting leases for any long term of years
frequently for more than one year. A late 
act of parliament has, in this respect, somewhat 
slackened their fetters, though they are 
still by much too strait. In Scotland, besides, 
as no leasehold gives a vote for a member of 
parliament, the yeomanry are upon this account 
less respectable to their landlords than 
in England
In other parts of Europe, after it was found 
convenient to secure tenants both against heirs 
and purchasers, the term of their security was 
still limited to a very short period; in France
for example, to nine years from the commencement 
of the lease. It has in that country, 
indeed, been lately extended to twenty-seven, 
a period still too short to encourage the 
tenant to make the most important improvements
The proprietors of land were anciently 
the legislators of every part of Europe
The laws relating to land, therefore, were all 
calculated for what they supposed the interest 
of the proprietor. It was for his interest, they 
had imagined, that no lease granted by any of 
his predecessors should hinder him from enjoying
during a long term of years, the full 
value of his land. Avarice and injustice are 
always short-sighted, and they did not foresee 
how much this regulation must obstruct improvement
and thereby hurt, in the long-run, 
the real interest of the landlord
The farmers, too, besides paying the rent
were anciently, it was supposed, bound to perform 
a great number of services to the landlord
which were seldom either specified in 
the lease, or regulated by any precise rule, but 
by the use and wont of the manor or barony
These services, therefore, being almost entirely 
arbitrary, subjected the tenant to many vexations
In Scotland the abolition of all services 
not precisely stipulated in the lease, has, 
in the course of a few years, very much altered 
for the better the condition of the yeomanry 
of that country. 
The public services to which the yeomanry 
were bound, were not less arbitrary than the 
private ones. To make and maintain the 
high roads, a servitude which still subsists, I 
believe, everywhere, though with different degrees 
of oppression in different countries, was 
not the only one. When the king's troops, 
when his household, or his officers of any kind
passed through any part of the country, the 
yeomanry were bound to provide them with 
horses, carriages, and provisions, at a price regulated 
by the purveyor. Great Britain is, I 
believe, the only monarchy in Europe where 
the oppression of purveyance has been entirely 
abolished. It still subsists in France and 
The public taxes, to which they were subject
were as irregular and oppressive as the 
services. The ancient lords, though extremely 
unwilling to grant, themselves, any pecuniary 
aid to their sovereign, easily allowed him 
to tallage, as they called it, their tenants, and 
had not knowledge enough to foresee how 
much this must, in the end, affect their own 
revenue. The taille, as it still subsists in 
France, may serve as an example of those ancient 
tallages. It is a tax upon the supposed 
profits of the farmer, which they estimate by 
the stock that he has upon the farm. It is 
his interest, therefore, to appear to have as little 
as possible, and consequently to employ as 
little as possible in its cultivation, and none 
in its improvement. Should any stock happen 
to accumulate in the hands of a French 
farmer, the taille is almost equal to a prohibition 
of its ever being employed upon the 
land. This tax, besides, is supposed to dishonour 
whoever is subject to it, and to degrade 
him below, not only the rank of a gentleman
but that of a burgher; and whoever rents the 
lands of another becomes subject to it. No 
gentleman, nor even any burgher, who has 
stock, will submit to this degradation. This 
tax, therefore, not only hinders the stock which 
accumulates upon the land from being employed 
in its improvement, but drives away all 
other stock from it. The ancient tenths and 
fifteenths, so usual in England in former 
times, seem, so far as they affected the land, to 
have been taxes of the same nature with the 
Under all these discouragements, little improvement 
could be expected from the occupiers 
of land. That order of people, with all 
the liberty and security which law can give
must always improve under great disadvantage. 
The farmer, compared with the proprietor
is as a merchant who trades with borrowed 
money, compared with one who trades 
with his own. The stock of both may improve
but that of the one, with only equal 
good conduct, must always improve more 
slowly than that of the other, on account of 
the large share of the profits which is consumed 
by the interest of the loan. The lands cultivated 
by the farmer must, in the same manner, 
with only equal good conduct, be improved 
more slowly than those cultivated by the 
proprietor, on account of the large share of 
the produce which is consumed in the rent
and which, had the farmer been proprietor, he 
might have employed in the further improvement 
of the land. The station of a farmer
besides, is, from the nature of things, inferior 
to that of a proprietor. Through the greater 
part of Europe, the yeomanry are regarded as 
an inferior rank of people, even to the better 
sort of tradesmen and mechanics, and in all 
parts of Europe to the great merchants and 
master manufacturers. It can seldom happen
therefore, that a man of any considerable 
stock should quit the superior, in order to 
place himself in an inferior station. Even in 
the present state of Europe, therefore, little