Regarding Professor Ogilvie
- by DC MacDonald -
edited from the 1891 Edition of Birthright in Land
by George Morton.
" See yonder poor, o'er labour'd wight,
So abject, mean, and vile,
Who begs a brother of the earth
To give him leave to toil;
And see his lordly fellow-worm
The poor petition spurn,
Unmindful tho' a weeping wife
And helpless offspring mourn. "
(says his brother Gilbert) "used to remark that he could not well conceive a more mortifying picture of human life than a man seeking work".
The life problem of the present day was clearly seen by Burns more than [two] hundred years ago, and he then pointed out that monopoly in land was the main source of human misery. He looked up to heaven and called as his witness -
This miniature sketch was drawn from real life in his own country. Then, casting his eye beyond Scotland, and seeing landlordism rampant everywhere, he exclaimed -
THE SUN that overhangs yon moors,
Out-spreading far and wide,
hundreds labour to support
haughty lordling's pride ".
But, oh! what crowds in ev'ry land, William Ogilvie, who was a compatriot of Burns, was born in the year 1736, and was thus twenty- three years older than Burns. The scenes from which Burns took his pictures must have been familiar to Ogilvie. Both were lovers of mankind, and there was a very strong mental affinity between them. Ogilvie was known as "the gentleman an' scholar", but never (except within a very limited circle) as a Land Law Reformer. This is a regretful circumstance. It is equally regretful that Burns is more known as "a rhyming, ranting, roving billie" than as a pioneer and great thinker, in regard to reforms for the benefit of mankind. If we study his epic of the "Twa Dogs", and his other writings in prose and verse relating to the Land Question and Man's Natural Rights, not only in the light of his own time, but also in the fierce light of the present day, we shall not be surprised at anything we find in Ogilvie's book. Even the seemingly modern-looking SINGLE TAX proposition, so clearly laid down by Ogilvie, will not astonish us. A look at the "Twa Dogs" shows us how Caesar was able to take a more advanced view of the situation than Luath. No doubt if William Ogilvie had been a poet instead of a philosopher, he would have expressed the thoughts he has given us in his book somewhat after the manner of the lines above-quoted.
wretched and forlorn ".
Ogilvie and Burns saw eye to eye; but while Burns roused up his fellow-men from the gutter of serfdom, Ogilvie reasoned with them as to the causes which brought them to such a low condition, and also as to the means of reclaiming their natural rights. Ogilvie considered the whole question from a magnanimous, impartial, and truly scientific point of view. He pleaded for "free inquiry"; he sought after truth; he was not one of those rough-and-ready reformers who would simply say, "Abolish landlordism and all evils will vanish". No. He looked upon modern landlordism not as a cause but as an effect. The primary and fundamental cause of all the evils under which humanity suffers is traced by him to man's want of knowledge; and landlordism, with all its consequent evils, under which humanity groans, according to him, is directly owing to man's ignorance of his natural rights. It is this ignorance which begets slavish submission and breeds oppression. Ogilvie considered the situation logically. In his view IGNORANT HUMANITY MUST NEGLECT ITS RIGHTS, AND WITHOUT ITS RIGHTS CANNOT PERFORM ITS DUTIES. Rights and duties are co-relative. Ogilvie recognised this very old maxim of Natural Law. He saw the dishonest and absurd position which the landlords take up in every country. They first rob their fellow-men of their natural rights, and then they add insult to injury by accusing them of neglecting their duties. They call them poor and lazy, while at the same time they, as a rule, do no productive work themselves, and their whole wealth consists of property created by the labour of others. And these "freebooters", as Ogilvie calls them, are styled noblemen and gentlemen, and have arrogated to themselves the position of rulers and legislators in almost every country under heaven.
The people's ignorance of their natural rights is not only the primary, but it is also the sustaining, cause of landlordism. "Keep the people ignorant", says the tyrant to the priest, "and I'll keep them poor". In a note of Ogilvie's [omitted in this edition], reference is made to the ignorance of mankind thus: "In no article are they more ignorant than in respect to property in land, the established rules of which are in every country accounted permanent and immutable". The divine right of kings was until yester-day accepted as an article of faith, and we in Britain are still foolish enough to recognise grants of land signed by authority of such "divine" mandates! We do not now recognise the right of living monarchs to do such things, and yet we confirm, acknowledge, and practically homologate the musty parchments of King Tom, King Dick, and King Harry. "These be thy Gods, O Israel !" Their charters to the landlords, and the sub-charters by these landlords to others, including conveyances for borrowed money, are the only SACRED WRITS recognised in our Courts of Law. Mark the word "Law". Justice has to take a back seat whenever one of these SACRED WRITS is produced.
All titles to land are fetishes. In this country they are the fetishes of discarded and dead divinities. But such is the power of ignorance and superstition when established and maintained by LAW AND ORDER that these fetishes are held much more sacred now than in the so-called dark ages.
Our Judges are specially paid, and sworn in, not to question these SACRED WRITS. Our National Clergy are also specially paid, and sworn in, to instruct us about the SACREDNESS OF THESE WRITS. There is no water in the sea, and there is no bribery and corruption in the British Isles ! No ! We thank Heaven that we are not governed like other countries, where, as in America, bribery and corruption are sometimes investigated, and even exposed and punished. Our "permanent official" keeps all these things square! We British are a "Christian Nation"! If "agitators" would only keep away, the people would be contented and happy with their hope of glory in heaven. Why should they care about this earth - "this wicked world"? Why should they rebel against LAW AND ORDER? If they do not suffer oppression, misery, injustice, and poverty in this world, where do they expect to go when they die?
Somehow the rich do not act in accordance with a belief in our Creeds and Catechisms, but they nevertheless support by endowments and otherwise the establishment and spread of that unearthly Gospel for the poor! Ogilvie, by the way, makes a mild suggestion about an endowment for "the independence of the plough" - an endowment leading to "virtue and happiness in this world". He believed a little in that sort of thing.
Knowledge is no longer a civil crime. We can, for example, glance at the style of Fetish by which the land in Scotland was seised, and "by virtue of" which it is now held by the landlords. It is called an "Instrument of Sasine" or "Seizin", from the verb "seize". It begins with the words: "IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN !" and then narrates the sacred ceremony by which the landlords required "to complete their title" ! The sole purpose of this ceremony was to declare and promulgate the doctrine of the "divine right of landlords": a doctrine which was superinduced upon Feudalism by the aid of Priestcraft sometime during what we call the dark ages. And it is more than probable that it was during these dark ages that the same pernicious doctrine was ingrafted upon the faiths of Christian Europe. It was this that barred the doors and windows of men's minds against the smallest possible ray of knowledge "in respect to property in land", and hence the ignorance and superstition of "the bulk of mankind in every country", as Ogilvie truly states in his book. The doctrine of the "divine right of landlords", when fully established as an article of Faith in the minds of a people, notwithstanding its ridiculous monstrosity, its opposition to natural justice, and its poisonous effect on the natural feeling of patriotism and love of one's home, is as difficult to dislodge as any other article of Faith.
We get a very bright glimpse of Ogilvie's character where he deals with the "divine rights" by which Landlords and the Clergy levy rent and tithes. He puts these "divine rights" in one basket, and thus disposes of them: "The foundation of both rights, notwithstanding prejudices on either side, is precisely the same, viz., the improvident regulations of municipal law". Not only was he before his own time, but his views are about a century in advance of even the present day. But we can see this only after a careful study of his book, and by reading between the deep furrows which he has turned up for us. He knew from history that it is not by the sword that doctrines and beliefs are instilled into the minds of men. William the Conqueror introduced what is called Feudalism into England, by the Pope's authority, "IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN !" His successor, Henry II., introduced it into Ireland, by the Pope's authority, "IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN !" It was somehow smuggled into Scotland, whether by the Pope's express authority is not known, but that it was done "IN THE NAME OF GOD", and that the Priest said "Amen!" there cannot be a doubt; and on that blasphemous and fraudulent basis it now stands in Democratic, Presbyterian, and Protestant Scotland. It took many centuries to develop itself in the little country of the Scots. Strange to say, the overthrow of the Church of Rome, and the establishment of Protestantism at the Reformation, largely contributed to the establishing of the doctrine of the divine right of landlords in the Scottish mind (1). The Landlords then made themselves the Patrons of the Religion of the people, and they not only "grabbed" all Church lands, but they also "grabbed" all the tithes, allowing only a pittance to the clergy.
We should not forget that all grants of land were originally given in trust for the people, and that the rents were originally levied for public purposes. The landlords were all public officers, but as they by degrees became sole legislators they legalised the embezzlement of all revenue from land. Then they taxed the landless people. They schemed many taxes. But the SINGLE TAX restored would put an end to all these!
It is the right, the duty, and the interest of every citizen to demand the just occupation and taxation of the land, and to insist that the dishonest and criminal administration of private unlimited ownership of land should no longer be tolerated.
The declared object of Ogilvie's book(2), is to show how "property in land might be rendered more beneficial to the lower ranks of mankind". A somewhat dark, unwritten page in British history relates the disgraceful fact that both author and book were boycotted, and that up to this time (1889!) the lower ranks of mankind in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and the British Colonies never heard that such a man lived, far less that he left them such a legacy. "The worthy and humane English landholders", whom he appointed as his literary trustees, evidently neglected their duties to the intended beneficiaries. We may guess that the French Revolution gave these worthies a scare, and that the author was regarded in those days as rather a dangerous man. It would be said that he was dangerous to the community, dangerous to society, and dangerous of course to the NATION - that is, the landholders. He himself anticipated all that: see his Essay [p.46] as to what constitutes "any nation"! But I must leave the reader to find out for himself to what extent the work is based upon truth and justice, and how much the author was prompted by love for mankind as the ruling spirit or chief feature of his character.
The facts known about Ogilvie's life are exceedingly scanty, and would of themselves be of little importance; but when considered along with the conception we form of the man as displayed on every page of his book, the smallest scrap of authentic information will in these days be of some interest, not only to "men of enlarged and inquisitive minds", but also to readers in general. It is in the book, however, and in the book alone, that we meet face to face with the author. Ogilvie instilled his soul into it, and he left us evidence that it was the chief aim of his life. We, therefore, should as soon think of separating the man Isaiah from the Book of Isaiah, as we should of separating the man Ogilvie from the book of Ogilvie.
He is buried in the south transept of the Cathedral in Old Aberdeen. A small tablet in the wall describes him as "William Ogilvie, Esquire of Pittensear, in the County of Moray, and Professor of Humanity in the University and King's College, Aberdeen, who died on the 14th February 1819, aged 83 years". This tablet is enough to make us think that we are unearthing the wrong man. Here we have a landlord who is also a University Professor. We know what landlords in general are, and we also know what no less an authority than Adam Smith said about Universities - that they were "the sanctuaries in which exploded systems and obsolete prejudices found shelter and protection after they had been hunted out of every other corner of the world". When, however, we find Ogilvie hurling this very quotation at his fellow-professors in connection with a University reform he advocated in 1786, and when we also discover that his views and proposals regarding such reform were fully as advanced as his schemes for dealing with property in land, the doubts suggested by the tablet become less formidable.
Ogilvie finished his Essay in 1781, eight years before the French Revolution broke out. He was "well aware that great changes suddenly accomplished are always pregnant with danger", and he said so, as a warning to the "friends of mankind". He studied the question in his own careful way beforehand, and foretold what would happen. But the oppressors and their tools turned a deaf ear to all warnings. Every page of his book is full of humane wisdom, and while he manifests great sympathy for the oppressed, his feelings regarding the oppressors are mingled with a kind of sympathetic pity, rather than pure indignation. His very strong sense of justice was balanced and kept within reasonable bounds by his knowledge of the world's history and his study of the Laws of Nature, and especially his study of human nature.
The present state of "Enlightened Europe", with its growing evil of military despotism, its heaps of wealth in the hands of a limited number of individuals or syndicates, the terrible increase of public debts, the growing struggle for existence, the appearance of old-world evils in new countries, all mainly due to the general neglect of the natural rights of mankind in this matter of property in land, must suggest to the dullest reader that we are still far from realising what the author looked forward to in the last paragraph of his book, and what his compatriot Burns prayed for, and prophesied thus: -
It is impossible to say that such a lover of mankind as William Ogilvie kept himself willingly behind the scenes during his whole life. It is perhaps more correct to say that he did not; and that it is only now that the curtain of error and prejudice is being raised. When we know that even Burns's bright star was almost totally obscured in those dark days, what chance could the like of Ogilvie have had? Burns died of hard work and starvation. He carried about with him a broken heart and a shattered frame from the time he was a mere boy, when he was compelled to overwork himself at the plough, at the scythe, and at the flail, trying to assist his struggling parents to pay an impossible rent. He saw his father murdered - sacrificed on the altar of landlordism, in "Christian", "Bible-loving", "pious", but, then, laird-worshipping Scotland. Burns never recovered from the effects of this landlord oppression to which he was subjected in his youth, and especially the shock of his father's death. Scenes like the following picture of wretched Scotland in those days may have prompted Ogilvie to write his book. It is the "gentleman an' scholar" speaking in the "Twa Dogs": -
THEN LET US PRAY THAT COME IT MAY
(AS COME IT WILL FOR A' THAT,
MAN TO MAN, THE WARLD O'ER,
SHALL BROTHERS BE FOR A' THAT ".
It was in 1775, when Burns was 16 years of age, that his soul was impressed by this painful experience. In his autobiography he says: "My father's generous master(3) died; the farm proved a ruinous bargain; and, to clench the misfortune, we fell into the hands of a factor who sat for the picture I have drawn of one in my tale of 'The Twa Dogs'. There was a freedom from his lease in two years; we retrenched our expenses and lived very poorly. A novel writer might have viewed these scenes with satisfaction; but so did not I. My indignation yet boils at the recollection of the scoundrel factor's insolent, threatening letters, which used to set us all in tears." These words were penned in August 1787, and the scene of 1775 was still burning in the soul of the poet. In the interval Adam Smith published his great work, The Wealth of Nations, in 1776, and Ogilvie's book followed. But we should also notice that another Scotsman was before them, namely, Thomas Spence, who, on 8th November 1775, delivered a lecture before the Philosophical Society of Newcastle, in which he declared, in the strongest terms, that all men "have as equal and just a property in land as they have in liberty, air, or the light and heat of the sun"; and for the printing of that lecture, the Newcastle philosophers, he tells us, "did him the honour to expel him" from their Society.
L__d, man, our gentry care as little
delvers, ditchers, an' sic cattle;
gang as saucy by poor folk
I wad by a stinkin' brock.
notic'd, on our Laird's court-day,
mony a time my heart's been wae,
tenant bodies, scant o' cash,
they maun thole a factor's snash;
stamp an' threaten, curse an swear,
apprehend them, poind their gear;
they maun stan', wi' aspect humble,
hear it a', an' fear an' tremble! "
Burns and Spence belonged to what the world calls the lower orders, whereas William Ogilvie of Pittensear was a born and bred patrician, and was lineally descended from Gillecrist, who was the last Maor Mor of Angus, one of the seven provinces of Celtic Scotland. Ogilvie, like his more distinguished compatriot, Burns, was by birth and lineage an anti-Whig, and, as a man, he must have despised the wirepulling Scotch Whigs of his time as "but a pack o' traitor louns"! He was the only son of James Ogilvie of Pittensear, Morayshire, and of Marjory Steuart of Tannachy, in the neighbouring county of Banff. There is no authentic account of his boyhood, but it may be assumed that he was brought up in the little mansion-house of Pittensear, and that he attended the Grammar School at the county town of Elgin until he left home for College. Pittensear House is within five miles of Elgin.
At the age of nineteen he entered King's College, Aberdeen, as third bursar of his year, 1755-56. He graduated in 1759, and was then appointed Master of the Grammar School at Cullen. He remained in Cullen only for a year. We find him attending the Glasgow University during the winter session of 1760-61, and the Edinburgh University during the winter session of 1761-62. In Glasgow, he studied under Dr. Joseph Black, at the very time that eminent chemist was expounding his great discoveries regarding "Latent Heat and Specific Heat", and when James Watt was busy in his little workshop in the College buildings making his great discoveries. We may safely conjecture that Ogilvie paid many visits to that little shop along with Joseph Black and other frequenters, and we may put it down as a certainty that he did not miss the lectures of Adam Smith, who then occupied the Chair of Moral Philosophy. Among the eminent professors in Edinburgh whose lectures he presumably attended were Dr. Blair, Professor of Rhetoric, author of Lectures on Belles Lettres; Dr. Adam Ferguson, then Professor of Natural Philosophy, afterwards of Moral Philosophy, author of an Essay on the History of Civil Society, and a History of the Progress and Termination of the Roman Republic; and Dr. Cullen, Professor of Chemistry, famous for being the first in Britain to teach chemistry as a science.
Ogilvie was, on the 29th of November 1761, appointed an Assistant Professor of Philosophy in King's College, Aberdeen, "upon the assurance which the members (of the College) gave Lord Deskfoord that he should be chosen into the first vacant office that might happen of a Regent's place". The first vacancy occurred on the 16th of October 1764, when Thomas Reid, Regent and Professor of Philosophy, resigned.
Ogilvie did not begin to teach as a "Professor of Philosophy" in King's College until November 1762, when an engagement under which he was at the time of his appointment, as tutor to a Mr. Graeme, expired. It was also his own desire "not to leave Edinburgh" during the winter of 1761-62; "and, further", says Lord Deskfoord, "he apprehends that his attending the most eminent professors at Edinburgh for this session may qualify him better than he is at present for teaching afterwards in the College of Aberdeen".
It was still the old system of teaching in Aberdeen, and Ogilvie, as a "Professor of Philosophy", was expected to teach the whole circle of the sciences - "the sciences of quantity, of matter, and of mind". There were no separate Professors of Mathematics; of Natural Philosophy, Natural History, Chemistry, or Botany; of Logic or Moral Philosophy, in King's College in those days. The three Regents (who were generally styled "Professors of Philosophy") were expected to teach all these subjects, and also to give lectures on Geology, Meteorology, Astronomy, Natural Theology, Rhetoric, Economics, Jurisprudence, and Politics. The students, under the old system, did not change from one professor to another; but each Regent, in his turn, took the second year's class, and carried on the same students continuously for three years.
In 1765, the year after Ogilvie's appointment as full Regent, he exchanged offices with the Professor of Humanity. This gave him greater scope, as all the students attended the Humanity Class. On the 23rd of September 1765, the Masters approved of the proposed exchange, and from this date Professor Ogilvie taught the Humanity Class until 1817, when, at his own request, an assistant and successor was appointed. "For upwards of half-a-century Prof. Ogilvie was perhaps the most energetic member of Senatus, his decidedly progressive views bringing him not unfrequently into conflict with his more conservative colleagues. The pages of the College Minutes during his incumbency bristle with protests against, and reasons of dissent from, the decision of the majority." (4)
During the period from April 1759, to November 1762, we may take it for granted that Ogilvie lost no opportunity of acquiring such knowledge and accomplishments as he deemed a professor in those days should possess. Besides his attendance at the Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities, it is most probable that he visited England and the Continent, and made himself acquainted with the various systems of teaching carried on in the principal seats of learning in Europe. He was travelling tutor and companion to Alexander, 4th Duke of Gordon, and the fact of the Duke's having visited the Continent is well known, but there is an uncertainty as to the precise date. It may be mentioned that Adam Smith resigned his professorship in Glasgow about the year 1763, on account of his engagement as travelling tutor and companion to Henry, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch, and as Gordon was Buccleuch's senior by three years, it is not improbable that Gordon and Ogilvie visited the Continent about the years l760-6l, or '62. But be this as it may, the reader will not fail to see from The Right of Property in Land that its author not only visited the Continent of Europe, but that he also made a special study of the condition of its people about the latter half of the eighteenth century. He saw the French Revolution coming, and the causes leading up to it: "The widow is gathering nettles for her children's dinner; a perfumed seigneur, delicately lounging in the Îil de BÏuf, hath an alchemy whereby he will extract from her the third nettle, and call it rent." (5)
In Ogilvie's time landlordism was most rampant in his own country. He witnessed the passing of the Act 1747, by which military tenure in all Scotland, and the ancient clan tenure in the Highlands, were respectively abolished; and he must have noticed with much pain the establishment of serfdom which followed. He saw oppression, poverty, and misery introduced by "THE REIGN OF LAW AND ORDER" which then prevailed; and, worst of all, he saw the Scotch peasantry not only submitting to the lawless oppression of the tyrant, but also cringing before the very parasites of squirearchy.
The soul of Justice as well as the soul of Freedom had fled from Scotland in Ogilvie's time, and he himself was compelled to live as a sort of exile in his own country! Reader, do not, therefore, wonder that in his book on the Land Question, while he referred [in his original unedited Essay] to almost every country in the world, he was obliged to draw his pen through Scotland and its people. He refers to England like an Englishman, to Ireland like an Irishman, and he even stands up as a patriot for Orissa and Bengal; but he draws the line sharp and clear when we find him referring to England, Bengal, Egypt, Ireland, "or the northern counties of England"! On consulting his compatriot and contemporary, Burns, I am satisfied that the omission of all reference to Scotland proceeded from sheer disgust at the utterly slavish condition of his countrymen at the time he wrote. His only hope lay in the adoption by Scotland of the English Revolution principles of 1688. If the Scots, the Irish, and also the French had joined in that Revolution and assisted the English in selecting a MAN, instead of a Prince, as chief trustee of those rights and liberties which the Revolution gave birth to, it would have been better for all. Peace and Reform, instead of war and tyranny, would have followed. It was the Prince of Orange that, in 1692, granted the warrant for the Massacre of Glencoe. He, and the intriguers who procured, and the savages who executed, the royal mandate, ought to have been suspended. Scotland was evidently denied English justice as well as English liberty. The Revolutions of 1715 and 1745 were natural consequences. Some time after 1745, Scotland was made a recruiting ground for an army and a navy used in maintaining the slave trade, and also in fighting against American Independence. Add to this the effect of internal strife between creeds and factions, a corrupt executive government, not to mention landlord oppression, and the words knavery and slavery will suggest themselves as applicable to the condition of the inhabitants of Scotland then. In Ogilvie's time many thousands were forced to emigrate "in search of their natural rights".
Thomas Muir, Younger of Huntershill, a member of the Scottish Bar, but better known as the "Political Martyr of 1793", was on the 30th August of that year tried before the High Court at Edinburgh, for the crime of having attended one or two public meetings in connection with the extension of the franchise, which was then strictly limited to landlords. For this heinous crime he was sentenced to fourteen years transportation - to death, it may be said, for the sentence directly led to a premature grave. The trial was conducted in the most insulting way possible, not to speak of the treasonable manner in which a landlord judge and jury (a servile Bar aiding and abetting) trampled the British Constitution under foot. As for justice, there was not even the form of it observed. The jury was a packed one. It consisted of nine landlords, one bookseller, two bankers, and three Edinburgh merchants; and when one of these merchants (Mr. John Horner) was passing the bench to get into the box, Lord Braxfield, in a whisper, addressed him thus: "Come awa, Maister Horner, come awa, and help us to hang ane o' thae damned scoundrels". The same judge was in the habit of saying, when any legal difficulty occurred in framing libels against such criminals as Thomas Muir, William Ogilvie, or Robert Burns: "Let them bring me prisoners and I'll find them law".
I should have preferred not to soil these pages with the name of Braxfield, but as I believe he betrayed his knowledge of Ogilvie's book, by making the worst possible use of it at Muir's trial, I am disposed to return good for evil by doing his Lordship the honour of giving a quotation from his speech on that occasion, and placing it alongside Ogilvie as a first-rate argument in favour of the SINGLE TAX.
A government in every country should be just like a corporation, and in this country it is made up of THE LANDED INTEREST, WHICH ALONE HAS A RIGHT TO BE REPRESENTED. AS FOR THE RABBLE, WHO HAVE NOTHING BUT PERSONAL PROPERTY, WHAT HOLD HAS THE NATION OF THEM? WHAT SECURITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF THEIR TAXES? THEY MAY PACK UP ALL THEIR PROPERTY ON THEIR BACKS AND LEAVE THE COUNTRY IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE, BUT LANDED PROPERTY CANNOT BE REMOVED. - The Martyrs of Reform in Scotland, by A. H. MILLER.
Ogilvie.It is indeed the landed property of the nation that is ultimately and solely engaged for all national debts; every other species of property may be concealed, transferred, or withdrawn, when the demand for payment is apprehended. It is therefore to be wished, for the security of public credit . . . that property in land were exceedingly divided; so that every person had a share. . . . It becomes even the interest of the great landholders, that such a distribution of property in land should take place . . . . So that every member (of society) may be rendered responsible for the public debt. [from a section of Ogilvies Essay omitted in this edition.]
It is interesting to note that Burns wrote his Revolution song, "Scots! wha hae wi' Wallace bled", in September 1793, immediately after the sentence of Thomas Muir. On the 30th of the same month he presented to the Subscription Library of Dumfries a copy of De Lolme on the British Constitution, on which he inscribed the following words: "Mr. Burns presents this book to the Library, and begs they will take it as a creed of British Liberty, until they find a better. - R.B.". The significance of this present at the time he composed "Scots! wha hae", and when Thomas Muir and other worthy "sons" were in "chains", will be clearly understood from the following passage which DE LOLME quotes, in Chapter XIV. of his book, from Blackstone's Commentaries on the Law of England (Book I., Cap.I.), in reference to the lawfulness of Revolution, whenever the rights of the people are trampled upon.
Blackstone says: - "And lastly, to vindicate those rights, when actually violated or attacked, the subjects of England are entitled, in the first place, to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law; next, to the right of petitioning the King and Parliament for redress of grievances; and lastly, TO THE RIGHT OF HAVING AND USING ARMS FOR SELF-PRESERVATION AND DEFENCE".
These were the principles of the English Revolution settlement of 1688, and upon which the British Constitution was based. Considering the very complete knowledge of the legal rights of British citizens, that Burns possessed through his study of De Lolme's admirable book, and his own very keen sense of man's natural rights, together with his extreme abhorrence at all forms of injustice, and especially when such injustice is perpetrated in the name of LAW AND ORDER, we need not waste much time in speculating as to how he felt on hearing the result of Thomas Muir's trial. It is enough to say that he there and then composed a war song for Scotland - a Marseillaise!
He himself has not left us in any doubt. Here are his words: - "I showed the air ('Hey tuttie taitie') to Urbani (6), who was highly pleased with it, and begged me to make soft verses to it; but I had no idea of giving myself any trouble on the subject till the accidental recollection of that glorious struggle for freedom, associated with the glowing ideas of some other struggles of the same nature, not quite so ancient, roused my rhyming mania" (7). Mark the words, not quite so ancient, which Burns himself puts in italics. Then let us ask ourselves whether this soul-stirring Ode was not a real cry to arms against Braxfield and Company? Let us look at the Ode itself and the short prayer to God with which it concludes, and ask ourselves whether Burns had the English Edward or the Scotch landlords in his mind's eye at the time he wrote it, and let us not forget that he thoroughly approved of adopting the English Constitution in Scotland, and that he by no means wished to revive old national feuds.
The words "my yesternight's evening walk", were changed by Dr. Currie into "my solitary wanderings", and this error was not discovered until shortly before Mr. Robert Chambers of Edinburgh published his edition of Burn's works in 1857. Dr. Currie's edition was published specially for behoof of Burns's widow and children, and many things were suppressed through fear of being boycotted by the "classes". It will be seen that the news of the brutal sentence passed on Thomas Muir would reach Dumfries, in those days, on 31st August or 1st September 1793. The "yesternight's evening walk" which produced "Scots wha hae" must have been on Sunday the 1st or Monday the 2nd, and Burns must have despatched it on the 2nd or 3rd, more probably the 2nd, as Mr Thomson says he read it to some friends in Edinburgh on the 4th.
Mr. Thomson wanted Burns to alter this ode, but Burns refused. He writes on 15th September, in reply to Mr. Thomson, stating that the proposed alterations would "make it tame". "I have (he said) scrutinised it over and over; and to the world, some way or other, it shall go as it is." The world's verdict is in favour of the poet. "So long (says Carlyle) as there is warm blood in the heart of Scotchman or man, it will move in fierce thrills under this war ode; the best we believe that was ever written by any pen."
So may God ever defend the cause of Truth and Liberty as He did that day! Amen!
By Oppression's woes and pains!
your Sons in servile chains!
will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!
the proud Usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
LIBERTY'S in every blow! -
Let us Do - or Die !!! "
- R.B. "
Here we have Burns at bay. There were then only 2652 Parliamentary voters in Scotland (8). This number included all the landed gentry and their faggots. These were undoubtedly the "proud usurpers" who caused the "oppressions, woes, and pains", referred to by our patriot bard.
We must not forget another circumstance. When Thomas Muir was apprehended on 2nd January 1793, Burns was at that very time being court-marshalled by the Board of Excise for a similar crime! On 5th January, in a letter to his friend Mrs. Dunlop, he says: "The political blast that threatened my welfare is overblown". On the same day he writes to Mr. Graham of Fintry, who was mainly instrumental in shielding him from that "blast", making the solemn promise - "henceforth I seal my lips".
What happened in the interval between the 5th of January and September 1793, the reader already knows. He also knows that Burns broke his vow. The soul of Burns could not be caged. The theme of LIBERTY was a part of it, and death only could close those lips. He was not a coward. The man who wrote -
Wha will be a traitor knave?
- in September 1793, meant what he said. He meant Revolution. We must not go about the bush in stating this. To do so would imply a cowardly slander on Burns. Alas! Caledonia -
can fill a coward's grave?
sae base as be a slave?
him turn and flee! "
For nine weary months Burns waits in vain for a response to his song of war: Scotland was no longer the land of the free. To the eye of Burns it was now the very burying ground of Liberty. The great soul of the poet is then borne away on its own soliloquy: -
Where is thy soul of freedom fled? "
Swiftly seek, on clanging wings, TO HIS COUNTRYMEN HE BIDS THIS FAREWELL: -
Other lakes and other springs;
the foe you cannot brave,
Scorn at least to be its slave. "
AND HE HAILS THE AMERICANS THUS: -
Avaunt! thou caitiff servile, base,
That tremblest at a despot's nod,
crouching under the iron rod,
Canst laud the arm that struck the insulting blow!
thou of Man's imperial line?
boast that countenance divine?
Each skulking feature answers, No! "
But come, ye sons of Liberty,
Columbia's offspring, brave as free,
danger's hour still flaming in the van,
Ye KNOW, and dare maintain,
the ROYALTY OF MAN ! "
These lines are quoted from the Ode to LIBERTY, a stanza of which was sent by the poet to Mrs. Dunlop in June 1794. The remainder was imMUIRED until 1872 (!), when Mr. Robert Clarke of Cincinnati purchased the original manuscript in London, and to him the world is indebted for its first publication. This Ode forms a key to the real intention, feeling, and purpose of "Scots! wha hae". They should be read together. And if the reader wants to see further into the soul of Burns, in regard to the theme of LIBERTY, from and after September 1793, he will find Scotland dealt with precisely as in Ogilvie's book. His "TREE OF LIBERTY", composed in 1794 (but boycotted until 1838) (9),ends with these lines:
Syne let us pray, AULD ENGLAND may
Sure plant this far-famed tree, man;
blythe we'll sing, and hail the day
That gave us LIBERTY, man. "
This and other Odes by Burns expressing similar sentiments are still boycotted. W. Scott Douglas and A. Cunningham found fault with Robert Chambers for publishing such Odes. Robert Chambers himself says, that - "Is there for honest poverty" embodies "all the false philosophy of Burns' time, and of his own mind". These cringing editors have done much injustice to the "honest fame" of Burns. They should have seen themselves as others see them, in the Poet's letter of 13th April 1793, to Erskine of Mar, where he says - "I have often, in blasting anticipation, listened to some hackney scribbler, with the heavy malice of savage stupidity, exulting in his hireling paragraphs". These editors knew about the real date of "Scots! wha hae", as far back as 1839.
And in the eighty-four preceding lines, the word "Britain" occurs twice, while, as in Ogilvie's book, Scotland is conspicuous by its absence! But this is not all, - precisely like Ogilvie, he draws the line sharp and clear, thus: -
But seek the forest round and round,In the next verse a painful view of Scotland appears between the lines: -
And soon 'twill be agreed, man,
sic a tree can not be found
'Twixt London and the Tweed, man ".
In the year 1795 the lessons of the French Revolution were beginning to make some headway in Scotland. An invasion was imminent. The NATION then evidently saw that although "landed property cannot be removed", the removal of the landlords presented very little difficulty. What a pity the "rabble" did not see eye to eye with the "NATION" at that time! The rabble were then invoked to defend their king and country. Mark the words "their country". Volunteer (?) corps were formed in many districts in Scotland, Dumfries included. Burns had to join, and was forced to incur a deathbed debt in buying a uniform. In a ballad headed "The Dumfries Volunteers", composed in 1795, Scotland is again conspicuous by its absence: -
Without this tree, alake this life
is but a vale o' woe, man;
scene o' sorrow mixed wi' strife,
Nae real joys WE know, man.
labour soon, WE labour late,
To feed the titled knave, man;
a' the comfort WE'RE to get
Is that ayont the grave, man. "
These lines also form a key to "Scots! wha hae". Numerous keys can be had. Take, for instance, the following lines written by him in 1794 in a lady's pocketbook: -
Oh, let us not like snarling curs
In wrangling be divided,
slap, come in an unco loon,
And wi' a rung decide it.
Britain still to Britain true,
Amang oursel's united;
never but by British hands
Maun British wrangs be righted. "
Grant me, indulgent Heaven, that I may live
These, it is obvious, were living miscreants, not the followers of "Proud Edward", and it is to them, and them alone, that he refers in September 1793, when he uses the words: -
see the miscreants feel the pains they give:
Freedom's sacred treasures free as air,
slave and despot be but things that were. "
Burns, like Ogilvie, was a philosophical admirer of English freedom as well as an ardent believer in the Revolution principles of 1688. He was not the man to revive Border feuds. The reference to Wallace and Bruce in "Scots! wha hae", doubtless was intended to rouse and stir up the "rabble" of 1793. The "woes and pains" and "servile chains" have nothing to do with England or "Proud Edward". Burns was thoroughly loyal to the British Constitution: at a volunteer festive gathering in 1795, when asked to give a toast, the following are the concluding lines of it: -
Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty's in every blow!
Let us Do - or Die !!! "
" And here's the grand fabric,
These are brave words; and we can almost see not only the Dumfries gentry (9), but also the Edinburgh gentry, "Old Braxy" included, cringing under the truth, justice, and heroism which inspired the soul of the author of "Scots! wha hae". In a country under tyrannical rule, as Scotland was then, it was only natural that about one half of the people should be Government spies and the other half cowards. Burns, although he was an excise-man at £50 a year, and only £35 when off duty on account of ill-health, was not a spy. Various attempts were made to coerce him to join the other party; and his faith was often put to the test in connection with "Loyal" toasts. On such occasions he took the opportunity of trampling on the maggots and flies which were then changing the British Constitution into a veritable mass of corruption. These parasites gloried in toasting "King and Country!" Their Country! and their King! Yet they expected the "rabble" not only to respond to such toasts, but, when any battles had to be fought on behalf of the "NATION", the "rabble" were expected to do this also. Nay, the "rabble" were, as a rule, coerced to fight the "NATION'S" battles. In the West Highlands, men were hunted, caught, and, if they refused to be sworn in, they were bound hand and foot, and thrown into a dungeon in the laird's house. They were dragged out of this dungeon once a day, and the soles of their feet, after being first rubbed with grease, were held up to a roasting fire. This repeated ordeal, as a rule, led to all the swearing-in required even in the making of a dragoon. In the Eastern Highlands (Aberdeenshire), "hanging by the heels" was sometimes resorted to as a preliminary to swearing-in.
Our FREE CONSTITUTION,
As built on the base of the GREAT REVOLUTION;
And longer with politics not to be crammed,
Be anarchy cursed, and be tyranny damned;
And who would to LIBERTY e'er prove disloyal,
May his son be a hangman, and he his first trial ! "
Auld Willie MacPherson of Loch Kinnord, an octogenarian, who died a few years ago, used to tell of a widow's only son, who was murdered by the laird in that way. An eye-witness had described to him "what a terrible thing it was to see the poor fellow hanging by the feet, and the blood pouring out of his nose, eyes, and ears". This sight was, doubtless, intended to be a "terrible" one. Yes, to serfs and cowards. But to any human beings worthily called men or women, such a sight would be revolting, and we may assume that atrocious spectacles of that kind are possible only in countries where the inhabitants are brutalized by tyranny, and the human soul is steeped in the ignorance and superstition of priestcraft. We may safely conjecture that the parish clergyman dined with the laird the same day the murder was committed, and that he afterwards visited the sonless widow, and lectured her from The Larger Catechism "as to the great sin her foolish and wicked son had committed in rebelling against God's authority, of which the laird was only the instrument".
Burns and Ogilvie could not possibly be anything else than Revolutionists. They were not, however, tried before an Edinburgh jury; neither was Moses tried before an Egyptian Braxfield. Poor Thomas Muir did not grasp the nettle firmly enough. He was only a Reformer, and, being somewhat lamb-like in his ways, he was considered a tender morsel by the "hounds which growl in the Kennel of Justice", as Burns describes the Scotch Executive of Law and Order of his time.
Thomas Muir wanted to extend the franchise - to give people a paper vote - a phantom reform - which, compared with Ogilvie's scheme, may be described as a system of political tinkering, giving rise to disappointment on the one hand, and dis-satisfaction with increased discontentment on the other. Ogilvie's equal-share-in-the-land would carry with it, as the law of representation then stood, not only manhood suffrage, but womanhood suffrage also. And why not?
Ogilvie's single and simple remedy was quite ample for sweeping away the double and compound evils of modern landlordism, and we now see what a wise and practical radical reformer he was. But how sad to think, that we, in the British Isles, who boast so much of our civilization, are still kept in ignorance of those elementary truths regarding our natural rights. Yes, kept! It seems to be the special duty of those who "fatten on the wages of servility" to keep the people as ignorant as possible. And until recently any "agitator" who dared to instruct his fellow-men, in regard to their rights, was held guilty of high treason and sedition. This, by the way, is still a crime, not only in Ireland, but also in England and Scotland. Have we not lately witnessed the degradation of these so-called "free countries" by the arrest of Irish refugees on British soil. These things act as a spur to the slow but sure Revolution now going on in Ireland, and partly in Scotland; and no one can wisely grudge a little spurring. The BRITISH CONSTITUTION is no longer "the glory of Britons and the envy of foreign nations", as our parochial essayists used to tell us. Even England - "merry England" - the "home of freedom" - is not now so merry or so free as she once was; but it requires no prophet to foresee that her time of wakening up, and reverting to the Revolution principles of 1688 as a basis of restoring the Rights of her People, and the happiness of their homes, cannot be far distant.
Let us now look at the contents of a small but interesting manuscript - interesting to the reader of THE RIGHT OF PROPERTY IN LAND. It is unsigned, but it is undoubtedly in the handwriting of Professor Ogilvie: -
" PITTENSEAR, September 12th 1776.
" It seems highly probable that this distemper, what-ever be its nature, will remove me from the present scene.
" I ought surely to depart without reluctance and repining, having abundant reason to return thanks for that portion of life and that measure of good which I have already enjoyed, which seems to have exceeded, at least in tranquillity and contentment, the common standard of what is allowed to man. I have only to implore that some time may be allowed for the settlement of the affairs I leave behind me, and, if possible, to reduce into some form a synopsis at least of those contemplations and schemes which have occurred at various times to my mind, as of importance to the general welfare of mankind and the improvement of their present state.
" It ought to be my care to apply with assiduity whatever time is given to these respective purposes, but without anxiety or repining, because both these must necessarily be left very incomplete; to turn away my thoughts from all that is probable to take place in my affairs when I am here no more, except so far as may be useful in suggesting useful direction to my nearest friends to be left them in writing, but without subjection to any positive commands. May it please that Sovereign Power, from whom I have received so many good gifts, to grant me now euqanasia [euthanasia] an easy and tranquil dismission from this mortal stage, or, if that may not be, at least may He vouchsafe that amid the pain and agonies through which I am to pass my patience may be sustained and the use of my reasoning powers remain undisturbed to the last parting pang. "
Pittensear, the reader already knows, was Professor Ogilvie's ancestral home. The date suggests many digressions which must be brushed aside. But one or two may be glanced at. The 4th of July 1776, had just given birth to the great American Republic, and the news of the event was creating some stir in the Mother Country. The domineering British landlords - the NATION ! - were busy enlisting the sons of the British "rabble" -
To cowe the rebel generation,The ignorant "rabble" enlisted and agreed to cut the throats of their cousins in America. It was Law and Order, and they were sworn by all that's holy to fight for their King and Country! But in reality they fought for the purpose of coercing the Americans to pay a tax upon tea, imposed by British landlords, to enable themselves to pocket more of the rents earned by the cultivators of British soil.
save the honour o' the NATION ! "
It is quite plain that the Wealth of Nations (published in 1776) did not come up to Ogilvie's expectations in regard to property in land. There is no doubt Adam Smith was boycotted by the Law and Order of those times, and coerced to modify and delete whole chapters referring to the landlords, as being seditious and unfit for publication. Ogilvie, as we have seen, had regard to a higher "power" than the Law and Order of a set of petty tyrants, when he formed his resolution to publish his
Safe in their barns, these Sabine tillers sent
brethren out to battle - why? - for rent:
after year they voted cent. per cent.,
Blood, sweat, and tear-wrung millions - why?
- for rent!
roar'd, they dined, they drank, they swore
they meant die for England
- why then live? - for rent ! " (10)
"contemplations and schemes". His book is a monument of truth, wisdom, and courage. His magnanimity was unbounded; his heart overflowed with love and genuine sympathy towards mankind. Like Moses, he set himself to free an enslaved people: enslaved, because ignorant of their natural rights; powerless, because wanting the source of all power - knowledge. Like Moses, he advises mankind to take their stand, upon the earth, by practically adopting the First Commandment - Thou shalt have no other gods, dukes, earls, lords, landlords, or other land-grabbers, coming between you and the Creator of the earth, as regards the birthright of every human creature. He regarded not the alleged heavenly rights of earthly kings or their vassals. The golden calf of commercial landlordism he detested even more than all the superstitious kingcraft and priestcraft of ancient Egypt.
It is evident that The Right of Property in Land was the great aim of his life. Nay, more, we can see that it came forth from his soul as the fulfilment of a sacred undertaking with "that Sovereign Power, from whom", he acknowledges with overwhelming gratitude, he "received so many good gifts". He was then in his fortieth year. His health had utterly broken down through over-study and sedentary habits (11). He recovered his health, and lived for upwards of forty-two years after this. He, however, did not allow much time to pass before he reduced "into form those contemplations and schemes which [had] occurred at various times to [his] mind as of importance to the general welfare of mankind and the improvement of their present state". The receipt for the cost of printing "The Right of Property in Land . . . and The Regulations by which it might be rendered more beneficial to the lower Ranks of Mankind", is dated 25th August 1781.
It is interesting to consider the manuscript of Ogilvie's Essay and the "synopsis" to which it undoubtedly refers. From the title page we can go to the Introduction, and there we find more of the Pittensear schemes "gradually unfolded". These schemes, it is of some importance to note, are the result of the author's "own opinions, thinking freely and for himself". He tells us [in original unedited Essay] that "the leading principles of that system, which he now holds, respecting property in land have been coeval in his mind with the free exercise of his thoughts in speculative inquiries; they have recurred often, they have been gradually unfolded, and for some years past he has been accustomed to review them frequently, almost in their present form, with still increasing approbation".
Here we have a candid and straightforward author whose opinions, he himself tells us, are new. "All that he would request in their favour (and the candid will readily grant this) is, that they may not be rejected on a first disgust, and that those who cannot adopt the opinions here advanced may at least bestow some pains in ascertaining their own!"
There is a gentle touch of humane irony in these concluding words which is characteristic of the author. Other gentle touches will be met with throughout the work, but they are sometimes so very gentle that it is even possible to misapply them, as in the case of the words, "The poor you have always with you". For example, how seldom these words are interpreted thus: "The poor you have always with you . . .".
In the year 1786 Professor Ogilvie took the lead in an attempt to reform the system of education in the North of Scotland. Nothing could have surpassed in perfection the system of graduation which the Masters of King's College carried on in Ogilvie's time. Three days before the examination day, the questions, and also the answers thereto, were dictated by the masters to the students. This scientific mode of incubation, together with the laying on of hands and the incantation of the "graduation oath" could scarcely fail to bring forth a fully-fledged M.A. from almost every egg in the academic nest. The Professors had so little to do in those days that it was perhaps found expedient to have such a gavelkind system of distributing University honours as a sort of make-show. In the year 1770 the number of students in Marischal College was "near 120, and not above half that number at the King's". This was equal to an average of six pupils for each of the ten Masters of King's College, or, more correctly, eight or nine of a class for each teaching master, when we leave out the three sinecurists who were "never known to teach a class". (Excepting in one instance, where a Principal, who had been found guilty of having forged a Charter and an Act of Parliament, and of having committed "dilapidations," or "peculations " rather, of College revenues, was sentenced to lecture twice a week! (12)
But Professor Ogilvie had other evils to put up with as a member of King's College. His colleagues not only alienated some of the lands belonging to the College, but they misapplied and "misappropriated" College funds. They also disposed of the patronage of no less than fifteen churches, and, worse still, the right of presentation to twenty bursaries. The great landlords were the purchasers of these saleable commodities, and in this way they became the private owners of rights and duties which, until then, were held by the Professors in trust for the public. The money received for Church patronage has been accounted for, but the price of the other articles of commerce was appropriated by the Masters as their own private property. It became "money in their purse"!
It is superfluous to mention that Professor Ogilvie was not a silent witness or a consenting party to such proceedings. He was now in his fiftieth year, and finding that he had protested in vain as a member of Senatus for the long period of twenty-two years, he resolved to carry his appeal to the bar of public opinion.
A paper which was printed and circulated at this time, bearing the title "OUTLINES OF A PLAN for Uniting the King's and Marischal Universities of Aberdeen, with a view to render the System of Education more complete", contains strong internal evidence that it came from Ogilvie's pen. It proposed various improvements, and, among others, that all sinecures should be abolished. The whole of the Professors of Marischal College were favourable to the scheme, but seven out of the ten Professors of King's College, the "seven wise Masters" as they were called, opposed it; and the reforms planned by Ogilvie in 1786 were not carried out until 1860.
Professor Ogilvie looked upon Universities as public institutions, and he considered that professors were merely public servants as regards teaching, and Trustees for the public as regards endowments, buildings, libraries, &c. The Masters of King's College who obstructed the proposed University reforms held very different views from Ogilvie. They not only scorned the idea of being considered public servants, but they unblushingly claimed the University and its endowments as their own private property. And why not? The seven obstructionists (of whom only three were sinecurists!) doubtless believed that their position, as a whole, was more justifiable than that of the landholders, who, as a rule, are all sinecurists, but whose "pensions and salaries" are by law established.
His letters concerning the affairs of the University furnish the only instance in Professor Ogilvie's life, where we find him revealing himself in his true character, as defender of the rights of the people; excepting another glimpse in 1764, when his name prominently appears in connection with a scheme for a Public Library in Aberdeen, which was to embrace the libraries of the Universities. With the exception of these two glimpses, Professor Ogilvie, as far as known, never disclosed his name to the public in connection with anything he did, or attempted to do, during the whole course of his long life. He loved tranquillity, and avoided publicity. It is not improbable that, after due deliberation, he came to the conclusion that his contemplations and schemes for the general welfare of mankind would have more effect if published anonymously than otherwise. His Right of Property in Land was read on the continent of Europe, as the work of an Englishman, who advocated the abolition of serfdom, and who was able to say: "Look at us English, how we have prospered since we became a free people, - you French, Germans, Poles, Russians, &c., want a revolution very badly, we had our last one in 1688; you are a full century behind us".
Professor Ogilvie must have rejoiced in the abolition of serfdom in France. The Revolution of 1789, ghastly in some respects, was only the natural outcome of what preceded it.
He also lived to rejoice in the still more sweeping land tenure reforms carried out in Prussia. "Nothing, probably", says Professor Fawcett, "has so powerfully contributed to promote the extraordinary progress of Prussia as the reforms which were carried out in her system of landed tenure, at the com-mencement of the present century, by Stein and Hardenberg. A feudal tenantry was transformed into cultivating proprietors, who have, probably more than any other class, contributed to the social and material advancement of Prussia." (13) These reforms were doubtless planned by Frederick the Great, and no reader of The Right of Property in Land would be surprised to learn that a copy of that work, marked "13with the author's compliments", was found inter alia in the repositories of that famous monarch. Such a discovery would not be more surprising than that Professor Ogilvie had something to do with the land tenure reforms carried out by Lord Cornwallis in lower Bengal, in the year 1793.
Thomas Muir had a copy of The Rights of Man in his possession, and this was made the principal crime for which he was banished. Burns, in order to escape a similar fate, had to hide his copy, and The Age of Reason, with the blacksmith of Dumfries. Professor Ogilvie's works would be considered more criminal than these. The man who dared to deny the divine origin of rents and tithes, and, moreover, who boldly defined them as "the improvident regulations of human law", and who was able to cite Moses as his authority, would, doubtless, be considered more dangerous than the renowned Thomas Paine. It was, perhaps, on this account that no lair could be found in the Aberdeen University Library for a copy of The Right of Property in Land, while The Rights of Man did find a place in that consecrated ground. One of the books which Professor Ogilvie had beside him when he died, was the University Library copy of The Rights of Man; and it is not improbable that the very last stroke of his pen was employed in reviewing that book, or in revising a new work on The Rights of Man to the Land - how lost, and how to be regained.
The schemes of Ogilvie, this "ingenious and accomplished recluse", pointed towards the possibility of Paradise regained, even on this earth. He had no grudge against the creator for having made the earth as it is - he declared against monopoly in land. His "projects for the good of mankind" will stand the test of time. When Macaulay's New Zealander visits England, it is not the ruins of her edifices that will engage his thoughts, but her neglected fields. It is there he will read the story of her decline and fall. The game is the same everywhere. A corrupt dog-in-the-manger governing class is formed, and idleness and taxes are enforced on a landless people, with the usual and consequent miseries, vices and crimes. This lesson is being learned even in America and Australia, with their men and women starving in the large cities, and compelled to
' beg a brother of the earth
give them leave to toil'.
The Land Question lessons in Joseph's life, and elsewhere occurring in Holy Writ, are systematically ignored and misrepresented by the majority of the clergy, bribed and corrupted by despots and politicians. A sermon, finding fault with Joseph, in regard to slavery, extortion, and evictions, or commending him for the comparatively moderate rents he fixed, would be apt, not only to displease The powers that be, but would be considered sedition and treason in some quarters. The clergy are, therefore, quite mum on the subject of all earthly things (tithes alone excepted), until there is some proposal to restore the land to the people, and then they out-lawyer the lawyers in maintaining what they call the "law of the land". They mean the law of the landlords. And they scruple not to hold up Moses (the Prince of Revolutionists) as a pattern of Law and Order! Even the Apostle Paul, who was treated as a rebel against Law and Order during the whole of his Christian life, is claimed as the principal godfather of "The Powers that be"! Paul had no faith in the Divine Right of tyrants, landlords, and magistrates.
In THE CONFESSION OF FAITH and CATECHISM, formulated by the English Divines of 1643, and adopted by the Scotch landlords in 1649 and 1690, as the "CONFESSION of the CHURCH of SCOTLAND", we can study the relation between the English divines (of Westminster) and the Scotch landlords. It is significant to note that the latter, in Parliament assembled, on 5th February, 1649, proclaimed Charles II. King and Pope of Scotland; and, two days thereafter, they adopted this English Confession and Catechism - this weapon of extortion and eviction - this device by which the Divine Right of Landlords has been made an article of the Christian Faith in Scotland. The clergy got a little bribe at this time. The landlords gave up Church Patronage. But the Merry Monarch restored this Divine Right to the landlords after he was made King, Pope, and god of England. Again, and accompanied with the very same bribe (14), the Scotch landlords, in 1690, re-adopted this English Confession and Catechism, as the "Confession of the Church of Scotland". The English had a Revolution in 1688, and one can easily see why the landlords of Scotland resorted to this ecclesiastical dodge of humbugging the people. The clergy were made to subscribe this Confession, and if they did not preach up to it, they perjured their souls. The Confession enjoined that the 'Powers are ordained of God', and that the "virtues and graces" of Charles II., George IV., and the absentee landlords, described in The Twa Dogs, are to be imitated by the people! It is impossible to estimate the amount of evil wrought in Scotland by this document.
In 1844 Mr. Disraeli was evidently a formidable Land Leaguer, but, owing to the worship of landlordism by all "sects" of "religionists" at that time, he was powerless. Even a "respectable body of dissidents" like the newly-instituted democratic Free Church of Scotland, although the undoubted offspring of a revolt against a "factitious aristocracy", would not give him the least support. No wonder he, in 1849, when famine and eviction were doing their cruel work in Ireland and Scotland, "recognised in the Church the most powerful agent" of landlordism! The clergy then declared that famine and eviction were "visitations from God, sent as trials on the Faith of His own people"! The poor people - poor devils - "believed and trembled"! The League between religionists and landlords was a powerful one.
Many a kind-hearted and naturally noble-minded clergyman has fallen a victim to the ancient rules of his order. He is sworn to obey these rules in the same way as a judge is sworn to administer unjust laws. The root of the evil is landlordism. It is with its "spoil" that sovereigns, priests, judges, landlords, professors, policemen, soldiers, and other public servants are debased, corrupted, and bribed. "That exclusive right to the improvable value of the soil which a few men are permitted to engross", as defined by Professor Ogilvie [Essay, p.43], is "a most oppressive privilege, by the operation of which the happiness of mankind has been for ages more invaded and restrained, than by all the tyranny of kings, the imposture of priests, and the chicane of lawyers, taken together, though these are supposed to be the greatest evils that afflict the societies of humankind".
We pause at these words, and as they enter our souls we get a glimpse of the sage that penned them. We realise his animated presence within ourselves, in combination with the quickening truth presented to our understanding. Here we have the essence of Political Economy - the Land Gospel - compressed within the small compass of seventy-two words; and in one word - the word "permitted" - he has revealed to us both the diagnosis and the cure of the "greatest evils that afflict the societies of humankind". "A few men are permitted (by the many!) to engross a most oppressive privilege - the exclusive right to the improvable value of the soil." This is the real cause why the happiness of the many has been invaded and restrained for ages! Kings, priests, and lawyers are merely scare-crows and puppets, and "a few men are permitted" to pull the strings! We have this fact on the undoubted authority of a man who was himself one of the "few", namely Professor Ogilvie.
In withdrawing the permission, which is the simple cure suggested, there is no word in his teaching about the question of compensation - not even as a temporary obstacle. In the case, however, of real property, created by labour, he would fully compensate the real labourer for all loss sustained in connection with any of his benevolent schemes of land reform. The landholder has a right only to the "improved" - the created - value of the soil. He has no right to the "original and contingent value". "That must still reside in the community at large, and, though seemingly neglected or relinquished, may be claimed at pleasure by the legislature, or by the magistrate, who is the public trustee."
The land belongs to "the community at large" ! We must not narrow the Land Question, as merely affecting the labourers or tenants of the soil, and their Lords and masters. Those who are not directly connected with these Lords of Creation are equally interested. The robbery which the landless labourers permit, in the shape of indirect taxation and expatriation, is more fraudulent, more pernicious, more cruel, more extensive and wide-spread than the robbery of rent. Land rent, however, we must not forget, is the root of all the robbery - the taxation of the landless people being merely the outcome. This is so very obvious, that I feel a kind of shame in mentioning it. Yet it is a fact we steadily ignore. We forget that the land belongs to the Nation - to the People - and that its rent is a national fund which should be used for national purposes - for the equal benefit of the whole People. We forget that the mere withdrawal of our permission of the abuse of National funds would leave us with a handsome surplus every year, after providing for free libraries, free schools, and free universities; and that all taxes and excise customs on industry or articles of consumption would cease to be necessary. We forget about the numbers of widows, orphans, aged or disabled workers, and other fit subjects of benevolence, who ought to be provided with pensions out of such a surplus, in a country which boasts of the Christian Faith. We forget the many lessons of the past, and we forget that we have permitted ourselves to get into this condition of forgetfulness, entirely through ignorance - positive ignorance - inculcated by the traditional tools of statecraft tyranny of the most pernicious kind ever known to exist, namely, landlordism.
Why is it that the laws of Moses have been disregarded as to Property in Land? Why is it that the gospel of Jesus has been topsy-turvied, perverted, and made subservient to landlordism and slavery? Why is it that such works as George Buchanan's De Jure Regni, John Locke's Civil Government, Professor Ogilvie's Right of Property in Land, and Henry George's Progress and Poverty are not read in every cottage, and authorised to be taught in every school in the three kingdoms? And why is it that "A man's a man for a' that" is not sung as a sacred song, in every church, chapel, and Sunday-school, not only in the "Land of Burns", but in every land where the English language is spoken?
Submission to ignorance is a breach of Natural Law, and every breach of Natural Law is duly followed by its appropriate punishment. Such a transgression on the part of an individual, and most certainly on the part of a community, is followed by slavery, poverty, and misery. Kings, priests, judges, University professors, and even policemen, the moment they are permitted to forget their position as public servants, become tyrants and robbers, and prey upon society instead of guarding its liberty and property. They should be constantly reminded of their position and duties as trustees and servants.
Can the example of Moses help us here? Emphatically, Yes. He was not only the Prince of Revolutionists, but he was also the Prince of Free Thinkers and Free Inquirers. When "the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush" (Ex. iii), what did Moses say? - "And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, 'The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you'; and they shall say unto me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say unto them?" Moses was not to be satisfied with the "God of his fathers", or the "God of Abraham"! he must have a God for himself, namely, the I AM. "And God said unto Moses, I AM that I AM: and He said, 'Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you'." "And God said, moreover, unto Moses: 'This is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto ALL GENERATIONS !' " It is not I WAS, or my Fathers were, but I AM !
Reader! have you got an I AM ? Because, if not, Nature has made a mistake; you should have been born with four feet, a long nose for smelling along the ground, and a tail which you could occasionally wag by way of expressing your reverence and homage for some Master, whose will, even when he is kicking you, must be your pleasure! Remember that every day brings forth its own light and heat, its own Truth and God, and the Truth and God of yesterday, like the light and heat of yesterday, are no longer available. The fossilised "Jehovah" of modern Theology is the God of the British House of Commons, and has been the God of that House for centuries, when making many anti-I AM laws: laws of oppression, coercion, slavery, wars, and murders, including the murders of starvation caused by the monopolising of land - preventing its use and cultivation. The landlords - murderers (!)? Yes. ST. GREGORY THE GREAT said so, more than twelve hundred years ago, long before Buchanan, the Saint-Andrews, Oxford, and Spanish Inquisition "damnable heretic", was born: -
"Let them", said he, "know that the earth from which they are created is the common property of all men; and that, therefore, its products belong indiscriminately to all. Those who make private property of the gift of God pretend in vain to be innocent. For in thus retaining the subsistence of the poor they are the murderers of those who die every day for want of it."
Next to the I AM creed of Moses, who was the Greatest and Grandest of all Spartans, we have here, perhaps, the most clear and the most concise economic creed ever uttered or penned. But it is only an amplification of the I AM creed. The First Commandment is only an amplification of that same everlasting creed; and, as a Declaration of Independence - the independence of an enslaved people - the inspired and inspiring God-given words I AM are unsurpassably comprehensive, unsurpassably tyrant-proof, unsurpassably laconic.
From the First Commandment, the amplification proceeds in the Second, and enjoins the prevention of sham gods, sham dukes, sham lords, and "dummies" of all sorts; and implies the exclusion of all sham creeds descriptive of spurious gods recommended for "homage", "reverence", or "worship", in room of the I AM genuine God of mankind, the GOD of Liberty, Justice, and Impartiality.
From the Second Commandment the amplification still proceeds in the Third; and urges practical manliness on the part of mankind. "Thou shalt not take the name of THE LORD thy God in vain". You are not to palaver about this - any man who has the I AM spirit in him rebels at once against all forms of tyranny. There was much need of the Third Commandment in Scotland when Burns wrote his War Song -
"Scots! wha hae wi' Wallace bled".
It is not to be wondered at that William Ogilvie took his Political Economy from the Books of Moses. He had the I AM spirit -
"Let us Do - or Die!!!"
William Ogilvie and Robert Burns recognised only one divine Law and Order, only one Sovereign Power - that which governs the Universe, and guides the circling spheres. Examining the Law and Order of "divine" Kings, "divine" Ecclesiastics, "divine" Men of Rank, "divine" Olivers, and even "divine" Landlords in Dei nomine, what did they see? They saw a reign of usurpers, hypocrites, murderers, and robbers who had disfranchised the bulk of mankind, contrary to Natural Justice. The Spectre of Democracy was no terror to them. They assiduously prayed - Thy Kingdom come: Thy Will be done ON THIS LITTLE EARTH as it is in Heaven.
The fact of Professor Ogilvie, when verging on the allotted span of three score and ten, being still in the van of Land Law Reformers, agitating his benevolent schemes with "unabated fervour and vigour", amidst the storms and disasters of the French Revolution, and the despotic cyclone which was then raging, is a remarkable spectacle which even the eye of opposition cannot behold without a sense of admiration. Professor Ogilvie loved mankind and wished to see justice done all round; he preached and practised genuine christianity during the whole course of his life, and he continued faithful even unto death. How very different is the nominal Christian, who is goody-goody enough to admit the justice of abolishing slavery, oppression, and the legalised robbery of landlordism, but who, with a wise shake of the head, asks you, "What's the use of agitating, seeing that YOU and I will be dead long before any Parliament will pass a measure of that kind?"
Professor Ogilvie addressed himself in accordance with the Revolution principles of 1688, to "the sovereign, the legislature, or the real patriots of a country". He deplored that the British patriots of 1688, and the American patriots of 1776, failed in securing their "natural right of property in land" - to "establish", he says, "an arrangement of the highest importance to the general welfare of their fellow-citizens". And he deplored that the French patriots of 1789 stopped short at peasant proprietorship - "whose labours", he says, "now (1805) seem to have subsided in the dregs of mere despotism". [See Ogilvie's unedited Essay].
But what did the British patriots get? Did they improve their position at Waterloo? For whom, and for what, did they shed their blood there? What was their quarrel with the French people, or even with Napoleon? These are awkward questions which the partial historian and other landlord menials do not care to answer. The reader will see most clearly how cruelly the peasants of the British Isles were be-fooled in those days, shedding their own blood and murdering Frenchmen for the sake of maintaining British Landlordism, with its wars, rack rents, oppress-ive taxes, compulsory idleness of the people, starvation, and crime; together with the debasing influence of a superstitious religion taught in every Parish, by which Jehovah, as "the God of Hosts," was directly blamed for all these evils, while the real evildoers were extolled as saviours of mankind; their very bloodhounds worshipped as gods, and graven images of them planted as idols throughout the land.
The Highlanders who responded to the trumpet of war in obedience to their chiefs, how were they treated after Waterloo? We know that on landing in England the remnants of the Highland Brigade were received in every town they marched through with perhaps as much real patriotic pride, honour, and kindness as ever fell to the lot of brave and victorious men; and as they proceeded Northwards to what, once upon a time, was their own country, the feelings of warm welcome seemed rather to increase than diminish, until, Alas! they came to one spot: -
" A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest ".
"That", says an applicant under the Scottish Crofters' Act of 1886 - pointing to a glen - "is the place where my father was born and brought up. Like some other young men he was forced into the army, but it was on the express condition that his parents, and their posterity, should never be disturbed in the possession of their land. On his return home after the battle of Waterloo, instead of his home - the home of his ancestors - there was nothing but roofless walls, thresholds overgrown with grass, and the nettle and thistle in full possession, rooted round the old hearth stones. He, for a moment, distrusted his eyes. The unexpected sight of such desolation pierced his heart, and he felt stupefied. How cruel of the French bullets to have spared him for such refined landlord torture! It was a complete Highland Clearance; not a living soul was left in the glen to tell what had become of the people." This was the work of the Commercial Landlord - the Commercialised Highland Chief, or, more properly, thief! the advocate of Freedom of Contract - freedom to do what he likes with the land, and to kick the people about, or away altogether, in accordance with his caprice, avarice, or pleasure. The same story, with sad variations, may be told of many a Highland glen. And, with equally sad variations, it could be extended to the Lowlands, to England, to Ireland, and, without any doubt, to British India. The British nabobs excelled all other freebooters, barring, perhaps, the Spanish Christians who plundered and murdered the natives of Mexico. The East India Company was a huge syndicate of Commercial landlords, the undoubted scum and dregs of British despotism; but, nevertheless, it was approved of and supported by the "Christian" Churches of Britain and their Missionaries under the pretext of carrying the Gospel to the downtrodden races of the East.
When the real duties of a Sovereign are systematically neglected, and when a "factitious Aristocracy" have entirely forgotten the rights of the people, by whose mandate alone they act as legislature, it is then high time that "the real patriots of any country" should waken up. The real Trafalgar when "England expects every real patriot to do his duty" has yet to be fought. The real invader, not the shadowy bogey of the French Revolution, has to be cut down by the axe of Justice, and all useless and noxious weeds which now cumber the land, have yet to be uprooted and cast away.
Ogilvie's distinguished pupil, Sir James Mackintosh, Recorder of Bombay, who vindicated the French Revolution, vindicated also, by anticipation, the Indian Revolution of 1858. But the mild and amiable Sir James, although a vindicator of Justice and Reform, was an exceedingly frail and timid agitator. He was somewhat like JEREMIAH, while his old Master Ogilvie was fashioned after the ancient model of MOSES.
To Professor Ogilvie's proposals of land law reform, Sir James furnished this wet blanket - "Practical effect here [in India] you must not hope!" He was only beginning to see that his old master really intended his schemes, not as mere "speculations," but rather to be adopted practically, "as of importance to the general welfare of mankind, and the improvement of their present state". In a letter to Professor Dugald Stewart of Edinburgh, dated "Bombay, November 2, 1805", the following reference occurs: "A nephew of Dr. Reid, a young gentleman of the name of Rose, has lately come out here as a cadet, recommended to me by a very ingenious and worthy person, though not without the peculiarities and visions of a recluse, Mr. Ogilvie of King's College, Aberdeen." We have already seen how imperfectly informed Sir James must have been, in regard to "this most ingenious and accomplished recluse". He seemingly had no idea that Professor Ogilvie was possessed of more practical knowledge of agriculture, and the true relation of landlord and people to the land than perhaps was possessed, in the aggregate, by all the political philosophers of his time, the celebrated Adam Smith being thrown in along with the rest. He was by far too honest a man to attempt to write on any subject until he had first mastered the facts. The Essay itself is the best proof of this, and it would be impertinent to assert that the author was a practical and scientific man unless his work could stand the test of cross-examination. But nevertheless, the notion that he was only a visionary and speculative recluse was prevalent. That was one way of opposing his admittedly just and benevolent schemes. "What is the use", some would say, "of any schemes, however good, however benevolent, if they are not practicable in this world? The next is the place for these things! Therefore, any advocate for happiness in this world must be treated as a very dangerous heretic." We may guess the reason why Professor Ogilvie was a "recluse!"
The author of Birthright in Land was a thoroughly practical man. We have already seen that he was a born landlord: that he inherited the lands of Pittensear. His father, and also his grandfather, did not belong to the idle landlord, good-for-nothing gentry; they were intelligent farmers, and keen improvers of land, who cultivated one-third of the property as a manor farm, the remaining being let to tenants; and he continued in the footsteps of his sires as Laird of Pittensear up to the year 1772. He then sold the property to the Earl of Fife, but reserved to himself for life a lease of the mansion house and manor farm, which he retained "to the last parting pang". Ogilvie's father's Will burdened the family property to the extent of 4500 merks in favour of his sisters, and very probably this led to the sale. We gather that he had early experience as a landlord, as a gentleman farmer, and subsequently, from 1772 to 1819, as a tenant farmer, paying rent to the Earl of Fife.
In the year 1773 our "Agitator" and ex-landlord purchased for £1500 the property of Oldfold and Stonegavel, situated on Deeside, about six miles from Aberdeen. He held it for thirty-five years, and when he sold it, in 1808, the price he received was £4000. But the difference was not all profit. About the year 1798 he borrowed £2000 from his old friend, the Duke of Gordon, and of this sum he expended £1910 in draining, trenching, and blasting, and more than the balance was paid away in connection with the valuation and purchase of tithes.
In the year 1802 we find him carrying through a Process in the Court of Teinds, by which he saved the property from being plundered by increased tithes on the increased value arising from his improvements. He got the tithes valued according to the old rental. The tithes or teinds were then fixed at £9 10s., of which only £1 8s. 8d. reached the Parish Minister, the balance going to the tithe-owner, which happened in this case to be the Crown. He knew how to prevent the tithe-owner, and also the parson, from robbing the labourer of the value of his improvements on the land, and he adopted the proper precaution. The Process he raised, besides fixing the value of the tithes, concluded for a sale of the surplus to himself, and decree was obtained accordingly, for the sum of £68 5s., being at the rate of nine years' purchase of the amount of surplus or "free teind".
We see that "our accomplished recluse" was not a mere theorist who allowed his mind to run after what is called utopian fancies. The practical knowledge displayed in the Essay he manifested in a material manner on the barren lands of Oldfold and Stonegavel. "There is", says he, "no natural obstacle to prevent the most barren ground from being brought by culture to the same degree of fertility with the kitchen garden of a villa or the suburbs of a great town". And he tells us how to do it. But those readers who are not acquainted with the principles of agriculture, and who also are strangers to the principles of morality and justice, cannot be expected to appreciate the author's knowledge, unless we drag them to the very ground upon which he carried out his experiments, and there show to them the fruit of his labours, in the shape of an extraordinary increase in what we shall call earned increment.
The property of Oldfold and Stonegavel changed hands about thirteen years ago, when the trustees of a Widows' Fund in Aberdeen purchased it at £12,000, as an agricultural subject, and merely as an investment, without any mansion-house, or woods, or any value for sport. Prior to 1757 it only yielded a yearly rent of about £12, being then in its natural state, and let to a sheep farmer. The yearly rent it yields now is about £410, and the gross annual value produced, let us estimate at, say, £1640, when we take landlords (freeholder and feuholder), farmers, labourers, tradesmen, and merchants, &c., who all get a share, into account. Its gross annual value, produced from a stock of sheep and the labour of one miserable herdboy, up to the year 1757, would not exceed £36.
It will be seen that the rise in the producing value of this property is much greater than the rise which has taken place in its selling price. The rise in the price, let us observe, was a direct benefit to the owners, while the rise in its producing value benefited the whole community; a fact, by the way, which the advocates of absolute private property in land should note, in regard to their dog-in-the-manger doctrines about waste land, game preserves, and pastures, while there is one idle Briton who is willing to work, and who wants land for cultivation and improvement.
The facts and figures connected with Oldfold and Stonegavel embrace an object lesson, apart from their interest in giving us a glimpse of the author of Birthright in Land, successfully putting in practice the principles laid down in his Essay.
The truth as seen and presented to us by William Ogilvie, is a truth which is apparent to all, if people would only make use of their eyes. The main object of his Essay was to make the light of Truth shine into the souls of mankind, whose passive obedience to injustice and tyranny is entirely due to "the established rules of which are in every country accounted permanent and immutable, as being fixed by the destination of Nature" - of God. The "cultivators have no clear perception of the injustice and oppression which they suffer. They feel indeed, and they complain, but do not under- stand, or dare not consider steadily, from what cause their grievances take their rise" [Essay, p.51]. And there be some tyrants who cannot help believing that they are doing God's work, because they are brought up in a faith which teaches that to rebel against them is the same as to rebel against Him. Trade unionists and blacklegs war against each other, and both parties are equally ignorant of the real cause why one man has to beg of another "for leave to toil" ! and they blindly tramp the remedy under their feet.
What has become of every Briton's birthright share in the Country - in the Land? It is a huge fraud, and the most impudent, the most criminal, as well as the most extensive, ever committed since the creation. Think of it for a moment. The landlords abolished military tenure, and substituted money payments for military services. Then they pocketed this money for their own private use, and raised other money by taxes on the landless people, and by loans, to pay for military expenses. The most of the military money, by the way, was paid to themselves, their sons, and sons-in-law, in the shape of military pay and pensions. No wonder Lord Byron exclaimed: "War was rent!" Yes! they not only raised the price of the fruits of the earth, and thereby raised rents, which they, by a show of law, pocketed, but they also pocketed the bulk of the war taxes and war loans, and, on this account, they schemed and carried on war as a most profitable business: -
Surely the united common-sense of England, Scotland, brave little Wales, and Ireland, will bring about a day of reckoning! Surely that day is not far off when the Domesday Book will be looked into, and the titles to all the land in these Isles will be examined. The Lords of the soil, let us repeat with emphasis, abolished the only title, the only tenure, the only alleged right they had to the soil - they abolished military tenure. They did so in England in 1672, and in Scotland in 1747; and they have had no tenure of any kind ever since, barring the self-established tenure of Freebooting.
Farmers of War! dictators of the farm;
ploughshare was the sword in hireling hands,
fields manured by gore of other lands. "
"How preposterous, says Professor Ogilvie, "is the system of that country which maintains a civil and military establishment by taxes of large amount without the assistance of any land-tax at all ! In that example may be perceived the true spirit of legislation as exercised by landholders alone" [Essay, p.41]. See also p.48, where he says: "that their large incomes [from land rents] are indeed pensions and salaries of sinecure offices!" He was an eye-witness to the robbery which was perpetrated in Scotland in 1747, when military tenure was abolished, and the land, with all its rents and royalties, finally taken from the people by the darling Whigs, the Tories agreeing, the Courts of Law agreeing; and, let us note, that the "Protestant" Clergy have not to this day made any protest against that robbery.
The history of Scotland, if written with the pen of truth, might be made most instructive to the whole human race. How did Scotland stand in Professor Ogilvie's time? The sleight of hand - to borrow that view of it from the language of Lord Salisbury - by which military tenure and "clannish tenure" were "slipped" into the present tenure of commercial landlordism, "entirely to the advantage of the landlords", meant the people were indis-criminately robbed. The rank and file who fought for George (!) at Culloden were robbed as well as the so-called rebels of those days. Where was the Law of the land then?
Let us here note that every man, woman, and child killed by the Royal Army after the battle of Culloden was a clear case of murder. Every tenant was bound by the Law of the land, until 1747, to follow his feudal chief to the field. And the so-called rebels who followed their feudal lords under the banner of Prince Charlie in the '45, did so in accordance with the Law and Order then in force. Had they refused, they would then have been real rebels. Consequently, we find that not a single individual of the rank and file of the "rebel" army could be tried in a Court of Law, hence the necessity of shooting and hanging them without the ceremony of a trial. The Duke of Cumberland, upon the whole, seeing that he was only a mercenary soldier, who took his orders from the Duke of Argyll, the real ruler of Scotland at the time, did his part of the work with as much humanity as could be expected of a professional master "butcher" of human beings. We have this on the authority of the Scottish, and also of the English Protestant clergy, in the praises and prayers they sent up (!) in favour of his good deeds.
The indiscriminate plundering, as well as murdering, which went on after Culloden, produced many songs and ballads in favour of "Bonie Prince Charlie". The idea of personal liberty or justice -except through some "anointed" despot - did not then exist. But there was, at least, one noble exception, The Rev. John Skinner, who in the last verse of his "Song of songs" - Tullochgorum, cursed the fig-tree Christians of his time in the following manner: -
But for the sullen, frumpish fool,
loves to be Oppression's tool,
envy gnaw his rotten soul,
And discontent devour him;
dool and sorrow be his chance,
Dool and sorrow, dool and sorrow,
Dool and sorrow be his chance,
And nane say, 'Wae's me for him!' "
The clergy after the '45 did their utmost to extinguish the soul of freedom in Scotland, while they themselves, especially the State clergy, held a high old time of it, domineering over the people and wallowing in whisky punch. If anyone mentioned injustice, oppression, or tyranny, he was instantly gagged.
Military tenure, we have seen, was abolished in 1747. As a youth Ogilvie witnessed that juncture - that favourable opportunity - whereby the Scots might have got their natural rights restored "had they been themselves aware of their title to such rights" [Essay, p.63]. A large portion of Scotland was then "nationalised": the estates of the rebel chiefs were forfeited to the Crown. But how much of these lands was given to the people? Not one square inch was given even to the "loyal men" who fought and conquered the "rebel" army at Culloden!
The same Act of Parliament which abolished military tenure abolished also the feudal hereditary jurisdiction of all the landlords in Scotland. Until then we must not forget that the landlords had the power to hang, drown, or dungeon the people as they liked, just as they now have the power to shoot grouse, deer, and other wild animals; but with this difference, that there was no close time - they could hang people all the year round! It was a great privilege, and one upon which the majority of the landlords put some value; and, of course, they lodged a claim for compensation!! The matter was decided in the Court of Session in the year 1748. They claimed the sum of £1,587,090 sterling, and that Court allowed £152,037 12s. 2d. as a redemption price of the sole right and privilege of that form of Scottish landlord sport in all time to come.
Let the reader imagine that all the excisemen in the British Isles somehow got all political power into their own hands, that they then demitted their offices and put in a claim for compensation for giving up the pleasure connected with smuggler-hunting, including occasional bribes for letting people off. (The landlords took fines, which is only another word for bribes.) These retired excisemen then vote public money to pay this "compensation", a puppet King gives the necessary assent, the Bishops in the House of Lords say Amen! and all curates and clergy throughout the country echo Amen!
Then these excise lords, let us say, keep all the excise duties to themselves; they manage all the distilleries and breweries as their own private property; they raise the excise duties to any rate they like: being proprietors by law established, who can interfere with them "to do as they like with their own"? They "impose" duties on other things; they tax everything under the Sun except distilleries and breweries; they tax the Sun itself for several years (the window tax); and they make the people pay the salaries of the new excisemen, who, by the way, are kept as mere flunkies to these idle lords. This imaginary swindle is only like a drop in the bucket as compared with the appropriation by the landlords of all the land - all the productive powers of Nature, necessary for the sustenance and enjoyment of the community - Community! Verily the bigger swindle has actually been perpetrated, and we still assert that the age of miracles and witchcraft has gone by. What meaning has the word "community" now?
The Rev. John Skinner was a sturdy Land Leaguer in his day, who used his pen in prose as well as in verse in favour of the people's cause. And it is not improbable that he and Professor Ogilvie compared notes on the Land Question as well as other things. But like the Twa Dogs, this must be left to the reader's own conjecture, for want of direct evidence. It is, however, worth noting that these three Land Leaguers, Tullochgorum, Luath, and Ogilvie, alias Caesar, were all closely connected, and associated, under the genial patronage of one man, namely, Alexander, fourth Duke of Gordon. It is also worth noting, as a special feather in Professor Ogilvie's cap as his tutor, that this nobleman was a model landlord, whose example and influence in the North of Scotland in those dark days cannot be overestimated. Notwithstanding this, the memory of Duke Alexander, "The Cock of the North", and the author of the most popular version of the song "The Reel of Bogie", has been buried in oblivion almost as completely as the memory of his accomplished tutor.
Thanks, however, to Burns for his picture of Bonie Castle Gordon. We there get a view of the "princely" manner in which Professor Ogilvie's pupil performed his duty and office of landholder. He was not a sinecurist, neither did he belong to the commercial or "guinea's stamp" tribe of landlord. Burns visited Gordon Castle on September 7, 1787, and made the following note in his Diary: "Fine palace, worthy of the noble, the polite, the generous proprietor: The Duke makes me happier than ever great man did - noble, princely; yet mild, condescending and affable, gay, and kind - the Duchess charming, witty, and sensible - God bless them!" These everlasting words have embalmed the memory of one of "the worthy and humane English landholders", who resided in the so-called "Northern Counties of England", to whom Professor Ogilvie dedicated his Essay.
Burns draws a comparison between the management of India's plains, under The Company, and of the Bonie Castle Gordon domains, under the pupil of Professor Ogilvie. The reader already knows that Professor Ogilvie took a keen interest in Indian land-law reform. Did he meet Burns at Bonie Castle Gordon, and did they twa then discuss about Indian landlordism? If they did not, it then becomes even more interesting to trace the strong affinity which existed between the contemporary souls of these two remarkable men. But regarding probabilities, it is right to add that one of Professor Ogilvie's sisters was married to William Tod, the Duke's Factor at Bonie Castle Gordon, and that the Professor was a frequent visitor there. Dr. Currie might have assisted us here, but we know why in those days he had to hide the date of
" Scots! wha hae wi' Wallace bled ".
Perhaps for a similar reason he kept his thumb on the name of that anonymous "gentleman" he describes as "a particular acquaintance of the Duke", who delivered the Duke's invitation to the Poet's fellow-traveller "in all the forms of politeness", in order to prolong the Poet's visit at Bonie Castle Gordon. In the case of hidden facts - purposely and systematically hidden - the inquiring mind naturally, and by the law of necessity, takes refuge in its own conjecture. In those dark days, in the "Northern Counties of England", several other "princely" landholders, besides the Professor's own special pupil, rowed in the same boat with Ogilvie.
The poor Scot in those days had to cringe under tyranny, with an alternate choice of starvation at home or slave-driving abroad. We know that even Burns was only prevented from becoming a slave-driver by "the accidental delay of the vessel in which he had taken out his passage for Jamaica", and the almost equally accidental friendly intervention of The Rev. Dr. Blacklock. "I had", says the Poet in his letter to Dr. Moore, "composed the last song I should ever measure in Caledonia - 'The gloomy night is gath'ring fast', when a letter from Dr. Blacklock to a friend of mine (15) overthrew all my schemes, by opening up new prospects to my poetic ambition."
This was in the autumn of 1786. At this time, precisely, Professor Ogilvie was in the thick of his fight for Light and Truth in Aberdeen. The year 1786 marks a period of contemporaneous radical reforming eruption of the I AM spirit of these two men. It is perhaps not strange that their meetings, or correspondence, have been kept from the public eye to this hour, after all.
Has British Christianity in any way changed its creeds or tenets since those days of "respectable professions" ? No ! not one iota. Think about the idea of Jesus Christ being in the flesh in Britain at the present time, and holding His tongue about the doings of landlordism - think of Him on a platform, supporting His Grace the Duke of Argyll ! Think of Him sneering at the numerous atrocities in Ireland, for which Lord Salisbury has made Her Majesty directly responsible! - Her Majesty, who is the Head, as Vicar of Christ, of the Christian Churches of England and Scotland ! We must swallow all these and many other things about Jesus, along with landlordism and other forms of robbery, in order to be within the fold of orthodox British Christianity!
The Duke of Fife [who bought Pittensear from Ogilvie] is, comparatively speaking, an honest commercial landlord, his ancestors having acquired the land as land merchants. 'Tis different with all the old feudal Dukes, Earls, and Lords, because the only title deeds they can show to their lands constitute complete evidence that their ancestors stole these lands.
Nevertheless, the Duke of Fife does not feel free from risk. He is, therefore, selling his lands in Scotland as fast as he can. He knows that his title deeds are worse than useless. They prove that he is in possession of stolen property - the property of the People! They prove that all his lands are liable for the National Debt! They prove that the People, or, to put it technically in order to drive the fact into the thick skulls of ignorant lawyers, that the Crown, the feudal Superior of all landlords, as Trustee for the People, can legally and justly impose the SINGLE TAX, and tax all lands to their full value. And it is no answer to the People's claim that a landlord, or his ancestors purchased the land; otherwise the Duke of Argyll and a few other dukes and lords might at any time sell England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland to Mr. Winans, or to the Emperor of Russia.
The following paragraph is taken, word for word, from a boycotted book, written by Sir George MacKenzie of Rosehaugh, and published by Royal Authority in the year 1678, bearing the title: "The Laws and Customes of Scotland in matters Criminal". Sir George is referred to as a believer in the divine right of Kings, but it is quite clear that he did not believe in the divine right of "Oppressors, thieves, and other great men!" This passage, be it observed, is taken from his Chapter on ROBBERY: -
"The Crimes answering in the Civil Law to oppression were vis publica, vis privata, and concussio. Those were punishable, l. julia de vi publica, who raised arms, or did violently eject men out of their houses or lands; those who assisted the Oppressors with men are guilty thereof, and the punishment was aquae et ignis interdictio . . .". (17)
Sir George is almost the only Scottish Lawyer ever known to have done anything for Liberty and Property, hence the reason he and his books have been systematically boycotted to this hour. When the judges of the Court of Session banished all the members of the Scottish Bar from Edinburgh, in obedience to a letter from Charles II., George Mackenzie appeared before them as "a gentleman", he said, and he made these obsequious functionaries and also their royal master sprawl under his feet. He, notwithstanding his weakness for the divine right of kings, on that occasion manfully vindicated the divine right of every man to defend himself, and to oppose tyranny, injustice, or impudence in a king as in a beggar.
No country in the world can boast of better laws than Scotland. It is, however, not necessary to reiterate how these laws were broken, and by whom; or to make any comment regarding the punishment which might and ought to be inflicted on the breakers of these laws.
There is more than one reason for giving a place in these Notes to a letter, written to GENERAL WASHINGTON by the Earl of Buchan, the mutual friend of Burns and Ogilvie: -
" DRYBURGH ABBEY, 28th June, 1791.
SIR, - I had the honor to receive your Excellency's letter. . . . May that Almighty Being, who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aid can supply every human defect, consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the American people a Government instituted by themselves for public and private security, upon the basis of law and equal administration of justice, preserving to every individual as much civil and political freedom as is consistent with the safety of the nation. . . . I have entrusted this sheet, inclosed in a box made of the oak that sheltered our great Sir William Wallace after the battle of Falkirk, to Mr. Robertson of Aberdeen, a painter, with the hope of his having the honor of delivering it into your hands. . . . I beg leave to recommend him to your countenance as he has been mentioned to me favourably by my worthy friend Professor Ogilvie of King's College, Aberdeen. . . .
" I am, with the highest esteem, Sir, Your Excellency's most obedient and obliged humble servant, BUCHAN. "
It would seem from the words now italicised that Ogilvie and Washington were not unknown to each other; and it is highly probable that the latter was presented with an early copy of The Right of Property in Land, and with some manuscript notes besides. He refers to North America [in his original unedited Essay] as having "lately enjoyed an opportunity of new modelling the establishment of landed property, even to theoretical perfection".
If Professor Ogilvie visited Dryburgh Abbey in June, 1791, he would then be within a day's ride of the abode of Burns. Trying to catch the Twa Dogs together, oddly enough we again come upon a suppression of dates and names.
"In the summer of 1791", says Dr. Currie, "two English gentlemen, who had before met with Burns in Edinburgh, paid a visit to him in Ellisland. He received them with great cordiality, and asked them to share his humble dinner - an invitation which they accepted." They did not leave before midnight - they "forgot the flight of time and the dictates of prudence". No wonder; for Burns, as described by one of the party to Dr. Currie, "was in his happiest mood, and the charms of his conversation were altogether fascinating. He ranged over a great variety of topics, illuminating whatever he touched. He related the tales of his infancy and of his youth; he recited some of the gayest and some of the tenderest of his poems: in the wildest of his strains of mirth he threw in some touches of melancholy, and spread around him the electric emotions of his powerful mind."
Who were these two "English gentlemen", and in particular what name shall we call the one who gave the information to Dr. Currie; and why should Dr. Currie suppress the name of any real Englishman? One thing is clear - Twa sympathetic souls - whether they were the "Twa Dogs" or not - did meet and spend a happy night together.
Considering the state of poor Scotland then, and the watching by spies of all the movements and meetings of persons suspected of being possessed of any genuine I AM spirit, Professor Ogilvie, no doubt, found it necessary as a rule to travel incognito in his own country - most likely as an Englishman, keeping his thumb upon the meaning of his own phrase - "the Northern Counties of England". He wrote his Essay as an Englishman, and inscribed it to Englishmen !
We can hardly realise now-a-days the dangers and difficulties that a reformer like Professor Ogilvie had to contend with in his time - a time when the Soul of Freedom had, in truth, fled from Scotland. There is no doubt whatever of this, that if his notions of land-law reform had been fully known to the landed gentry and clergy, his life would have been taken either by a paid assassin, or by a stirred-up mob. He was an "ingenious recluse", and thus escaped more successfully than his renowned contemporary Dr. Priestley *, whose house was burnt and his books and manuscripts torn and strewed for miles along the public road, while he himself had to run for his life. This was the work of a befooled English mob, led by - we know - and marching to the old familiar tune of "The Church in danger". But in Scotland similar outrages were perpetrated in those days by Law and Order!
A military rabble, led by "epauletted puppies", to use the designation handed down to us by Burns, sacked the house of the Rev. John Skinner, carrying with them his books, manuscripts, and "everything". They spared his Manse, but they burnt his Church to the ground. More than once Tullochgorum saved his life by "skulking" in some hiding place, or "attiring himself in the garb of a miller, to escape the observation" of the military miscreants of those times.
0f the "woes and pains" of others, in those days. As regards his own personal sufferings, his weep-not-for-me spirit almost arrests us from referring to them in these pages. In his soliloquy of 1776 we see a man who could bravely and contentedly face death itself, "without reluctance and repining". "Having", says he, "abundant reason to return thanks for that measure of good which I have already enjoyed, which seems to have exceeded, at least in tranquillity and contentment, the common standard of what is allowed to man".
We, however, cannot skip over another "rude" and equally "unseasonable visit", as a companion picture of the period. When the so-called Royal Army was passing through Morayshire in 1746, a short halt was made at Pittensear House, and three cannon shots were fired at it. One of these shots struck the front wall close to the dining-room window, and, we need not say, caused the inmates much alarm. William Ogilvie, then about ten years of age, in all probability witnessed that scene - a sad example of what even a Whig Government may do at the head of a mercenary army. He, without any doubt, surveyed the wreck after the storm had passed. We have it on the authority of old people still living near Pittensear, that his mother, who happened to be in childbed at the time, never recovered the shock of that day's proceedings, and that shortly thereafter she was laid in a premature grave. And a few years later, when his disconsolate and broken-hearted father had quitted life's stage, he was left alone, in place of both father and mother, as guardian to four orphan girls. Here we may trace the way in which, what we may call a motherly feeling towards all the children of men, was developed in his breast. His Essay on the Right of Property in Land, in every line of it, says: Suffer little children to come unto me, and I shall teach them that God is no respecter of persons; that all the children of men are entitled indiscrim-inately to an equal share in the soil, in all wild animals, game, fish, and the whole products of nature, necessary for man's subsistence or enjoyment; and that anything contrary to this doctrine is a gross and blasphemous slander on the Creator, as well as a most iniquitous fraud on the bulk of mankind.
Vive, vale. Si quid novisti rectius istis,
Candidus imperti; si non, his utere mecum.
So goodbye and take care.
if you can propose anything
just than what's said here,
tell me frankly what it is.
if you can't,
you make good use of this
just as I do. " *
* Editors translation.
Appendix to the Notes
" Resolutions by the Skye Crofters, passed at Meetings addressed by MR. Henry George
in January, 1885."
The following benevolent principles of Land Reform, so much on Professor Ogilvie's lines, were adopted in Skye, as preached by Mr. Henry George, before the Essay now re-published was unearthed: -
" Whereas the land was made by God, who is no respecter of persons, for the equal use and enjoyment of all the people whom He brings into life upon it, we hereby declare, that any system which compels the people to pay rent to other human creatures, for the privilege of living upon God's earth, is a robbery of labour, and a wicked violation of the benevolent intention of the Creator.
" Resolved. - That while we shall thankfully welcome any measures that will lessen the tyrannous power which the so called landlords of Skye have exercised over us, we will not consider any measure as a settlement of the land question which does not restore our God-given rights in our native soil, and does not restore the same full rights to our brethren of the cities, towns, and mineral and agricultural districts of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, by taking all rent for land for the common benefit of the whole people, and putting an end to the wicked wrong which compels labouring men to want, suffering, and untimely death, in order that idlers may live in luxury.
" Resolved. - That we call upon our brethren, the working men of the whole country, to give us their support in obtaining our natural rights, as we shall give them ours in obtaining theirs, and especially we call upon them to enter their strongest protest against the invasion of Skye by armed forces from the mainland, with the object of enabling the landlords to deprive us of the means necessary for the support of our families, by virtue of laws in the making of which we have had no voice.
" Resolved. - That the attention of the Right Hon. Sir Wm. Vernon Harcourt is hereby called to the unconstitutional manner in which the Sheriff and Procurator-Fiscal of the County of Inverness have acted with regard to the people of Skye, and that he is hereby requested to institute an open inquiry into their pro- ceedings, with a view to their impeachment, removal, and punishment, and that the present Commissioners of Police of the County be at once suspended, and a measure introduced into the next session of Parliament abolishing all such hereditary-landlord-authorities (16) not founded on the voice of the people.
" Resolved. - That this meeting tender heartfelt thanks to the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone for having successfully carried through Parliament an Act which enables crofters, for the first time, to exercise their right in the making of laws which affect their interests. "
It is from little insignificant facts, observed here and there, that we are sometimes able to discover the course of human affairs, and those movements which now and again lead to the overthrow of long-established systems of despotism and slavery. We discover the currents of the sea by watching the ripples on the surface, and the mere straws which float in it.
(1) Note also that another Reformation - the Revolution of 1688 - was utilised in the same way by the Divine Party. The "False Argyll" reported that the people of Glencoe refused to discontinue the ancient Scottish tenure, and this was the excuse which led to the massacre in 1692. These little bits of history are carefully slipped over by the majority of our so-called historians, like all other facts relating to the people's right to the land. But the most extraordinary thing connected with Scotland and the divine right of landlords is to be met with in connection with the last Reformation - the "Disruption" of 1843, when the Free Church was instituted. A very large section of the Scottish people, and all the Highlanders, then revolted in regard to the land-lord's divine right of property in Church Patronage. The "Auld Kirk" was deserted. But the clergy of the New (Free) Church have done more in the Highlands of Scotland towards getting the doctrine of the divine right of landlords TO THE LAND, into the minds of the people, than had been done by all other forms of Priestcraft, from William the Conqueror's time to 1843. This strange fact, and its sad consequences, will be referred to further on. If these "dissidents" had taken up Ogilvie's cue of favouring a just and independent land reform in 1843, the Free Church and Scotland would be in a better position to-day.
(2)As stated in the Essay's original title and introduction. [Editor].
(3)This is the language of serfdom. In the Court of Session
(ultra vires), Act of Sederunt of 1756, anent Evictions, the terms used are "masters and tenants". Thus qualified, the word "tenants" legally meant serfs. The bond was called "a lease". Mark the words "freedom from his lease". The "tenant-at-will" was a mere slave.
(4)Note by Mr P J Anderson, Secretary to the NEW SPALDING CLUB, in Scottish Notes and Queries for June, 1889.
(5)Carlyle's Past and Present, inspired by Byron, see AGE OF BRONZE XIV. "The grand agrarian alchemy, high rent."
(6)Pietro Urbani, an Italian musician, who met Burns at St. Mary's Isle, the seat of Lord Selkirk, on 31st July 1793, the day before Burns's ride with Mr. Syme "in the middle of tempests over the wildest Galloway moor", when "Scots! wha hae" was thought, through the suppression of the correct date, to have been composed.
(7)Letter, sending "Scots! wha hae", to Mr. Thomson, dated "September, 1793", received in Edinburgh on the 3rd or 4th, and replied to on the 5th. Referring to the old air "Hey, tuttie, taitie", Burns says, "There is a tradition, which I have met with in many places in Scotland - that it was Robert Bruce's march at the battle of Bannockburn. This thought, in my yesternight's evening walk, warmed me to a pitch of enthusiasm on the theme of liberty and independence, which I threw into a kind of Scottish ode fitted to the air, that one might suppose to be the gallant royal Scot's address to his heroic followers on that eventful morning."
(8)These were the NATION à la Braxfield !
(9) There is reason to believe that, in his latter years, the Dumfries Aristocracy had partly withdrawn themselves from Burns, as from a tainted person. That painful class, stationed, in all provincial cities, behind the outmost breast-work of gentility, there to stand siege, and do battle against the intrusions of grocerdom and grazierdom, had actually seen dishonour in the society of Burns and branded him with their veto, had, as we vulgarly say, cut him! Alas! when we think that Burns now sleeps 'where bitter indignation can no longer lacerate his heart', and that those fair dames and frizzled gentlemen already lie at his side, - where the breast-work of gentility is quite thrown down, - who would not sigh over the thin delusions and foolish toys that divide heart from heart, and make man unmerciful to his brother! "
- Thomas Carlyle, 1828.
(10)Byron - "A Country Ruled by Rent". [Editor].
(11)Letter from his friend and colleague, John Ross, Professor of Oriental Languages.
(12)Evidence before Royal Commission of 1826.
(13)Manual of Political Economy, London, 1874. p.201.
(14)In 1712, there was another shuttle-cock restoration of Church Patronage, after which the landlords held it until 1874, when the author of Coningsby allowed them £25O,OOO, in name of "sacrilegious spoil", for once more relinquishing their "unhallowed booty"!
(15)The Rev. George Lawrie of St. Margaret's Hill, Kilmarnock. Is it not remarkable that Providence made use of two divines to prevent Robert Burns from leaving Scotland in those days? Scotland should not forget these two men. They should be entered as St. Thomas and St. George on the roll of Scottish Saints.
(16) The Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1889, gave partial effect to this suggestion, but owing to the sickly condition of the children of Liberty in Lowland Caledonia, Scotland is still held under Landlord thraldom, excepting that the Crofters' Act, 1886, has produced an effect something like the taking of the Bastille. Rents in the Lowlands came tumbling down without any Land Court!
(17) State and individual violence, and assault and battery, punishable, by Roman Statute, by immersion in water and burning or branding (interdictio is likely a misprint of iuris dictio - "judgement"). [Editor].