Village Communities in Java and in India
The magnificent Dutch colony of Java, with more than seventeen millions of inhabitants, possesses a communal organization exactly similar to that of Russia. In some districts of the island private property as applied to the soil is to be met with; but, as a general rule, the land is the property of the commune. By virtue of the principles of the Koran, accepted in all Mohammedan countries, the sovereign possesses the eminent domain. He is the true and only proprietor; and, by this title, he levies the taxes in kind which represent rent, and exacts the corvée.
In Java, according to the adat, or custom, the cultivator was bound to hand over to the sovereign the fifth part of the produce, and to labour for him one day in five. The native princes went so far as to demand the half of the crop in the irrigated rice-fields, and the third part from the other fields. The Dutch re-established the old adat; and contented themselves with one day's work in seven, applying the labour to the cultivation of sugar and coffee, according to the system of General Van den Bosch.
As in Russia, the village community is jointly responsible for furnishing the required number of days' labour and for the payment of the taxes. The use of a portion of the wood and waste land is common to all the inhabitants. But the property of these unoccupied lands is considered as belonging to the state. In the districts, where the soil is not the property of the commune, it often happens that the inhabitants have not the enjoyment of any common pasture. It was even asserted that, in this case, no such right existed. But M. A. W. Kinder de Camarecq has proved, that even in villages where private property is to be met with, a right of common pasturage is also to be found. He quotes among others the village of Sembis in the district of Soemedang, in the government of Preanger, where the sawahs are private property, and the tegals, or dry lands, common property, and where the hamlets or kampongs exercise the right of pasture on the unoccupied lands.(1) The sawahs, or irrigated rice-fields, are divided among the families, every year in some districts, every two or three years in others. As in the Russian village, the houses with the gardens attached to them are private property.
They cultivate principally rice, which forms almost the sole food of the Javanese. To conduct on to the fields the water coming down from the higher grounds, great labour is indispensable for the formation of canals. It is also necessary to surround all the fields with dikes to keep in the requisite amount of water, and to dig numerous trenches, with great care, to distribute it. These works, which, require much intelligence, are executed by the inhabitants under the direction of the communal authorities.
The division of the sawahs is carried out according to families, but not everywhere on the same plan. In some villages, or dessas, the simple labourers who have no draught beasts, the orang-menoempangs, are excluded from the partition. According to the rules, which the Dutch Government is endeavouring to introduce, all the heads of families are to have a share, that they may all be able to furnish their payments in kind and the requisite number of days' work. The general custom seems to have been that, to obtain a share, a man must own a yoke, that is to say, a pair of buffaloes or oxen. Hence it follows that generally the menoempangs, or mere labourers, excluded from a share in the allotment, are a numerous body, and that every family has not its parcel of ground, as is sometimes supposed.
A law of 1859 ordains that the allotment should he made by the chief of the dessa, under the supervision of the commissioners of the district and of the "Residents" or prefects. A kind of rotation is observed in the assignment of the portions, so that each family in turn possesses all the lots to be disposed of.
The chief of the dessa is elected for the term of a year by those of the inhabitants who are entitled to a share in their soil; the election has to be ratified by the Resident. The chiefs or mayors (Loerah or Koewoe) are usually chosen from among the richest and most respected inhabitants, age being also a ground of preference. They obtain, almost everywhere, a larger share of land or one of better quality. The elders of the village (kemitoeas), who assist the chief with their advice, enjoy the same privilege, as also the secretary (djoeroetoeli), the priest (moedin), his assistant (kabayan), and the surveyor of irrigations (kapala bandonyan). The same custom existed among the Germans; the chiefs and principal men of the tribe obtained a larger lot: Agri occupantur, quos mox inter se secundum dignationem partiuntur.(2)
The sawahs are generally well cultivated, although the peasants are obliged to put part of their time at the disposal of the government for the seignorial corvées (heerediensten) applied to public works, and also for the agricultural corvées (kultuurdiensten) devoted to the State coffee and sugar plantations. After the rice the people of Java obtain a second crop of a fast-growing nature, such as tobacco, or more especially maize, which is ripe in two months after it is sown. The raw produce of a bouw, which is about 1.75 acres, is estimated as worth for the two harvests from 170 to 200 florins, or from £16 to £17. This is a very good result, which the lands sown with grain in Europe seldom give.(3)
I know of no complete treatise on the tenure and ownership of land in Java. To form an idea of it, we must gather together the hints scattered through official reports and in the excellent collection entitled Tydschrift voor nederlandsch Indie.(4) A note communicated to the Dutch chambers in 1869 by the colonial department contains some details on the agrarian constitution of the different parts of the island.(5)
In the provinces of Bantam, Krawang and Preanger, the woods and waste lands are common; but the arable land is private property, and is sold, devised, mortgaged, or devolves by succession. There is no annual partition. Ancient registers exist containing the names of the proprietors and the description of their property: they are a sort of primitive cadastre.(6) Any one who reclaims a part of the common land becomes the owner of it.
In the provinces of Cheribon and Tagal private property and collective property exist side by side. The sawahs jassas, or cleared lands, belong to him who has brought them into cultivation, and are transmitted by succession as long as they continue to be cultivated. Collective property, however, is gradually absorbing private property, because the communal authorities find it to their advantage to enlarge the communal domain which they have to divide. They also find in it facilities for furnishing the corvées to the state. Thus, in the district of Talaga, out of 8,884 bouws, only 43 are known as sawahs jassas, or private hereditary property.
In Samarang all property is held in common. There are no sawahs jassas. Any one who reclaims waste land has merely the enjoyment of it for three years. After this time the sawah returns to the domain, which is subject to the partition effected by the chief or loerah every year. In Pekalongan, sawahs poesakas, or hereditary property, is the exception. The effect of the corvées demanded by the state, for the furnishing of which each village is jointly liable, is to favour putting land in community, like the joint-responsibility for taxes in Russia.
In Japara, 8,701 bouws, in the hands of 7,454 proprietors, are found existing by the side of village communities. The clearances, which create these small properties, are executed by the richest inhabitants, frequently in combination, as they alone have sufficient weans to carry on the works of irrigation, indispensable in the cultivation of rice. But it is reckoned that small properties, newly created, do not remain long in the hands of their proprietors. Fifty years, on an average, sees them united to the collective domain. If a proprietor leaves the dessa his property goes to the commune. And it is the same if he ceases to cultivate it, if he has no direct heirs, or if he fails to pay his contribution.
In Rembang, out of 158,425 bouws of arable land, 48,185 bouws were found subject to private ownership, which was acquired over half of them by right of clearance, and over the other half by succession or purchase.
In the majority of dessas the partition is executed annually. In some villages it only takes place every five years; in others, from time to time, as the number of families increases. Those who have draught beasts receive a larger portion.
In the province of Bagelen, the inhabitants of the kampongs, or villages without arable lands, can sell their houses with the land to whomsoever they wish; but the inhabitants of the dessas cannot sell theirs to strangers. The same rule existed in the German mark, and still exists in Russia.
In the provinces of Madioen, Patjitan, Soerabaya, Madoera, Pasoeroean, and Kedirie, all the sawahs are common property, and subject to annual partition. Any one who clears a parcel of land in the forest or waste land keeps the individual possession for three or five years. After that time the land returns to the common stock, and is subject to periodic partition. To encourage clearing the Dutch government endeavoured to extend the enjoyment by the person reclaiming land to eighteen years, or even till his death; but the adat, or custom, in many cases prevailed. As the sentiment of private ownership in the soil is not yet awakened, collectivity very quickly absorbs ill-defined and ill-defended individual rights.
The gogols, or cultivators entitled to a share in the soil, hold to the periodic partition, because by its means they successively occupy the best lots. Sir Stamford Raffles, the eminent administrator, who governed Java from 1811 to 1816, in the name of England, then mistress of the Dutch Indies, wished to introduce individual property, by assessing the taxes no longer on the commune jointly, but on the cultivators individually, in proportion to the land which they tilled. The latter submitted apparently to the new regulation, and paid the sums exacted; but afterwards made a fresh apportionment of the tax among themselves, conformably to the old custom.
A law of April 3, 1872, systematically regulated the land-tax to be levied on the lands of Java. The lands are divided into ten classes, according to the revenue they return, from 10 to 100 florins; and the tax is levied at twenty per cent on the registered revenue. The amount of the total contribution to be paid by each dessa is made known to the mayor, or loerah, who, with the concurrence of the inhabitants, fixes the quota due from each member, on account of the parcels which he possesses, or of which the temporary enjoyment has been allotted to him. The mayor keeps a register of this assessment, and gives an extract from it to all the contributories.
There has been much discussion as to who is the actual owner of the soil in Java. As the native princes seem to have made what disposition they pleased, both of the soil and of the labour of the inhabitants, the Dutch, succeeding to their authority, concluded that they were now the real owners of the soil. In a report of August 31, 1803, a special commission, instituted to inquire into colonial affairs, asserts that the sovereign possesses the sole right of property over the whole territory, and that the Javanese had no conception of the right of property as applied to the soil; but that, this notwithstanding, ancient customs ought to be observed. The regulation of January 27, 1806, does not even mention this last restriction, and the Governor, Daendels, was of opinion that "not only was landed property entirely unknown to the Javanese, but that from time immemorial they had been accustomed to labour for their princes and chiefs."
When the English became masters of Java they wished to introduce a regular system of taxation; and, accordingly, were induced to inquire into the nature of ownership in the colony. Who were owners of the soil? The cultivators, the State, or the intermediate "Regents," who were very similar to the Zemindars in India? In India, contrary to all justice, the question had been decided in favour of the Zemindars, who were merely functionaries, charged with levying the taxes, reserving a certain deduction for themselves. In Java, Daendels had clearly established the subordinate position of the "Regents." The English could not, therefore, regard them as proprietors of the soil. The Governor, Raffles, recognised the fact that "there existed no right of property between that of the sovereign and that of the cultivator;"(7) and was of opinion that the eminent domain was vested in the State, just as is allowed to be the case in England by every jurist whose opinion has any authority.(8)
Raffles wanted to give the cultivators a more permanent property in the soil, by granting them the enjoyment of land in consideration of a fixed rent. The cultivator, it is true, would be the tenant of the Government, but would have a kind of usufruct, -- a lease, in fact; and the rent, which he would have to pay the State, would be nothing, one may say, but a land-tax. The lease, however, could in the first instance only be granted for a year, because of the difficulty of determining fairly the rent to be paid by the cultivator (Revenue Instructions, Feb. 11, 1814).
When the Dutch government recovered possession of Java, it did not express in any precise terms in what aspect it regarded the dominium, which Raffles had attributed to the State. J. Van den Bosch, the governor, expresses himself on the subject in the following terms: "The right of the sovereign is confined to levying a portion of the produce of the soil, which belongs to him in accordance with the adat or custom, or else in exacting a certain amount of labour as an equivalent. In other respects lands are transmitted by sale or succession, according to the principles of the adat."
In 1849 the Dutch government submitted to the chambers a proposed law authorising the sale of lands in Java. The impost, paid by the natives, is here spoken of as "a rent received by the state for the letting of lands belonging to it." A representative, Baron Sloet tot Oldhuis, vigorously attacked these expressions and the idea which they embodied; and, from that time, official documents have avoided using any terms which might seem to attribute to the State the civil right of property over the cultivated land.
This right was not, however, recognised any more fully in the cultivators. It seems that all that they are recognised as having, is a usufructuary enjoyment, an emphyteusis or hereditary lease (erfpacht). The state renounced the right of arbitrarily taking from the cultivators the soil which they tilled, but did not give up the eminent domain; and, at the same time, claimed the right of disposing absolutely of unoccupied lands, whether by cultivating them immediately, by selling them, or by granting them on lease. In several parts of the colony, however, lands and houses are inscribed in the registers of the cadastre as the private property of the Javanese.(9)
Under the British rule lands were sold to Europeans. But since Holland has recovered possession of the colony, they have only been granted leases for terms of greater or less duration, frequently of twenty-five years. The governor, Du Bus, thought that land should not be sold, for two reasons: -- first, to avoid introducing a principle borrowed from Europe, into the midst of a totally different system; and secondly, to enable the leaseholder to expend in reclaiming the ground what he would have had to employ as purchase-money. The government retained this system; and, under the new law, grants leases (erfpacht) for seventy-five years, with exemption from land-tax during the first seven years, and of half the tax from then till the twelfth year.
This seems to be an excellent system, and very superior to that of perpetual grants, generally practised in English colonies, in Australia and America. A lease of seventy-five years is sufficiently long for the lessee to execute all the works of cultivation which a proprietor would perform. On this point there can be no doubt, when we see magnificent buildings in England erected on lands leased for sixty or seventy years. The immense works of art required for the construction of a railway incomparably surpass those which must be executed to bring the productiveness of the soil to its highest pitch; and yet the millions necessary for these gigantic enterprises are never wanting. In Java, many lands have been cultivated at great expense, notably in the Residences of Cheribon, Tagal, Samarang, and Banjoemas, even with leases of twenty-five years. It is by these means, especially, that tea plantations have been formed: and they have been so well worked, that, at the expiration of the term, the lands could be re-let for an annual rent of 80, 100, and 130 francs the hectare.(10)
The lease has a great advantage over perpetual grants, inasmuch as at the expiration of the term the land returns to the state, which disposes of it again, to the profit of all. The revenue arising from the soil is the taxation. All the income can be applied to purposes of general interest, instead of being employed to satisfy the fancies of a few wealthy families. It is an actual realization of the system, advocated by the "physiocrats," of a single tax on land.
During the session of 1866-7, a member of the Chamber of Representatives in Holland expounded the position of property in Java, according to Asiatic and Mahommedan ideas, in terms which it may be useful to summarize here: -- "The soil belongs to the creator, God, and, in consequence, to his earthly representative, the Sovereign. The enjoyment of the soil is granted to the commune in general, and in particular to him who has reclaimed it, for such time as he or his descendants observe the conditions determined by the adat, or custom. If he ceases to fulfil them, the right of enjoyment reverts to the community, the dessa. If the soil has been reclaimed by the combined efforts of all, it is on the same principle common to all. This common territory is divided annually among the members of the dessa. In making the allotment, regard is paid to the quality of the different parcels, and to the working strength and the number of draught beasts which each family has at its disposition, and also to rules consecrated by custom. A portion of the common domain is reserved for the chiefs and priests; but they are bound to support, out of the produce of this portion, the mosque (mesdjid), the sick and the aged. In certain districts it is the priests' duty to superintend the canals and the whole system of irrigation. Certain lands are an appanage of the sovereign for his support: these he may not alienate. The whole soil is granted out by him to tenants, a certain rent being reserved in kind or in labour. The families, which have more land than they can cultivate, keep labourers, menoempangs, who are their servants and form part of the domestic circle. When the communal domain is enlarged by new clearances, or when lots fall vacant, the menoempangs receive a share in turn.
"This agrarian system is in close harmony with the mode of cultivation. Rice, which forms the staple food of the Javanese, requires a general system of irrigation, which is impossible without association, and which leads to cultivation in common. The system really establishes a kind of communism, but it secures to the cultivators their chief means of subsistence; and, as they cannot alienate their right of enjoyment, they are preserved from pauperism.
"If the Javanese wishes to increase his comfort or his income, he can do so by obtaining a second crop, of which the cultivation is entirely free and independent."
At different times the Dutch chambers have discussed the question of introducing in Java individual property, by promoting the partition of the common domain of the dessa among the inhabitants. The partizans of this measure pointed to the example of Europe. The village communities to be found in Java, they said, are not peculiar to Asia: they existed formerly in the majority of European countries, where they were met with in the form of the mark. The same customs, which are still observed in the dessas of Java, were formerly in force in the Slavonic and Germanic marks. Agricultural processes have been improved, and agricultural produce has increased in proportion as individual property has replaced common ownership in Europe. Why should not the same be the case in Java? Property is the best stimulus of labour; for it gives full efficiency to the essential principle of responsibility. Besides, the system of collective possession of the soil cannot be maintained indefinitely. The population increases annually by from 300,000 to 400,000 heads; and, consequently the lots assigned to each family are continually diminishing. No doubt there remains much cultivable land as yet unreclaimed. According to Raffles, only one-eighth part of the soil capable of cultivation was occupied; according to other authorities there might be one-fifth or sixth part. In any case, vast spaces remain to be brought under cultivation; but this is only to defer the difficulty without solving the problem. The time must arrive when the partition will only give each holder an inadequate portion. It is, therefore, advisable to provide against this final crisis, by adopting at once individual property, which would be less favourable to the increase of population.
The partizans of the Javanese system of community replied that a blow should not be lightly struck against an agrarian organization, which dates from time immemorial, and is in close harmony with the system of agriculture practised in the country. The proper irrigation of the rice-fields demands works of art: canals to bring the water, and ditches to retain and distribute it. These are objects of common interest, the expenses of which ought to be supported by the whole village. To derive full benefit from the irrigation, the different agricultural operations of planting, weeding, and watering, are executed by common consent; and collective cultivation thus leads naturally to collective ownership.
The Javanese, like all Asiatics, is improvident: he is induced to sacrifice the advantages of a secure position in the future for present enjoyment. Give him property over which he has absolute power of disposition, and he will soon sell it to Chinese speculators, who in a very short time will have accumulated in their hands the whole soil. In the 33,000 dessas there are at the present time some two million families of agriculturists having a share in the ownership of the soil. They form the solid basis of society, as being interested in its maintenance; for their life is happy and contented. Once make a definite division of the communal property, and at the end of a certain time a class of proletarians will be formed with nothing to attach them to the social order, which will henceforth be constantly harassed and threatened.
Such are the principal arguments employed in a discussion which is still being carried on.
Hitherto the Dutch government has respected the ancient communal institutions of the colony, and has acted wisely in so doing. No attempt has ever been made to impose on the Javanese the partition of the collective domain; there was only the wish to authorise the inhabitants themselves to decide by the vote of the majority, whether a definite division should be effected, exactly as was done in Holland for the marks, which still existed in considerable numbers in that country, at the time of the introduction of the civil code. In Java the communal territory is absolutely inalienable; it is extra commercium. Its unimpaired preservation is a matter of public interest. Hence it results that even a majority can strike no blow against it. It is the inheritance of future generations, and those of the present may not dispose of it at their will. Persons well acquainted with the manners and ideas of the Javanese assert, that a law, which authorised partition, would remain a dead letter: and that in no dessa could a majority be found to attack this primordial institution, which they venerate as much as the adat or custom itself.(11)
Opinions differ as to the origin of village communities in Java. Some writers trace it to the conquest and to Mussulman laws: while others maintain that they come from India. The latter opinion is probably the correct one. The same institutions existed, as a matter of fact, in India; it is to this country that Java owes all its ancient civilization; and, moreover, those districts of the island, where Hindoo influence has been strongest, are the parts where the system of village communities is most general. Yet, community of the soil being the system natural to primitive peoples, it was probably already in existence before the influence of Indian institutions made itself felt.
In Java the collective system seems favourable to the increase of population, although the case is quite otherwise in Russia. In Java, the number of inhabitants increases more rapidly than in any other country in the world, owing to the excess of the births over the deaths, a very exceptional fact in the tropics. The population amounted in 1780 to 2,029,500 souls; in 1808 to 3,730,000; in 1826 to 5,400,000; in 1863 to 13,649,680; and finally, in 1872, to 17,298,200. It is estimated as doubling itself in thirty years. In the United States this requires twenty-five years, but immigration there contributes a considerable contingent. The effect of this increase of population is to reduce the share of each cultivator in the periodic partition of lands. M. W. Bergsma recently drew an alarming picture of the situation in this respect.(12) In certain regions, he tells us, the peasant only obtains the third or fourth part of a bouw, or from 1½ to 2½ roods. The cultivators say they have no more than the half or quarter of the sawahs, which their fathers tilled. They even ask that the government should forbid subdivision into parcels smaller than a half bouw.
The principal merit attributed to the periodic partition is that it prevents a proletariat. Whereas, M. Bergsma asserts, the system will soon result in converting all the Javanese into a people of proletarians. There will still be equality; but it will be equality in misery. Dutch conservatives, and even moderate liberals, such as M. Thorbecke, have always defended the system of collective possession, as did conservatives of the shade of M. de Haxthausen in Russia. They are opposed to the introduction of private ownership, borrowed from the West. The reformers, on the contrary, maintain that they should at once put into force in Java the laws which regulate landed property in Europe, because the economic advantage thereof will be the same there as here.
In Java, as in Russia, this collective system is favourable to colonization. Several families leave their native village to found a new community. For this purpose, they construct a system of irrigation by means of labour carried on in common. The water having been brought by the co-operation of all, it follows that the sawahs, or rice-fields, so fertilized, become the undivided property of the communal group. It is a kind of partnership. To encourage individual clearances, enjoyment for life or for a long term, thirty or forty years for instance, as in the case of a railway concession, must be guaranteed.
In India the primitive community of Java and Russia no longer exists, except in the most retired and least known parts of the country. According to Sir Henry Maine, one of the causes which has made collective ownership of the soil disappear here, is that pasturage plays a less important part in the rural economy than in Europe, and that the use of meat as an article of food is almost entirely excluded. The Slavonic and Germanic races maintained numerous herds on large undivided pastures: and this common tenure, which has survived in many countries to our own times, even after the arable land has become private property, formed the basis of village communities. In India, where there were fewer herds and less pasture, undivided co-operative cultivation had less ground of existence.
Nearchus, however, the lieutenant of Alexander, writing in the fourth century before Christ, tells us that in certain countries of India the lands were cultivated in common by the tribes, who, at the end of the year, divided the crops and produce among their members.(13) We see in Elphinstone that these communities survived till a period very near to our own,(14) and they exist even now in some remote parts of the country.
Although the periodic partition of lands has generally gone out of use, most of the other characteristics of the ancient institution have been preserved. I have no hesitation, says Sir H. Maine, in asserting that, in spite of certain differences, the mode of occupation and cultivation among peasants, grouped together in village communities, is the same in India as in primitive Europe. The English did not at first notice or understand these communities. Although the laws of Manu mention them, the Brahminic code of the Hindoos, which the English jurists first examined, was not sufficient to throw light on institutions and customs so different from those of modern Europe. It is only quite recently that they have appreciated the importance of this ancient organization, even for present purposes of administration.
In its relations with the state, the village is regarded as a jointly responsible corporation. The state looks to this corporation for the assessment and levying of imposts, and not to the individual contributor. Sir George Campbell relates that there are villages in the presidency of Madras, which have for half a century apparently submitted to the system of individual taxation, but which really pay the impost in a lump, and afterwards allot the payment according to their special mode of division.(15) The village owns the forest and uncultivated land, as undivided property, in which all the inhabitants have a right of enjoyment. As a rule, the arable land is no longer common property, as in Java or in Germany in the days of Tacitus. The lots belong to the families(16) in private ownership, but they have to be cultivated according to certain traditional rules which are binding on all.
In some remote regions the most archaic form of community is to be found, of which ancient authors make such frequent mention. The land is cultivated in common, and the produce divided among all the inhabitants. At the present time, however, collectivity no longer exists generally, except in the joint-family. This family community still exists almost everywhere, with the same features as the zadruga of the Southern Slavs, which we shall describe at length presently.
Each family is governed by a patriarch, exercising despotic authority. The village is administered by a chief, sometimes elected, sometimes hereditary. In villages where the ancient customs have been maintained, the authority belongs to a council, which is regarded as representing the inhabitants. The most necessary trades, such as those of the smith, the currier, the shoemaker, the functions of the priest and the accountant, devolve hereditarily in certain families, who have a portion of land allotted them by way of fee. The soldiers of the in-delta in Sweden receive, in a similar manner, a field and house for their support. In England, there are numerous traces(17) to shew that a custom formerly existed there exactly similar to that practised in India, a remarkable instance of the persistency of certain institutions in spite of time and national migrations.
This intimate association which forms the Hindoo village rests even at the present day on family sentiment; for the tradition, or, at least the idea, prevails among the inhabitants of descent from a common ancestor: hence arises the very general prohibition against land being sold to a stranger. Although private property is now recognized, the village, in its corporate capacity, still retains a sort of eminent domain. Testamentary disposition was not in use among the Hindoos any more than among the Germans or the Celts. In a system of community there was no place for succession or for legacies. When, in later times, individual property was introduced, the transmission of property was regulated by custom.
As Sir H. Maine remarks, in the natural association of the primitive village, economical and juridical relations are much simpler than in the social condition, of which a picture has been preserved to us in the old Roman law and the law of the Twelve Tables. Land is neither sold, leased, nor devised. Contracts are almost entirely unknown. The loan of money for interest has not even been thought of. Commodities only are the subject of ordinary transaction, and in these the great economic law of supply and demand has little room for action. Competition is unknown, and prices are determined by custom. The rule, universal with us, of selling in the dearest market possible and buying in the cheapest, cannot even be understood. Every village and almost every family is self-sufficient. Produce hardly takes the form of merchandise destined for exchange, except when sent to the sovereign as taxes or rent.(18) Human existence almost resembles that of the vegetable world, it is so simple and regular.
In the dessa of Java, and in the Russian mir, we can grasp, in living form, civilization in its earliest stage, when the agricultural system takes the place of the nomadic and pastoral system. The Hindoo village has already abandoned community, but it still retains numerous traces of it. We must now shew that European nations have started from the same point and passed through the same phases of development. We shall thus see, that in spite of diversity in external events, certain fundamental laws have in all cases presided over the economic evolution of human societies.
1. See the interesting work, entitled Bydrage tot de kennis der Volksinstetlingen in the oostelyke Soenda-landen, published in the Tydeschrift voor indische taal- land- en volkenkunde, uitgegeven door het Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen.
2. Tacitus Germany, c. xxvi.
3. The first crop of rice, paddi, gives per bouw almost 40 picols of nearly 140 lbs. each, which, at 8 francs the picol, makes about 32 francs. The second crop of maize gives 10,000 ears at 6½ francs per thousand, which makes 65 francs, that is to say about 385 francs, or between £15 and £16. The cultivation of a bouw of rice requires about thirty days' labour; that of the maize in the second crop twenty days.
4. Interesting hints, however, are to be found in the capital work of Sir Stamford Raffles on Java; in Pierson's book Het Kultuurstelsel; in Java, by J.W. Money; in the numerous publications of M. van Woudrichem van Vliet on the colonial system, and in an article by M. Sollewyn Gelpke, in the Dutch Review De Gide, Jan. 1874.
5. Session 1868, 9, no. 126. Grondbezit op Java, insolderheid in verband met art. 14, van het indisch Staatsblad, 1819, no. 5.
6. [An official statement of the quantity and value of realty made for purposes of taxation.]
7. Raffles, History of Java, I, p. 136.
8. Blackstone says on this point: "This allodial property no subject in England has, it being a received and now undeniable principle in the law, that all the lands of England are holden mediately and immediately of the crown. The sovereign, therefore, only hath absolutum et directum dominium".
9. See the note presented to the Dutch Chambers in session of 1865-6, Vaststelling der Gronden, waarop ondernemingen, landbouw en nyverheld nederlandsch Indie kunnen worden gevestigd. -- Memorie van toelichting.
10. In 1856 the tea-plantations in the domain of Djatienangar and of Tjikadjang were let to Baron Band for a rent of 50 florins the bouw of 71 ares. The government tea-plantations at Lodok, in the presidency of Bagelen, are let at from 45 to 32 florins the bouw. -- See Memorie van toelichting, quoted above.
[The hectare is about 2½ acres, and the are about 4 perches.]
11. Cases, however, are quoted in which villages have renounced periodic partition. M. Kinder de Camareeq, formerly resident in Java, mentions a dessa in the country of Kadoe, where the cultivators have introduced a new system of landed property more like the principle of allodial property than that of communal property. (See Tydschrift voor Indische taal- land- en volkenkunde, x. 290) In other districts, especially in the provinces of Madura and Cheribon, the system of collective property has been recently introduced or generalized. In Manilla, in the cultivated parts of the island, the system of individual property has supplanted collective property, but there remain numerous traces of the old agrarian organization. -- See J. Wiselins, Een bezoet aan Manila, La Hague, 1875.
12. See Revue Javanaise: Tydeschrift van het Indisch landbouw-genootschap, 1873, no. 3. Landbouw-wetgeving.
13. Strabo, l. xv. c. I. 66.
14. Mountstuart Elphinstone, History of India, 5th Edition, pp. 71-72, 263.
15. Tenure of Land in India, in Systems of Land Tenure in various Countries, published by the Cobden Club in 1870.
16. Sir H. Maine, however, tells us that, in the central provinces, "there are examples of the occasional removal of the entire arable mark from one part of the village domain to another, and of the periodical redistribution of lots within the cultivated area. There is no information of any systematic removal, and still less of any periodical re-partition of the cultivated lands, when the cultivators are of Aryan origin. But... though the practice of redistribution may be extinct, the tradition of such a practice often remains, and the disuse of it is sometimes complained of as a grievance. In English influence has had anything to do with arresting customs of repartition, which are, no doubt, quite alien to English administrative ideas, it is a fresh example of destructive influence, unwillingly and unconsciously exercised... The probability, however, is that the causes have had their operation much hastened by the English, but have not been created by them."
17. In an article in the Contemporary Review, May, 1872, On Village Communities, M. Nasse mentions, on the authority of Mr Williams' Archaeologia, a manor, in which the meadows, divided into parts or hams, were annually allotted among the inhabitants. Of these parts, one was called the Smith's ham; another the Steward's ham; and another the Constable's ham. The old English register, the Boldan Book, dating from 1163, speaks of craftsmen and indicates the portion of land they received for their services; -- thus N. N. faber tenet 6 acras pro sevitio suo. There is the same custom in Java and in India. See art. De Gids already quoted, and Maine's Village Community.
18. See an excellent sketch of the Hindoo village in Karl Marx' Das Capital, 1873, p. 370. Cf. also Lieut.-Col. Mark Wills' Historical Sketches of the South of India, London, 1810, Vol. I. p. 118; and Sir George Campbell's Modern India.