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debt, is impracticable; and if a young man be guided more by pleasure than by prudence, which commonly is the case of young men ; a vigilant and rapacious substitute, taking advantage of a forfeiting clause, turns him out of possession, and delivers him over to want and misery.
I beg indulgence for introducing a case, which though particular, may frequently happen. A gentleman, who has a familyseat finely situated, but in the state of nature, is tempted to lay out great fums
upon improvements and embellishments, having a numerous issue to benefit by his operations. They all fail; and a stranger, perhaps his enemy, becomes the heir of entail. Fond however of his darling seat, he is willing to preserve all entire, upon procuring to his heirs a reasonable sum for his improvements; which is refused. Averse to lay waste the work of his own hands, he restricts his demand to the real value of the growing timber---- All in vain. Provoked at the obstinacy of the heir of entail, he cuts down every tree, difinantles the place; and with a sad heart abandons his beloved habitation. In a bare country VOL. IV. 3 K
like Scotland, is it not cruel to deter proprietors by an entail, from improving their land and embellishing their familyseats? Is it not still more cruel, to force a proprietor, who has no heir of his own blood, to lay all waste, instead of leaving behind him a monument of his taste and industry?
But an entail is productive of consequences ftill more dismal, even with refpect to heirs. A young man upon whom the fainily-estate is entailed without any power reserved to the father, is not commonly obsequious to advice, nor patiently submissive to the fatigues of education ; he abandons himself to pleasure, and indulges his passions without control. In one word, there is no situation more fubverfive of morals, than that of a young man, bred up from infancy in the certainty of inheriting an opulent fortune.
The condition of the other children, daughters especially, is commonly deplorable. The proprietor of a large en tailed estatę, leaves at his death children who have acquired a taste for fumptuous liring. The fons drop oif one by one, and a number of daughters remain, with a
scanty provision, or perhaps with none at all. A collateral male heir succeeds, who after a painful search is discovered in some remote corner, qualified to procure bread by the spade or the plough, but entirely unqualified for behaving as master of an opulent fortune. By such a metamorphofis, the poor man makes a ludicrous figure; while the daughters, reduced to indigence, are in a situation much more lamentable than are the brats of beggars.
Our entails produce another domestic evil, for which no proper remedy is provided. The sums permitted in most entails to younger children, however adequate when the entail is made, become in time too scanty, by a fall in the value of money, and by increase of luxury ; which ' is peculiarly hard upon daughters of great families : the provisions destined for them will not afford them bread; and they cannot hope to be suitably matched, without a decent fortune. If we adhere to entails, nunneries oughi to be provided.
But the domestic evils of an entail inake ño figure, compared with those that refpect the public. These in their full ex
tent would fill a volume: they are well known; and it may be sufficient to keep them in view by some slight hints.
As observed above, few tenants in tail can command
for improvements, however profitable. Such discouragement to agriculture, hurtful to propriétors of entailed estates, is still more fo to the public. It is now an established maxim, That a state is powerful in proportion to the product of its land : a nation that feeds its neighbours, can starve them. The quantity of land that is locked up in Scotland by entails, has damped the growing spirit of agriculture. There is not produced sufficiency of corn at home for our own consumpt: and our condition will become worse and worse by new entails, till agriculture and industry be annihilated. Were the great entailed estates in Scotland, split into small properties of fifty or a hundred pounds yearly rent, we should soon be enabled, not only to fupply our own markets, but to spare for our neighbours.
In the next place, our entails are no less subversive of commerce than of agriculture. There are numberless land-e
states in Scotland of one, two, or three hundred pounds yearly rent.
Such an estate cannot afford bare necessaries to the proprietor, if he pretend to live like a gentleman. But he has an excellent resource: let him apply to any branch of trade, his estate will afford him credit for what money he wants. The profit he makes, pays the interest of the money borrowed, with a surplus; and this furplus, added to the rent of his estate, enables him to live comfortably. A number of land-proprietors in fuch circumstances, would advance commerce to a great height. But alas! there are not many who have that resource: fuch is the itch in Scotland for entailing, as even to dea fcend lower than one hundred pounds yearly. Can one behold with patience, the countenance that is given to felfish wrong-headed people, acting in direct opposition to the prosperity of their country? Commerce is no less hurt in another respect : when our land is withdrawn from commerce by entails, every prosperous trader will defert a country where he can find no land to purchase ; for to raise a family by acquiring an estate in land, is