Hyde Lecture Last Night
Last night at 8 o'clock, M. d'Avenel delivered his second lecture on the economic questions of France, in Sanders Theatre. The next lecture will be given Monday at 4.30 o'clock in the same place.
M. d'Avenel traced the peasant from the early conditions of serfdom, through the steps of enfranchisement, which took place on account of the scarcity of labor in the Middle Ages. The Lords gave their servants their lands, only keeping the rents and indirect rights for themselves. This made the servants definitely associated with the land, and was a great element in retaining their services. Through this means all peasants became proprietors, but they were forbidden to sell or rent their land.
Finally the landowners found this system very disadvantageous, for the landlord's share continually increased while the owner's decreased. The land was hired out to intermediaries, who exacted heavy rent, thus forcing it to support three masters. This led to a constant abandoning and recolonization, so that land, good for cultivation, became a luxury, and since the sixteenth century, intensive cultivation has been going on rapidly.
Agricultural labor was paid very little in the early Middle Ages, but as its necessity increased, and as the tools were poor, it became dearer. In the time of Louis XVI, however, the land was at its highest period of cultivation, while the condition of the laborer had fallen to a very low state. The history of property shows the economical forces which make human combinations necessary; through its development labor organizations have been materially affected.