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Northern Wisconsin Agricultural and Mechanical Association / Transactions of the Northern Wisconsin Agricultural and Mechanical Association, including a full report of the industrial convention held at Neenah, Wisconsin, February, 1886. Together with proceedings of the Association for 1884, to January 1, '86
Vol. XI (1886)

Bright, C. M.
Taxation,   pp. 273-306 PDF (6.8 MB)


Page 284


284   TRANSACTIONS OF THE NORTHERN WISCONSIN
one and a quarter millions now, and it will be one and a half
millions before the time for the next census. Tenant farm-
ers are not a product of the older states alone. They are
found in greater numbers in the comparatively new states.
There are, in round numbers, 85,000 in Illinois; 50,000 in Ohio;
50,000 in Indiana; 15,000 in Michigan; 13,000 in our own
state; 55,000 in Iowa; 60,000 in Missouri; 23,000 in Kansas.
In the city of Springfield, Illinois, there are two hundred
families living in all the enjoyment that wealth gives on the
rental of farming lands, worked by tenant farmers. One
county in Illinois pays over $100,000 a year to an Irish land-
lord who lives in England and has his affairs here managed
by an agent. Ex-Senator David Davis, of the same state,
receives an annual rental of $150,000 for the use of farming
lands. Thousands of tenant farmers in the western states
pay their rent to the agents of English landlords. A late
English publication says that Englishmen own more land in
the United States from which they receive a rental than
they do in England.
The United States has to-day a larger number of tenant
farmers than any other country in the world. Ireland,
robbed and ground into the dirt by its landlords, until even
the hearts of its English masters have been moved in pity
for it, has less than one-half as many; and adding those of
England, Scotland and Wales, the total falls a quarter of a
million short of what we have here, where we have been
priding ourselves that the system could never gain a foot-
hold. There are millions of acres of unoccupied land to be
sure, but it is held by railroads, to which it has recklessly
and lavishly been given in grants; by speculators, and by the
Indians in their reservations. The cattle barons of the west
and southwest, many of them aliens, are occupying vast
areas which they got for almost nothing. These lands are
all going to become immensely valuable within a few years.
The growing population, with its increasing demand for
land, will operate as an increasing demand always operates.
Prices will go up. Poor men cannot purchase, and must
lease. The tenant portion of the population will increase in
a rapid ratio, and the landed aristocracy will increase in


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