Front Page Titles (by Subject) Part I, Chapter II: Of Human Societies - Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en Général
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Part I, Chapter II: Of Human Societies - Richard Cantillon, Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en Général 
Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en General, edited with an English translation and other material by Henry Higgs, C.B. Reissued for The Royal Economic Society by Frank Cass and Co., LTD., London. 1959.
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Part I, Chapter II
Of Human Societies
Which way soever a Society of Men is formed the ownership of the Land they inhabit will necessarily belong to a small number among them.
In wandering Societies like Hordes of Tartars and Camps of Indians who go from one place to another with their Animals and Families, it is necessary that the Captain or King who is their Leader should fix the boundaries of each Head of a Family and the Quarters of an Individual around the Camp. Otherwise there would always be disputes over the Quarters or Conveniencies, Woods, Herbage, Water, etc. but when the Quarters and Boundaries of each man are settled it is as good as ownership while they stay in that place.
In the more settled Societies: if a prince at the head of an Army has conquered a Country, he will distribute the Lands among his Officers or Favourites according to their Merit or his Pleasure (as was originally the case in France): he will then establish laws to vest the property in them and their Descendants: or he will reserve to himself the ownership of the Land and employ his Officers or Favourites to cultivate it: or will grant the Land to them on condition that they pay for it an annual Quit Rent or Due: or he will grant it to them while reserving his freedom to tax them every year according to his needs and their capacity. In all these cases these Officers or Favourites, whether absolute Owners or Dependents, whether Stewards or Bailiffs of the produce of the Land, will be few in number in proportion to all the Inhabitants.
Even if the Prince distribute the Land equally among all the Inhabitants it will ultimately be divided among a small number. One man will have several Children and cannot leave to each of them a portion of Land equal to his own; another will die without Children, and will leave his portion to some one who has Land already rather than to one who has none; a third will be lazy, prodigal, or sickly, and be obliged to sell his portion to another who is frugal and industrious, who will continually add to his Estate by new purchases and will employ upon it the Labour of those who having no Land of their own are compelled to offer him their Labour in order to live.
At the first settlement of Rome each Citizen had two Journaux1 of Land allotted to him. Yet there was soon after as great an inequality in the estates as that which we see today in all the countries of Europe. The Land was divided among a few owners.
Supposing then that the Land of a new country belongs to a small number of persons, each owner will manage his Land himself or let it to one or more Farmers: in this case it is essential that the Farmers and Labourers should have a living whether they cultivate the Land for the Owner or for the Farmer. The overplus of the Land is at the disposition of the Owner: he pays part of it to the Prince or the Government, or else the Farmer does so directly at the Owner's expense.
As for the use to which the Land should be put, the first necessity is to employ part of it for the Maintenance and Food of those who work upon it and make it productive: the rest depends principally upon the Humour and Fashion of Living of the Prince, the Lords, and the Owner: if these are fond of drink, vines must be cultivated; if they are fond of silks, mulberry-trees must be planted and silkworms raised, and moreover part of the Land must be employed to support those needed for these labours; if they delight in horses, pasture is needed, and so on.
If however we suppose that the Land belongs to no one in particular, it is not easy to conceive how a Society of men can be formed there: we see, for example, in the Village Commons a limit fixed to the number of animals that each of the Commoners may put upon them; and if the Land were left to the first occupier in a new conquest or discovery of a country it would always be necessary to fall back upon a law to settle Ownership in order to establish a Society, whether the law rested upon Force or upon Policy.
[1.]See Essai, p. 95. Postlethwayt and P. Cantillon have "2 acres".