One peasant who lost his rights to common land after the enclosures



One peasant who lost his rights to common land after the enclosures wrote to the local lord-Should a • poor man take one of your sheep from the common, his life would be forfeited by law. But should you take the common from a hundred poor men’s sheep, the law gives no redress. The poor man is liable to be hung for taking from you what would not supply you with a meal; and you would do nothing illegal by depriving him of his subsistence;-What should be the inference of the poor-when the laws are not accessible to the injured poor and the government gives them no redress?
Read the above passage and answer the following questions
(a) What is the peasant trying to say in the passage?
(b) What lesson/values have you learnt from the above passage?


(a) He is trying to say that the law is one-sided, only favouring the rich farmers, who have taken over the commons.
A poor man can be hanged for stealing one sheep, whereas the rich landlords have taken over the common land in which the poor were earlier grazing their large numbers of sheep. The rich farmers were not being penalised for taking over the commons, although they deprived the poor men’s sheep of fodder. He was protesting against the unjust laws.
(b) From the above passage I have learnt, that inequality is always unfortunate for the poor and ordinary people. Society has a tendency to protect the rich. But everyone should be treated equally.