William Ogilvie s

thy father and
thy mother that thy
days may be long upon
which the Lord thy God
giveth thee.
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"When a child is born, we recognise that it has a natural right to its mother's milk, and no-one can deny that it has the same right to mother-earth."

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This volume has been developed from DC MacDonald's 1891 Birthright in Land edition of Ogilvie's anonymous 1782 Essay on the Right of Property in [and Because both Ogilvie's and MacDonald's original texts are quite lengthy, and since much of their peripheral content is of less immediate interest to readers today, we hove edited them especially Ogilvie's - with considerable freedom Like an apple tree being pruned to bear fruit, we have cut out those dead sections of only historical interest; and too the rank growth, where his writing seemed very conditioned by the circumstances of his times (times dangerous to any Revolutionist) to let light into the heart of the tree, punctuation, a few archaic expressions, and some minor points of syntax have been modernized; and to rebalance the structure of the new-shaped tree, and preserve a proper flow in the much shortened text, we have reorganised the work and made good use of Ogilvie's own excellent Synoptical Contents and Footnotes to his Essay

May the tree fruit heavily

"Ogilvie and Burns saw eye to eye; but while Burns roused up his fellow-men from the gutter of serfdom, Ogilvie reasoned with them as to the causes which brought them to such a low condition and also as to the means of reclaiming their natural rights. Ogilvie considered the whole question from a magnanimous, impartial, and truly Scientific point of view. He pleaded for "free inquiry", he sought after truth; he was not one of those rough-and-ready reformers who would simply say, "Abolish Iandlordism and all evils will vanish". No.

He looked upon modern landlordism not as a cause but as an effect. The primary and fundamental cause of all the evils under which humanity suffers is traced by him to man's want of knowledge; and landlordism, with all its consequent evils, under which humanity groans, according to him, is directly owing to man ignorance of his natural rights. It is this ignorance which begets slavish submission and breeds opression. Ogilvie considered the situation logically. In his view IGNORANT HUMANITY MUST NEGLECT ITS RIGHTS, AND WITHOUT ITS RIGHTS CANNOT PERFORM ITS DUTIES. Rights and duties are co-relative.

Ogilvie recognised this very old maxim of Natural Law. He saw the dishonest and absurd position which the landlords take up in every country. They first rob their fellow-men of their natural rights, and then they add insult to injury by accusing them of neglecting their duties. They call them poor and lazy, while at the same time they, as a rule, do no productive work themselves, and their whole wealth consists of property created by the labor of others. And these "freebooters", as Ogilvie calls them, are styled noblemen and gentlemen and have arrogated to themselves the position of rulers and legislators in almost every Country under heaven."

from D C MacDonald's Biographical notes to the 1891 edition of Birthright in Land

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Ogilvie. William (1736-1819) Birthright in Land
1. Popular Scottish Politics
2. Land Reform 3. Political Economy
I. Title II. Ogilvie, William, Birthright in Land, with
Biographical Notes by DC MacDonald, 1891
III. Anonymous. An Essay on the Right of Property in Land, 1782
ISBN 1 901647 13 7

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