Interdependence of the Stakeholders in the Land
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Mr. Lockhart, although you are only seventeen years old, you seem to have a pretty good understanding of the critical relationship between the production of the land, the survival of your tenants and the payment of their rent -- and, hence, the survival of you, the landlord. You depend on your tenants for rental income and some labour services. And your tenants' sub-tenants each depend on your tenants for a small piece of ground to supply their own table with food. But what about when the crops are poor? Please give us an example from your limited experiences as Laird of Carnwath estate in Lanarkshire, Scotland.

My tenants have sent me an address representing their sad condition, caused by a particular blasting and mildew which has wasted their crop as well as their neighbours. Besides this, the crop of 1696 was generally bad throughout the kingdom. They have had this address attested by many of the ministers of the Lanark and Biggar Presbyteries, and they crave an abatement [reduction] of that year's rent, as has been granted by other masters to their tenants who did not suffer as much...

I realise the truth of their complaint and that the state of my tenants is such that without an abatement most of them will not be able to continue their holdings, and so will embezzle everything they can lay hands on which should go towards the payment of their rent, for they will be without any hope of ever getting it all paid off. Whereby I shall be a far greater loser than I would be if I gave them sufficient abatement to encourage them to set to work again with some hope that they'll be able to live under me on their holdings. Besides, it may be that the law would allow them more than I propose to give them. Therefore I desire the consent of your Lordship and of Mr. Montgomery [Lockhart's other guardian] to grant to my tenants an abatement of half their rent for the year 1696, as others have done before me, seeing it's against all equity that when the ground fails to produce its increase some consideration should not be given to those who work it. When they have got this abatement they will still be losers, but all their losses can be made up

George Lockhart to his guardian, Sir James Scougall of Whitehill, in February 1698  (From the Scottish History Society, Letters of George Lockhart of Carnwath, p. xiv-xv, 1-2.)

Let me make sure that I understand this. "When the ground fails to produce its increase", it was evidently felt that, constitutionally, it was unfair and, indeed, unwise, for the farmer to suffer alone. Under feudalism, the land was the foundation of the socio-economic structure and the basis for the national constitution. All in the late-feudal hierarchy had some rights to the produce of the land and all had to share in the losses. "Farm subsidies" such as those you propose were common-place in times of crop failure. In essence, the survival of everyone on your estate depends very much on the land itself.

From When the Ground Fails -- An Economic Watershed (SHR V9#6)