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"Talk About the Land."
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Massingham, H.J.
Rural Living

The last in an argumentative interchange with H.J. Massingham, editor of a volume negatively reviewed thrice by Bates, in The Spectator, in Life and Letters To-day, and in the Journal of the Royal Society of Arts.

Massingham's original objection (The Spectator, August 1, 1941) and Bate's response (August 8) are both offered in full-text.

Massingham's second letter (attached) appeared on August 15, and Bates responded yet again on August 22, at the bottom of which appears the note "This correspondence is closed.— ED., The Spectator.") Massingham's letter is followed by a similar defense by Rolf Gardiner, author of one of the pieces most criticized by Bates.

In Bates's final volley, which addresses both letters, he writes: "My forefathers worked on the land; most of them could read but not write; some could write but not read; their average wage was from six to twelve shillings a week; they brought up families of an average of ninepence per head per week; they made shirts at sixpence a piece, finding their own buttons and cotton, and did not make a song about it...they ate meat once a month or waited at the doors of the big house for the soup of charity...I cannot take seriously his pretty picture of the grand old days 'populated by the craftsmen, the yeomen, the laborers, the poets and the celebrants of earth's due festivals.'...I am only very certain, and very glad, that I am not as my forefathers were."

In The Spectator (August 22, 1941, p. 182, attached).


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