The town population has had a tendency to wear out and must be recruited from rural districts. The village communities which still persisted at this period in England, provided a vigorous stock, from which the men whose initiative, energy and courage have made England famous during the last two centuries were largely descended. Not only were the farming fam­

43 ilies prolific in numbers but they maintained a high standard of mental and moral virtue. It must be supposed therefore that the conditions in which they lived were upon the whole favourable to the devel­ opment of their women-folk, but investigation will show that this was not the case for all members alike of the agricultural community, who may be roughly divided into three classes : (a) Farmers, (b) Husbandmen, (c) Wage-earners.