SAT Reading - Khan Diagnostic Quiz level 2 - reading 3

Questions 1-11 are based on the following passage.

This passage is adapted from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to James Madison. It was originally written in 1785, when Jefferson was residing in France.

Seven o'clock, and retired to my fireside, I have
determined to enter into conversation with you; this
[Fontainebleau] is a village of about 5,000 inhabitants
when the court is not here and 20,000 when they are,
5 occupying a valley thro' which runs a brook, and on each
side of it a ridge of small mountains most of which are
naked rock. The king comes here in the fall always, to
hunt. His court attend him, as do also the foreign
diplomatic corps. But as this is not indispensably required,
10 and my finances do not admit the expence of a continued
residence here, I propose to come occasionally to attend the
king's levees, returning again to Paris, distant 40 miles.
This being the first trip, I set out yesterday morning to
take a view of the place. For this purpose I shaped my
15 course towards the highest of the mountains in sight, to the
top of which was about a league. As soon as I had got clear
of the town I fell in with a poor woman walking at the same
rate with myself and going the same course. Wishing to
know the condition of the labouring poor I entered into
20 conversation with her, which I began by enquiries for the
path which would lead me into the mountain: and thence
proceeded to enquiries into her vocation, condition and
circumstance. She told me she was a day labourer, at 8.
sous or 4 d. sterling the day; that she had two children to
25 maintain, and to pay a rent of 30 livres for her house
(which would consume the hire of 75 days), that often she
could get no emploiment, and of course was without bread.
As we had walked together near a mile and she had so far
served me as a guide, I gave her, on parting 24 sous. She
30 burst into tears of a gratitude which I could perceive was
unfeigned, because she was unable to utter a word. She had
probably never before received so great an aid.
This little attendrissement1, with the solitude of my
walk led me into a train of reflections on that unequal
35 division of property which occasions the numberless
instances of wretchedness which I had observed in this
country and is to be observed all over Europe. The
property of this country is absolutely concentered in a very
few hands, having revenues of from half a million of guineas
40 a year downwards. These employ the flower of the country
as servants, some of them having as many as 200
domestics, not labouring. They employ also a great number
of manufacturers, and tradesmen, and lastly the class of
labouring husbandmen2. But after all these comes the most
45 numerous of all the classes, that is, the poor who cannot
find work. I asked myself what could be the reason that so
many should be permitted to beg who are willing to work,
in a country where there is a very considerable proportion
of uncultivated lands? These lands are kept idle mostly for
50 the sake of game. It should seem then that it must be
because of the enormous wealth of the proprietors which
places them above attention to the increase of their
revenues by permitting these lands to be laboured.
I am conscious that an equal division of property is
55 impracticable. But the consequences of this enormous
inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of
mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for
subdividing property, only taking care to let their
subdivisions go hand in hand with the natural affections of
60 the human mind. The descent of property of every kind
therefore to all the children, or to all the brothers and
sisters, or other relations in equal degree is a politic
measure, and a practicable one. Another means of silently
lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from
65 taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher
portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise.
Whenever there is in any country, uncultivated lands and
unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have
been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth
70 is given as a common stock for man to labour and live on.
If, for the encouragement of industry we allow it to be
appropriated, we must take care that other employment be
furnished to those excluded from the appropriation. . .

1 emotion 2 farmers

 
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