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far as we can judge from history, there never has been a period of any considerable length, when premature mortality and vice, specifically arising from the pressure of population against food, has not prevailed to a considerable extent; nor, admitting the possibility, or even the probability, of those evils being diminished, is there any rational prospect of a near approach to their entire removal.'-Correspondence with Mr. Senior, p. 86.

The pressure of certain acknowledged evils, rising at one period to a crisis, may probably, we have said, have induced this train of thought in cold and speculative intellects; but when once entertained, it is very certain that the subject and the view altogether grew to be a very favourite one with these theorists, who, inured to the occupation of making the whole train of human calamity fit neatly into a system, and adopting an abstract and technical phraseology, as if purposely to exclude human feeling in the discussion of the highest human interests, lost all sense, in their studies, of the reality of the evils, the vice and misery, they so glibly discussed, and betrayed, one and all, a very decided unwillingness to admit the possibility of a brighter side to the question. With some minds, the dis-. covery of a cause for certain evils is much the same final act, and produces the same sense of satisfaction, as the finding a remedy does to more practical heads and hearts. Malthus and his followers were not, indeed, without a remedy, but it was one, they were well aware, not suited to human nature, nor ever likely to be acted upon. Such as it was, however, they were as jealous of its exclusive power, as though they believed it the true panacea for every evil of life. 'We must on no account do anything which tends directly to encourage marriage,' said they. The poor must be taught that the greatest part of their sufferings proceeds from imprudence in this respect;' that 'their only mode of bettering their condition is by withholding the supplies of labour, which they, being possessors of this commodity, have ' alone the power to do;' that this is the principal and most permanent cause of poverty;' going on to prove that even industry itself would not avail anything if all men were industrious; that no man has a right to marry, with only the means of maintaining two children, when the average shows he may have three or four; that such a man falling into want, however steady and otherwise praiseworthy his conduct may have been, is no fit object for national help, but a criminal in his country's eyes. As no abstract can do justice to the firmness of Malthus's views on this point, we will give his own words. After proposing the total abolition of the Poor-Laws, and suggesting that the clergyman of each parish should always, after publishing the banns, read a short address on the duty of every man to support his own children, he goes on :—

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'After the public notice (the above clerical exhortation) which I have proposed, had been given, and the system of Poor-Laws had ceased with

regard to the rising generation, if any man chose to marry, without a prospect of being able to support a family, he should have the most perfect liberty to do so. Though to marry in this case is, in my opinion, clearly an immoral act; yet it is not one which society can justly take upon itself to prevent or punish; because the punishment provided for it by the laws of nature falls directly and most severely upon the individual who commits the act, and through him, only remotely and feebly, on the society. When nature will govern and punish for us, it is a very miserable ambition to wish to snatch the rod from her hands, and draw upon ourselves the odium of executioner. To the punishment, therefore, of nature he should be leftthe punishment of want. He has erred in the face of a most clear and precise warning, and can have no just reason to complain of any person but himself, when he feels the consequences of his error. All parish assistance should be denied him; and if the hand of private charity be stretched forth for his relief, the interests of humanity imperiously require that it should be administered sparingly. He should be taught to know, that the laws of nature, which are the laws of God, had doomed him and his family to suffer for disobeying their repeated admonitions: that he had no claim or right on society for the smallest portion of food beyond that which his labour would fairly purchase, and that if he and his family were saved from suffering the extremities of hunger, he would owe it to the pity of some kind benefactor, to whom, therefore, he ought to be bound by the strongest ties of gratitude. It may appear to be hard that a mother and her children, who had been guilty of no particular crime themselves, should suffer for the ill conduct of the father; but this is one of the invariable laws of nature; knowing this, we should think twice upon the subject, and be very sure of the ground on which we go, before we presume systematically to counteract it.'-Malthus, vol. ii. p. 321.

In spite of the plausible terms of this argument, we need not enter, at this day, into its real immorality and injustice, throwing as it does the burden of the preventive check' upon the poor, to whom celibacy is an immeasurably greater hardship than to the rich, and for whom we may even say that, as a class, it is a manifestly unfit state of life, and compelling the labourer's conscience to be guided, not by his strength to labour, nor his willingness to labour, nor even his actual labour, but solely by the value of that labour in the labour-market. Such as it was, the argument required that it should be the only 'check' against the threatened evils; and all other remedies, however evident, were dismissed with little ceremony. Our rapidly increasing commerce was regarded with a jealous eye, suggesting as it did the idea of exchanging our manufactures for the food of other countries. 'If our commerce continue increasing for a few 'years,' he says, and our commercial population with it, we 'shall be laid so bare to the shafts of fortune, that nothing but ' a miracle can save us from being sunk.' The increasing powers of agriculture were but temporary, inefficient reliefs. The imporation of corn adequate at all times to the demand is pronounced 'scarcely possible,' and the question of emigration itself gains scarcely more attention. The economist even turns sentimental when this drain' is offered to his attention, and having condemned his labourer to celibacy and a cheerless hearth, he

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pleads the love of country, of parents, kindred, friends, and companions, as real reasons why he should not attempt to improve his condition elsewhere. But even should the subject of so much regard think otherwise, the resource is both temporary and inadequate.

Every resource, however, from emigration, if used effectually, as this would be, must be of short duration. There is scarcely a state in Europe, except, perhaps, Russia, the inhabitants of which do not often endeavour to better their condition by removing to other countries. As these states, therefore, have nearly all rather a redundant than deficient population, in proportion to their progress, they cannot be supposed to afford any effectual resources to emigration to each other. Let us suppose for a moment that, in this more enlightened part of the globe, the internal economy of each state was so admirably regulated, that no checks existed to population, and that the different governments provided every facility for emigration. Taking the population of Europe, excluding Russia, at a hundred millions, and allowing a greater increase of produce than is probable, and even possible, in the mother countries, the redundancy of parentstock in a single century would be eleven hundred millions, which, added to the natural increase of the colonies during the same time, would more than double what has been supposed to be the present population of the whole earth. Can we imagine that in the uncultivated parts of Asia, Africa, or America, the greatest exertions and the best directed endeavours could, in so short a period, prepare a quantity of land sufficient for the support of such a population? If any sanguine person should feel a doubt upon the subject, let him add twenty-five or fifty years more, and every doubt must be erased in overwhelming conviction.

'It is evident, therefore, that the reason why the resource of emigration has so long continued to be held out as a remedy to redundant population is because, from the natural unwillingness of people to desert their native country, and the difficulty of clearing and cultivating fresh soil, it never is or can be adequately adopted. If this remedy were indeed really effectual, and had power so far to relieve the disorders of vice and misery in old states as to place them in the condition of the most prosperous new colonies, we should soon see the phial exhausted, and when the disorders returned with increased virulence, every hope from this quarter would be for ever closed.

It is clear, therefore, that with any view of making room for an unrestricted increase of population, emigration is perfectly inadequate; but as a partial and temporary expedient, and with a view to the more general cultivation of the earth, and the wider spread of civilization, it seems to be both useful and proper.'-Malthus, vol. ii. p. 71.

Such were the arguments used by one philosopher, and held unanswerable by many others, fifty years ago. Why, (even by their own showing.) because the world would be full of people some hundreds or thousands of years hence, persons suited to one another, and loving one another, should not marry meanwhile, is not explained: nor why we are bound to consider the future so much in a matter in which the future might be very well left to take care of itself.

Looking back upon the warmth and zeal with which these opinions were entertained, we see the force of local circumstances to influence minds which think themselves most speculative and capable of abstraction. These reasoners may be

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said to have discarded faith for sense and reason, and arguing, as all in this temper must, from a limited field of inquiry and with limited powers, the present and the near entirely obscured the full bearings of the subject from their minds.

There are few things which a clever man may not undertake to prove with such a show of reason and logic, that common sense and instinct will find it hard to maintain their ground in the controversy. The only thing for a plain man to do in such cases is to consider how the theory first arose in the arguer's mind. If we see in him a strong leaning to it because it is his own conception, or because it falls in with his principles, or because it suits his interests, or because his argument requires it, we may very well disregard a great deal of reasoning we have not wit or practice to refute. If all the people who could not answer Malthus had remained single in obedience to his dictum, the English nation might still have been restricted to this island's shores, struggling for a bare subsistence from its sole produce, the victims of preventive checks,' with only half our numbers, and those inadequately supplied. But nature and observation found opposing arguments more influential in conduct, though offering a poor resistance on paper. We remember the reply with which a working-woman summarily discarded the Malthusian dissuasion from matrimony, as entailing the expense and burden of a family, when such arguments were rife in the world,- Them as is'nt' (she argued) done but do, and them as is done;' which, less tersely rendered, means'those who are single only just get a living, and those that are married always get that.' Reasoning potent then and always, and, it must be owned, answering very much to our experience, though none can feel more strongly than we do the evil and consequent miseries of rash and thoughtless marriages.

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It is in no spirit of boasting, nor as expressing any confidence in the permanence of a prosperity even now threatened in more than one quarter, that we have chosen to preface our notice of the recent Census by the contrast these gloomy theories offer to the actual facts which have from time to time been brought to light, and never more strikingly than in these lately issued papers: and to show how formal statements and interminable arrays of figures may vindicate the goodness of Providence and the permanence of its laws against all the forebodings and threatenings of faithless alarmists. We know not what the future may have in store for us, nor what reverses the years come may hide from us. But we see that the command to increase and multiply and replenish the earth has been obeyed, in spite of the fears of political economists; that nature and reason have safely despised their paper difficulties; that there have been thousands and myriads of happy homes where they


would have prescribed cheerless solitude, and innumerable families have been maintained where they prophesied want and misery; that millions of heirs to a glorious immortality have been born where their theories required an empty void; that rich wastes have been peopled where they foresaw only failure. and distress; that the world's resources have opened out indefinitely where they expected only a limited and short-lived supply;—in a word, that liberty and just laws, and industry and skill, and the genius of a powerful race, and our excellent institutions, and our salubrious climate, have produced the consequences apprehended by these reasoners, of an increase in population unknown before in the history of the world, but that hitherto the earth's resources have kept pace, and more than kept pace with the increase,—and so far their ill prophecies have signally failed; that never has there been a people at once so increasing and so prosperous. The maxims of Divine Providence still hold good,-still in all labour there is profit,' the thought of the diligent still tends to plenty;' still the earth is for all; the valleys still laugh with corn; God's thousand hills have still their countless flocks, and men gladly go forth, leaving their own people and their fathers' house, to cultivate and to tend them. Still we may greet the bridegroom with the Christian marriage song, and all its train of blessings,—'Oh, well is thee, and happy shalt thou be,' for the earth has still room enough and to spare for wife and children, and countless virtuous homes.

In fifty years the population of Great Britain has doubled itself, and, if we take into the account those vast numbers who have left its shores, has trebled itself within that period, and yet these multitudes-not shutting our eyes to the present so-called scarcity are more prosperous, better supplied with the necessaries of life, with food and clothing, than when all these fears of superfecundity' were first entertained, and England contained ten millions instead of twenty millions of souls.

The subject of statistics has never been regarded with much general favour. Persons who delight in numbers, and who have a faculty for reducing all subjects to a matter of figures, viewing every question of morals and politics through their medium, are regarded very much as a distinct peculiar race, who must expect no sympathy from the world at large in the pleasures and difficulties, the discoveries and perplexities of their art. It must be owned that all forms and combinations of numbers fall dead on the common ear; that there are multitudes who never take them into their minds at all-who derive no ideas from hundreds and thousands and millions-who, being told certain great numerical facts one day, are found the next totally oblivious, and who cannot remember with

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