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treat is, ' whether equality or inequality of ranks and fortunes is the condition best suited to the exercise of virtue.' Now it seems undeniable that if the object of the Creator with respect to man be to discipline an imperfect creature, rather than to place a perfect character in a state of enjoyment suited to its faculties, the varieties of human condition, and the practical duties arising out of them, enlarge the sphere of action, and afford opportunities for the display of those virtues and charities which distinguish the renovated from the abandoned character. The theories which profess to remove all temptation to coveting, violence, and injustice, by giving every man an equal share of temporal advantages, and affording thereby to no one a just cause of complaint, seem to overlook the obvious truth that man is very apt to complain, to covet, and to defraud, without just 'cause, and even without any real want of the objects which tempt him to those crimes. The evil is in the heart, not in the outward circumstances; and unless those circumstances are so framed as to discipline the heart, no arbitrary arrangement will prevent its inward corruption from breaking out into overt acts.' The history of all those tribes of mankind, where an apparent equality of condition is thought to exist, is conclusive upon this point; and the theory is obnoxious to the same reproach of absurdity with that to which we lately alluded, since it supposes a state of virtue, only to be acquired through the discipline and trial of a condition of inequality, to be compatible with one of perfect equality. A moment's reflection will convince any reasonable mind that this world is not the theatre upon which such a scene can be displayed.

The various duties and relations of the higher, the middle, and the labouring classes of society towards each other, with their effects in producing the respective evidences of virtue and obedievce which the Creator requires from them, are described by Mr. Sumner with eloquence and feeling in several passages of this chapter, which we regret that we cannot afford space to extract. The reader of them should bear constantly in mind that the author by the terms of his contract was confined in this part of his work to the light of reason and of nature, and that the arguments to be derived from the Revelation of the Lord Jesus' were specially reserved to a subsequent portion of the Essay. With this remark we lay before our readers the conclusions drawn by Mr. Sumner from the arguments of this chapter.

• On the whole, we may be allowed to conclude, that if it had been possible, according to the established system of the universe, for mankind to have continued equal in their fortunes and conditions, the same equality would have extended to their minds. The consequence would have been a general inferiority of the rational faculties. The existence of high practical rules raises the general standard of morality; because, 3

even if few attain the summit, all are tending, more or less, towards it. But those lights of the world, which have occasionally appeared, and have established, from collected observations, the most useful rules of conduct, and the sublimest morality, would have been extinct. Extinguish then these lights, annihilate these general rules, diminish at the same time the temptations to vice and the opportunities of virtue, the advantage is doubtful, the evil certain. Experience does not acquaint us, that even the vices would be less gross or numerous; but it is undeniable that the approved virtues would be both of a lower standard, and of rarer occurrence. Variety of condition enlarges the sphere of active duty; and every circumstance that enlarges the sphere of duty, contributes towards the perfection of a being, whose distinguishing faculty is obedience to reason, and whose most valuable quality is a power of moral and intellectual improvement commensurate with his individual situation.'-vol. ii. pp. 98, &c.

Having thus shewn that a state of society consisting of various ranks and conditions is best suited to excite the industry, and to discipline and promote the virtues of mankind, Mr. Sumner proceeds to the consideration of the SINGLE PRINCIPLE which he had previously announced as inevitably tending to bring the human race, generally speaking, into such a situation. We have already stated that we agree with Mr. Sumner in believing that the principle of population, when rightly stated, will be found to be one of those nteans which Providence has ordained for the purpose of keeping the human faculties in a continual state of exertion, with a view to escape the difficulties which press upon individual comfort and happiness, in consequence of those changes which never fail to affect them in some way or other during the progress of society from the lower to the higher stages. But in order to shew that this argument is practically sound, we hold it essential to prove that the exertions when made will be sufficient to relieve those who make them from the pressure under which they previously laboured. And here we think that Mr. Sumner has altogether failed, and by admitting in their full extent the truth of Mr. Malthus's propositions, has involved himself in many difficulties and inconsistencies. If it be true, as Mr. Sumner states from Mr. Malthus, that, even in countries greatly civilized, population is known to double itself in twenty-five years, provided a sufficient portion of unoccupied land remain to raise subsistence for it, we apprehend that the prospect held out to reward even the most active exertions, which men are capable of making in such countries to procure food, would be so disheartening, that far from leading to exertion, it would lead only to despair of any possibility of relief. It is well known to all who have inquired into the subject, that the power of bringing fresh land into cultivation in civilized


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countries, or in those advanced beyond the purely agricultural state of society, is attended with numerous difficulties increasing with every step in the pregress of advancement. If theu the power of multiplication in the human species continued the same, the evident impossibility of meeting the demand for food would be so apparent, that a rational man, instead of exercising prospective industry for the production of that which he would have very little chance of enjoying when produced, would feel exceedingly disposed to join in a scramble for the food already in existence. The operations necessary to carry on the government in a free country would be altogether impossible; and no resource would be left to keep mankind under sufficient controul, or to secure to the actual possessors the enjoyment of their property, but a tyranny sufficiently grinding either to repress the natural tendency to increase by generally prohibiting marriage among the lower orders; or to reduce them to the necessity of starving in quiet, without endangering the government; or, lastly, to encourage them, as in China, to have recourse to infanticide.

But the principal question, after all, resolves itself into this : Does the population in civilized countries still possessing large portions of uncultivated land, when unchecked by want or misery, actually increase, or rather is it physically possible that it should increase as fast as in the purely agricultural countries, i.e. can it double itself, when unchecked, in twenty-five years ?' We really apprehend that no rational man would ever have answered this question in the affirmative, if he had duly considered the terms of the proposition, and reflected for a moment on the effects which great towns, extensive manufactures, liberal professions, and the thousand avocations incident to increasing civilization, produce upon the numbers of mankind, independently of any necessary recurrence to an increase of vice, misery, or such a modification of moral restraint as includes an involuntary abstinence from marriage. Let us look to England, in which there is certainly enough of uncultivated or ill-cultivated land to support, under improvement, double its present population; yet such has been the result of the spontaneous arrangements and distribution of the people, that notwithststanding the forcing priuciple of the poor laws, the population has not doubled itself in two centuries; and yet there is less of vice and misery, and, perhaps, of involuntary abstinence from marriage on the part of the lower orders, than in any country in the world, and there is no commercial or manufacturing country where the facilities of bringing fresh land into cultivation or of improving that already cultivated are so great. If the population has a physical inability to increase with equal rapidity in civilized and manufaeturing, as in rude and agricultural countries, the prin



cipal limb of Mr. Malthus's fundamental proposition is evidently paralyzed, and we may with some degree of comfort consider ourselves relieved from the necessity of considering God as either directly or indirectly the author of moral evil; or of believing the necessary

existence of moral evil in order to counteract the natural evil of a population inevitably increasing beyond any possibility of providing for it the means of subsistence.

Still, however, another question remains to be resolved in order to apply the argument to the case now under consideration. If the natural or spontaneous tendency of population to increase is not such as it is stated by Mr. Malthus, to what extent does it actually reach in the several states of society in which mankind are found to exist ?

To enter into a full discussion of this most interesting subject would evidently exceed the limits to which we are necessarily confined on the present occasion. We are aware, however, of the importance

of a full discussion of the principles of population and production in the present conflicting state of the public opinion on that great practical question; and we shall hope to undertake something of the kind at no distant period. Without entering minutely at present into the arguments, we think ourselves authorized to assert with some confidence, that every step which a country takes in the progress of society, and consequently towards the end of its resources in cultivation, is accompanied by a corresponding abatement in the progress of population arising out of natural circumstànces of constant and universal operation, and unalterable by any laws within the power of man to controul. Different degrees of morals and of civil liberty will, of course, advance or retard a community in its progress towards the higher stages of society; but whatever tends to its advancement in that progress will equally tend to abate the rapidity with which population might be supposed to proceed in the earlier stages of society. Whatever tends to retard a community in its advancement to the higher stages will equally tend, not indeed to the actuaļ increase of population, but to that miserable condition in which a scanty nuniber of people are found half-starved, as in Spain and other countries, in the midst of a fertile territory soliciting the efforts of their industry, and prepared to make an ample return of subsistence. Be it observed also, that there is an extreme point in the progress of civilization towards its highest stage, in which the population of a country cannot naturally increase its numbers any further; and that this will occur from the same causes which produce the civilization itself, before the land of the country is cultivated up to its fullest capacity of production. Thus are we brought to the glorious conclusion that a free, a civilized, and a tolerably moral community will, under any circum

stances, stances, always flourish and support itself in comfort; whereas an oppressed, a degraded, and an eminently immoral community must decay and be overwhelmed with misery. Under the guidance of these general principles, we are certainly disposed to admit that population (up to a certain point in the highest stage of civilization) has a tendency (gradually decreasing, however, with every step in the progress of society) to overtake the supply of food actually eristing in any given country. And in this tendency we hail and venerate the ordinance by which Providence has secured the perpetual exercise of the human faculties by rendering the industry and activity of man necessary to his comfortable subsistence. But in the increased retardation which affects the progress of population at every successive step in this career, so as to prevent the numbers of the people from ever exceeding the supply of food which, with due industry, may yet be procured from the soil, we are led to the grateful contemplation of another ordinance, which secures to human industry and activity its due and certain reward. So that a rational man is provided with every possible motive for exertion, which the pressure of necessity on the one hand and the certainty of its effectual removal by the appointed means on the other, can possibly hold out. And he may set himself in good earnest to the improvement of the productive powers of his country in all its departments

, and according to the talents with which be is gifted, without any check from the servile fear that he is thereby accumulating the burthen of vice and misery upon the innocent heads of his remote posterity.

It is no slight corroboration of the truth of this statement_first, that the countries most verging towards a full state of population and production, even though their soil and climate be ungrateful, are uviformly observed to be those which suffer •least from an excess of numbers; because the very causes which lead to such a condition of society do also introduce among the people spontaneous habits and arrangements naturally inconsistent with that tendency to a rapid increase of population which is found in the earlier stages of society. And, secondly, that no record exists of any extensive country fully peopled and cultivated up to its utmost capacity, or even approaching to such a state. It is incontestible then that some principles necessarily inhere in the higher stages of society, distinct from a want of means to produce further food, which naturally prevent the population from extending itself beyond the powers

of the soil to afford a comfortable subsistence. 'Should any one be disposed to adduce China as an instance of a country fully peopled and cultivated up to its utmost capacity, we think that a perutsal of the latest authentic accounts of that empire will correct the erroneous impression.


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