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NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS.
“Juvenis" will find his "paradox" resolved in Horne's Introduction, a work which we strongly recommend to bis. perusal.- Archbishop Usher was not the translator of the books of Chronicles. The difficulty relative to the Lord's Prayer does not appear to us to merit discussion.
“E. W. H.” and “E” shall be inserted in our next Number.
We have been compelled to defer to our next, some additions we had intended to make to our Notice of the new edition of Mr. Horne's Introduction,
IRELAND has been for many years the opprobrium politicorum; with natural resources beyond almost any other country, with a population rapidly increasing, yet not so rapidly as to render the quantity of nourishment that could be apportioned to them at all scanty ; with a peasantry possessed of many of the qualities that tend to render society valuable and nations great, and a soil that rewards industry with a return beyond the usual estimate of agriculture; with a coast, whose extensive bays and harbours seem to invite commerce, and surrounded by an ocean containing the means of supplying food and labour to its inhabitants, however multiplied : --with all these natural advantages, Ireland is poor and calamitous, in possession of wealth her population are pinched with want, in the enjoyment of a free constitution they bear the aspect, and manifest the insubordination of slaves, and though for centuries in the neighbourhood of a literary and a Protestant Government, whence light has emanated to the remotest regions of the earth, Ireland still continues enveloped in thick darkness, impervious to those rays that have glanced warmth and animation on the Hindoo and the Hottentot.
Ireland is a political paradox; known to England first by its insubordination and hostility, and only known to be half conquered and wholly opprest; the next step in its history is neglect, until ignorance and indolence became engrafted into the peasant's nature; and although it has been lately made the object of public attention, it has been only as the arena in which interested poli. ticians may contend ; the subject for the transitory, but not innoxious experiments of political empiricism. The itch of legislation seldom leaves Ireland in undisturbed possession of its laws for a single Session, and if the good sense of our Ministry, or the good-natured ignorance of our neighbours, or the well meant but officious pertinacity of one of our own members, per
mits the country to rest from the “fear of change;" some outcry from the demagogues that govern and distract the country, calls forth from one side or another of the House, some fresh attempt either to repress or to favour. Legislation can do little for Ireland, and that little must be effected rather in the way of protection, than of direct enactment;* with every fresh instance of legislative wisdom arises the anxiety to pervert and to prevent, while the ingenuity of the enemy to the law, and the bold contempt of it by the agitator meets little difficulty in breaking through the precepts of a legislation, made perhaps in ignorance, erroneous in its principle, and impracticable in its execution.
One cause of the obscurity that confessedly bangs over Ireland and her politics, is assuredly the imperfect manner in which her situation is appreciated. The politician takes a casual glance at her circumstances, sees from the position he has chosen some one evil peculiarly prominent, fancies that it alone is the origin of all the disorders he would remedy, and passing hastily to his conclusion, prescribes solely for it. Now, it is as seldom found in the body politic as in the body natural, that diseases are unmixed; the point that calls especially for diagnostic skill, is to ascertain the causes of the almost contradictory symptoms in each case, and he who would propose remedies for a nation, without taking a full view of all the elements of her condition, would find the result as incomplete as if the mathematician were to neglect one of the data in his calculations. Ireland suffers from want of education—from want of employment~from want of capital-from want of improved agriculture- from want of a resident gentryfrom want of moral feeling—from want of true religious restraint, and any remedy that would propose to meliorate her condition, must be such as to take cognizance of all these several deficiencies.
The individual, indeed, who has devoted much of his time and talents to one subject, naturally acquires an affection for that topic, with which he has in a certain degree identified the progress of his mind;-he is tempted to consider all other modes of examining the same matter as superficial and desultory, and to ascribe to his favourite expedient, all the importance and efficacy that the quack doctor attributes to bis favourite nostrum. If the poor laws have engaged his attention, he finds in them a remedy for all moral and physical evils ;—if he be an agriculturalist, protecting duties on foreign prove the panacea for all complaints, and pay off the national debt; if education has engrossed his time and thoughts, his reply to every appeal is in the emphatic words of an eminent senator “the schoolmaster is abroad.” Now in this exclusive application we find little to regret in general; it secures a concentration of talent and intellect on some important subjects, which otherwise, perhaps, would not be at all bestowed, or would be suffered to wander uselessly in the waste of generalities; it insures an enthusiastic attention from many, to the various expedients by which society may be supported or improved, while this very enthusiasm in favour of one object, and in opposition to any other, acts like the origin of antagonist forces, and preserves the equilibrium in which the safety of the moral machine consists.
* The history of the Commission of Education, exemplifies the truth of our observation. That body has indeed done what it had not contemplated; it has amassed a valuable collection of facts which its members did not, perhaps could not use, but its only direct result has been a partial paralysis of education in every part of the country. Let there be but protection for the well intended exertions of individuals or societies of any kind, who manifesting strict obedience to the laws, seek to benefit the country, and the good sense and intelligence of the people will gradually decide what plans are best suited to its peculiar wants and circum
But while so much good may ultimately result from this exclusive devotion to one system, much evil may also spring from it, and when it is essential to provide against an immediate evil, or to remedy a growing complaint, the medium through which prejudice has a tendency to look at every subject, and the imperfect estimate itmust make of every but its own favourite hypothesis, unavoidably injure the power of judging and deciding. Now it is just in this state that Ireland is placed, and when statesmen, or philanthropists, or speculators, come to regard that state and to suggest remedies, each too often looks upon it as a fair subject for his own immediate plan, takes a partial view of the evils that originate its misfortunes, and prescribe for them with something of the feelings that actualed the visionary Owen, when he declared that “nature had left Ireland in her state of destitution and poverty, that the efficacy of his system might be manifested, in regenerating her in the
space of nine months !"* Something of this kind is visible in the composition of an highly respectable and interesting work,t that has lately engaged our attention in common with that of many others, and which professes to give a complete view of “Ireland, its evils, and their remedies.” This volume which has considerable talent, and very considerable information, is in fact part of an appendix to a projected work on the subject of population, and an intended confutation of the Malthusian theory; but whether from a sense of consistency, in order that the Irish figure of rhetoric, the votepov a potepov might have its place in every thing connected with Ireland, or from a feeling of the superior importance of facts to speculation, he has published his appendix first, and sent it out as a sort of feeler before his great work, thus trying the truth of his theories on the most anomalous subject for experiment that the world has ever exhibited, a country in which there is such a happy abundance of co-existing evils, that every system-monger, whether population or emigration, or absenteeism be the favourite topic,
* A positive fact. + Ireland, its evils, and their remedies, being a refutation of the errors of the Emigration Committee and others, touching that country. To which is prefixed a synopsis of an original treatise, about to be published, on the law of population, developing the real principle on which it is universally regulated. By Michael Thomas Sadler.--pp. lviji. 414, London, Murray.
whether he be a Malthusian or Anti-malthusian, or a follower of the ingenious Mr. M‘Culloch, may here find food sufficient to satisfy all the cravings of his ingenuity, “ ample room and verge enough."
But notwithstanding this apparent anomaly, the work is well deserving of attention, and proves its author to be a man of research and benevolence; deeply affected by some of the consequences de ducible from the opinion of Mr. Malthus, and so inveterate in bis opposition to them, that there is scarcely a sentence in his book but breathes hostility, almost personal, to that gentleman. This we seriously think to be the great fault of Mr. Sadler's book; it attaches to it a character of intemperance, that we are convinced its respectable author is free from, and which is indeed incompatible with the sobriety of mind manifest on other occasions, and it exhibits him too much as a partisan to whose statements less attention is apparently due than they are really entitled 10. With Mr. Sadler's population theories, we are not at present concerned; he has not given us so distinct a view of his system as to enable us, if we were willing, to form an opinion upon the subject, but we certainly think that much of his indignation would be unnecessary, if he could perceive the innoxious tendency of the principle on which Malthus's system is erected. That principle seems to us to be simply this, that there is always a tendency in population to press against the limits of food ;-one may increase in an arithmetical, and the other in a geometrical series, or in any other conceivable way may they be related, consistent with the truth of the principle; but though the accuracy of such proportion may affect Mr. Malthus's character as a calculator, it has no manner of effect on the soundness of bis foundation, which, appearing to us to be nothing more than the proposition just enunciated, presents a principle that obviously deserves to be attended to, though neither so original, so important, nor so formidable, as that eminent writer's disciples and antagonists have represented. From this principle, doubtful or dangerous consequences may, and we fear have been drawn; but we confess, that we see no danger in the principle itself, and we should rather consider it as a providential arrangement to incite mankind to exertion, to stimulate them by necessity to provide fresh means of subsistence, or to open new sources of employment, than as involving in it of necessity the existence of vice or misery, or war, as the correctives to an over-population. When, indeed, the beneficent intention of Providence is disregarded, and the pressure of population fails to excite to exertion, or that exertion is checked by external circumstances, then misery or vice will probably ensue, and the superabundant population may be drained by war, or pestilence, or some of the other devastating plagues that man has invented or incurred by his opposition to the general principles of God's providential government.
Our readers must not suppose that we embrace Mr. Malthus's system, because we think his principle borne out by facts, and that we conceive it to be a most useful providential corrective to human apathy and indolence, a stimulus to arts and agriculture, and one