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is announced as an abstract truth, with which, one of the greatest of mankind says, "the mind of man, to the extreme prejudice of knowledge, so much delighteth;" in "barren generalities,” which, as an authority hardly less than Bacon, warns us," ought never to be trusted*." While the very terms in which it is announced,―geometry and arithmetic, to the use of which mankind have been accustomed to associate ideas of certainty and precision; together with the confidence with which it is asserted and repeated, have contributed to disarm suspicion, and to induce the mind, without the fatigue of examination, to surrender itself to a settled conviction of its truth. These, and many other reasons, have concurred to spread a doctrine which has been always more or less acceptable to a portion of mankind. At present, therefore, it is received and regarded in the light of a settled axiom. Modern philosophers embrace it on pain of forfeiting their title to their very name; periodical writers almost unanimously espouse it, and unceasingly spread its dogmas through every part of the earth; legislators seem on the very point of reducing the system into practice; and even many of the expounders of our religion, though they cannot pollute the well-head of revelation with its principle, yet are busily engaged in tinging the stream with its pernicious admixture. That

* Hooker. Even Rousseau saw that "general and abstract ideas have been the source of the greatest errors" into which mankind have fallen.

the notion once imbibed should be tenaciously retained, is natural. Philosophy, as it is well known, has not merely its fashions, which, like those of manners, are deemed indispensable, however absurd, but it has its prejudices, which the history of every age can testify are, at least, as strong as those of ignorance. That it has its pride, was never doubted; and a change of opinion, especially on so plain a point, would be deemed a subscription to its own degradation. The stronger, therefore, the reasons which are advanced against it, the more determined will be their adherence to it. Some of this class, indeed, have been heard to declare that they would as soon resign their belief in the first propositions of Euclid, as in those of Malthus; asserting, as one of them has done publicly, that the system is at least as certain as the rotation of the earth on its own axis.

But the most powerful support this doctrine receives is from the modern system of political economy, of which it is an acknowledged basis. On this subject I wish to say a few words, in explanation, having made as free with that system as it does with all others. I mean not, by this modern "science," that true national policy, which has long pursued the real interests of the country under the guidance of common sense, experience, and humanity; and whose course has been pointed out by the finger of Providence. Seeing that nature has equally bestowed upon all nations the necessaries of

existence, and unequally distributed her superfluities and luxuries, it shapes its course accordingly. In the first place, affording due encouragement to internal industry, with a view to secure the labour and the lives of the people, it places its foreign intercourse upon its natural and permanent footing, and enters into a system of liberal interchange with the surrounding nations, not with the fears of the miser, or the feelings of the gambler, but with a view to the mutual and perpetual advantages of each. Never trampling on those interests which may stand in its path, till they can be safely and advantageously transplanted, it pursues that steady course which has conducted this country from its once degraded condition to that high and palmy state of prosperity which it has long enjoyed. Though attending to the interests of the community, it has never yet recognised Plutus as the one divinity, nor Political Economy as the sole prophetess of the nation; nor filled the temple of legislation with "the tables of the money-changers ;" nor made mere jobbers and speculators its oracles. It has carefully attended to commerce without having been dictated to by it; knowing that there are "other things than are dreamt of in its philosophy," namely, the health, happiness, morals, and well-being of the mass of the community, without securing which, even riches would make to themselves wings and fly away. Its maxims have tended to harmonise the various interests


of the community, and to secure their advantages severally, not by sacrificing them to each other, but by promoting the prosperity of the whole. These are the principles which have conducted this nation by a gradual, and slow, indeed, but solid advancement, to its present state, and seem to have in them the elements of perpetuity. Nor has the period through which they have prevailed been that of mercenary improvement merely, it has been one of high intellectual advancement; it has been illustrated by genius, and ennobled by valour, "beyond all Greek, beyond all Roman fame." Such, then, is not the policy I allude to in my remarks on political economy. But it is that system. which has lately sprung up amongst us; a thing made up of "shreds and patches;" partly of truisms, partly of palpable blunders, but principally of a string of unconnected paradoxes, which may be either, and which is self-elevated into the rank of a "science," in which, such is the temptation, every one is at once a professor, and, under a sort of immediate afflatus, utters oracles. It is to these fancied revelations, and not to those plain and universally acknowledged principles that may be still retained, that I allude, and which I have identified with the modern system*. Though all of them agree

* The pretensions of modern political economy as a " Science," may be well explained in the language of Blumenbach, applied to another modern science of a very similar character. When that celebrated Professor was asked what was his opinion on Craniology, 'he thus expressed himself:-Es ist viel darin was wahr ist, und

that the short and direct path of human interest has, from the creation downward, never been discovered, much less trodden, till their days,― still no two of them concur as to its exact direction; on one point, however, they are unanimous, namely, in asserting the doctrine now opposed, the superfecundity of the human race, and, consequently, the necessity of checking their increase. It is in their capacity as zealots for this notion that it becomes necessary, in my present argument, to allude to them, or rather their opinions; and to contrast their views upon population with the ancient and authentic principle. It was the object of that true national economy which they despise and would fain displace, to raise the value and multiply the numbers of our countrymen; to spread the greatest possible degree of happiness amongst the utmost possible number; objects of identical, instead of incompatible pursuit, their notions to the contrary notwithstanding. But it is the purpose of the new school to regard and treat men as mere animated machines, and, indeed, to supplant them by inanimate ones, were it possible; to pronounce them as worthless, or otherwise, just as it may please the great capitalists (whom it is enabling to absorb, as fast as possible, the middle ranks of society)

viel was neu; aber das was wahr ist, ist nicht neu, und das was neu ist, ist nicht wahr. (There is much in it that is true, and much that is new; but that which is true is not new, and that which is 'ew is not true.)

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