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the contrary, have retained their entire confidence in the doctrines of divine revelation and the sufficiency of nature, to whom it will afford a sacred triumph; such, it is believed, will regard the true principle of human increase as unfolding an essential link in the chain of a wise and ever-watchful Providence, and heightening the pleasing confidence with which they repose on its eternal dispensations. "It is Heaven upon Earth," says Bacon, "for a man's mind to rest in Providence, move in charity, and turn upon the poles of truth."
This principle, and the proofs on which it is founded, have been rather widely submitted, and never, in any instance, however strongly the contrary theory may have been previously fixed in the mind, have they failed to produce full conviction. I have, therefore, only one other reason to add to those already mentioned, as having induced me to publish a part only of my work in the first instance, giving in that part an outline of the entire theory; and this being of a nature purely personal, ought, perhaps, to have been omitted. I was not without sufficient reasons for believing that the system was about being presented to the public surreptitiously; and I confess, having had, as far as I know, no precursor in the view here taken of the true principle of Population, and no assistance in the long and laborious research which its demonstration
involves, I felt not unwilling to endure whatever odium or otherwise might attend the enunciation and proof of a regulated ratio of prolificness as governing the multiplication of mankind, and constituting the principle of human increase a law of unerring and perpetual benevolence.
I. (1.) THAT division of the British empire which forms the subject of the following pages, has been occasionally thought irreconcilable with the principle of population as previously laid down, even by those who have fully admitted the proofs on which it rests in relation to all other countries. On the other hand, it presents facts equally adverse to many of the positions usually maintained: in every point of view, it seems an anomaly in the history and progress of civilized society. It presents a country, supereminently endowed with all those natural advantages which have elevated, in their turn, every people who have possessed them, gradually sinking in the scale of nations; and exhibiting the astounding spectacle of a population rapidly increasing in numbers, without, as in all other cases, manifesting any corresponding improvement either in its character or condition.
(2.) Many there are, at the present time, who imagine they have obtained a clue to the difficulties which environ this dark and mysterious subject, namely, the modern theory of population; which, alas! is never a mere abstract or inert principle, and least of all in the present instance. It not only soothes the negli
gence of those who ought to succour Ireland, and paralyzes the efforts of those who would, by attributing her sufferings to the laws of nature and of GOD, but, sanctioned by its twin "science," political economy, strenuously proposes palliatives which would fall upon the people as the deadliest punishments. Two dogmas they have in common, as to the causes of the suffering and degradation of that country, and, at present, one specific cure, The former are these: 1. The distresses of Ireland are owing to a superfluous population, still increasing faster than the means of subsistence. 2. Those distresses are aggravated and multiplied by the universal use of the potatoe'. The remedy is to be found in a diminished population. With regard to the former, it is singular enough that, in one and the same breath, Providence is arraigned for bringing too many human beings into existence, and for affording sure means of sustentation to their increasing numbers by a stupendous provision of nature, hitherto almost untouched rather than exhausted, and probably, in reference to any future population of the earth, inexhaustible. As it respects
1 What Mr. Malthus calls the "Potatoe System." (Essay, p. 576, note.)-Curwen, "Observations on the State of Ireland," vo ii. p. 121.
Let it not be imagined, from this remark, that I am an advocate for confining the population of Ireland (as it almost is at present) to the use of this root, much less for submitting all other countries to a similar restriction. What I mean will be best gathered from such facts as the following: "Mr. Stepney last year had two acres and a half of potatoes, which fattened four bullocks, maintained eighteen pigs, produced seed for four acres this year, and supplied his own family, consisting of twenty persons." (Wakefield's Account of Ireland, vol. i. p. 450.) Mr. Curwen says, "One acre of potatoes would feed at least ten persons the year round."-(Observations on the State of Ireland, vol. ii. p. 122.) According to Arthur Young's estimate, Ireland
Ireland, millions upon millions of acres, now totally waste and idle, a little industry, directed and aided by what is called capital, would enrich with this subterraneous harvest, and at the same time clothe with cattle "a thousand" of her barren "hills," so as to sustain and satisfy many millions of human beings more than are now often almost starved (ten times as many is the lowest calculation of our ablest agricultural authorities'); but this natural expedient, equally dictated by humanity, policy, and necessity, does not chime in with the current notions. It is deemed more desirable to dissipate British capital in expatriating British subjects; in planting dubious friends, if not
would sustain, by the aid of this plant, about one hundred millions of inhabitants.-(Young's Tour through Ireland, vol. ii. part 2, p. 24) As to the peculiar adaptation of this root to the universal sustentation of all those animals (including poultry) on which man subsists or depends, see every agricultural work of note which has been published within a century past, especially the entire works of the latter writer; also Radcliffe's " Agricultural Survey of the Netherlands," &c. The plenty, health, and happiness it confers on mankind, are the theme of exultation with Young, even when he is speaking of Ireland, where it is almost exclusively used. In calculating the number of human beings that might be sustained by the extended culture of this inestimable root, allowing them, together with it, as large a portion of animal food as would gratify appetite consistently with health, the anticipations of the most sanguine friends of population, however extravagant they may have been deemed, are infinitely exceeded: all this fully accounts for the well-grounded and instinctive hatred which our anti-populationists bear to this nutritious and palatable food. On these calculations, however important to political arithmetic, I shall not enter; my immediate purpose being merely to deliver this stupendous and inexhaustible gift of Providence, bestowed on Europe at the precise period when it became needful, from the insulting neglects of our political economists, or their still more degrading notice, in barely allowing it a place at the sideboard, and forming, perhaps, when nicely boiled or delicately scalloped, a pleasing accession to the "science" of gastronomy
J. C. Curwen, Observations on the State of Ireland, vol. ii. pp. 32. 122.