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I have thought it necessary to do. He C6 says, We cannot allow that either the government or the legislature understand the nature of the duties they have undertaken, or even rightly view their interest as private individuals, if they are not aware that the condition of the labouring class—the great bulk of the people-ought to be the first and most important object of their solicitude. That this class is at present in a most depressed and degraded state, is proved by the reports of their own committees; and it is most certain, that in a country possessed of such vast wealth and resources, this can only be owing to the faultiness of her institutions, or the mismanagement of her rulers. The right of property itself is subservient to the general welfare; and that welfare is clearly not promoted by a distribution of property which confers princely wealth on a few, and condemns the industrious multitude, by whom that wealth is fabricated, to the alternative of hopeless toil or abject pauperism."
I will not extend my objections to Mr. M. as a political reasoner any farther, though I could easily do so. But I must be allowed to say, that if I cannot defer to him implicitly in that character, much less can I confide in him in another-I mean that of a political prophet. In this respect he must be content to share the fate, which has usually attended that unlucky fraternity. Witness these portentous declarations in the 9th chapter of his third book. "During the late scarcities, the price of labour has been continually rising-not to fall again; the rents of land have been every where advancing-not to fall again; and of course the price of produce must rise—not to fall again." This was written during the war. But as Mr. M. could not possibly have calculated upon the war's being perpetual, it follows, that he must now see
that it was an error of such a magnitude, as might almost have induced him, like Sir Walter Raleigh, to have thrown his book into the fire, rather than to prolong its existence by fresh editions.
In the conclusion of his work he makes an admission, which I should have thought might have led him to distrust some of its principles. He says, "from a review of the state of society in former periods, compared with the present, I should certainly say, that the evils resulting from the principle of population have rather diminished than encreased, even under the disadvantage of an almost total ignorance of their real cause." More than two centuries have elapsed since the passing of the 43d of Elizabeth, and during all that time, according to Mr. M., "a population has been encouraged not regulated by the demand for labour"—and yet so far has it been from establishing that "constant tendency in all animated life, to encrease beyond the nourishment prepared for it;" (which is the foundation of his system, but which cannot, I think, be reconciled with that of Him, who "saw every thing that he had made, and behold it was very good): that we are at this hour in a condition the very reverse of this. So far from having a population redundant in proportion to food, we have food exuberant with respect to population; as the artificial means resorted to, to increase its price, sufficiently proves. And yet strange to say, multitudes who are labouring incessantly, cannot procure it in sufficient quantity for the proper support of their families; and numbers who are both able and willing to work, cannot procure it at all.
It seems to me to be as clear as the sun at noon-day, that the means at present exist in abundance in these kingdoms, for the comfortable support of all their inhabit
ants, not only with regard to food, but also all the other necessaries of civilized life, such as clothing, lodging, &c. And yet, I am afraid, that a large portion of the community are nearly destitute of all these things: and are enduring hardships and privations scarcely incident to the savage state. If this be so, it is a state of things not more injurious to those who suffer it, than dangerous to those who do not attempt to alter it. What is wanting, is a more equitable principle of distribution-in other words, better wages to the lower classes of labourers both in husbandry and manufactures-and useful employment for all who are able to work, but who, under the present system, cannot find it for themselves. Be it that this demands capital-a large capital if you please. A country that could spend almost one hundred millions in a single year of war, could raise it without difficulty, be its amount what it may. And I believe, moreover, that it would speedily repay itself in a reduction of the poor'srate, and in the encreased produce of the taxes upon consumable commodities.
Under such a system, that population would advance is extremely probable. But still the evil consequences, which Mr. M. apprehends, would not follow. We might indeed approach that point, which he agrees with me is the natural limit to population, namely, that, when the country would need all the food which it could either produce or acquire. And I admit, that it would be desirable to anticipate that period by timely emigration. But it should seem that we are still at a great distance from the necessity for such a resource.
After having differed so much with Mr. M., I am happy to be able to produce two passages, in which I entirely concur with him: and from which, if he had set
out, I think he would have arrived at a more consolatory conclusion than he has done, when he says that, "a more general prevalence of prudential habits, with respect to marriage amongst the poor, is the only source from which any permanent and general improvement in their condition can arise." The passages to which I allude are these "The wealth and power of nations are, after all, only desirable as they contribute to happiness." "Other circumstances being the same, it may be affirmed, that countries are populous according to the quantity of human food which they produce or can acquire: and happy, according to the liberality with which this food is divided, or the quantity which a day's labour will purchase."— O! si sic omnia!
1 CORINTHIANS X. 31.
Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
THESE words are the conclusion of certain instructions which the Apostle gave to his Corinthian converts, who, it should seem, had consulted him upon these points. Whether they might innocently go with their heathen friends into an idol's temple, and partake of the feasts which were eaten there in honour of the idol? Whether they might buy and eat meats, sold in the markets, which had been sacrificed to idols? And whether, when invited to the houses of the heathen, they might eat of such meats, if they were set before them as a common meal? Nothing can be more natural than that such questions should have been put, under the circumstances of that early stage of Christianity. They are per