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to determine regarding them, instructing such meanwhile, that they are under no imaginable obligation, but what selfishness dictates, to prefer the labour of those by whom themselves have been raised and are supported; and that wealth ought not to be called upon to relieve that starving poverty, by whose former exertions it was created. Nay, so far has the mercenary doctrine of this school advanced, as to pronounce that the virtues themselves are marketable commodities *. The perfection of this system, therefore, is the abjection of the species. But the question with which I have mainly to do is not one that is to be decided by capital, the golden image now set up, the omnipotent of the present system; it lies between the Creator and his creatures, and is simply this, whether his Providence is, and will continue, equal to the supply of their wants. This is the precise question ; meantime, it is somewhat strange that the economists can reconcile the conclusion, at which they seem unanimously to arrive, with some of their own notions. They have written largely on the subject of Capital, and on its definition; and yet they seem to forget that whatever it may be called, or however defined, it is that and that only which gives its possessor a command of the product of human labour; consequently human beings constitute the wealth, the capital of the world: it is
* Malthus, Essay on Pop., p. 64.
they only who create it; and they alone who give it its value when created. They have said much, too, about the market of labour, as
is called, and yet seem not to know, or at all events frequently to forget, that mankind are reciprocally producers and consumers, and that, under proper regulations, they are necessary to each other whatever be their numbers; that mutual wants are so balanced and connected in the mechanism of the social system, of which necessity is the main-spring, as to produce that perpetual motion which nothing but the "feathers” of these philosophers can disturb or destroy. This mutual dependence of man upon his fellow man, whatever be the attempts to weaken it, and however successful they may be for a time, will certainly be found. as strong in the last, as it was in the first stages of human existence, nay far stronger, for reasons which are elsewhere pointed out. As the body politic enlarges, all its members partake of the general growth: when, therefore, it has attained to its gigantic stature, still less than when it was in its infant state, can the hand say to the foot, "I have no need of thee." But the idea that mankind should outgrow their dependence upon each other, whimsical as it seems, is far more tolerable than that they should become too numerous for the provision of their common parent. Yet this last is the notion that political economy, and the modern principle of population, share in common, found
ing upon it a system of policy as adverse to the feelings and interests of the human race as it is to the honour of the Deity.
Such are the numerous and powerful obstacles which will, for a time, successfully oppose the progress of the true principle of population, to which must be added others interposed by the manner in which I have discussed the subject, and more especially the deductions I have drawn from it; to the latter, as voluntarily encountered, a few words are due. Seeing, on a review of the system propounded, that it was clearly the intention of Providence to furnish the necessary means of subsistence to every country within itself, (otherwise the argument, as it respects the whole, would at length inevitably fall to the ground,) I concluded that the intention of the Creator and the duty and interests of his creatures were identical; and have therefore connected my theory with a defence of internal cultivation. To this view of the subject, however, many of the commercial class, to say nothing of the political economists, are, as I think, unwisely opposed; their objections therefore are excited. This course, however, it might be supposed, would conciliate the opinions of the agriculturists; but the sentiments expressed as to the real interest and duty of that class as a body, equally dictated by the same theory, will excite at least equal opposition. The self-same principle, political economy, which so unhappily prevails in other ranks
of society, has long infested this; the principle, however disguised, of mercenary monopoly, which, resolving everything into a question of momentary selfishness, is setting every interest amongst us at variance, and is rapidly swallowing up that middle rank of the community in which has long resided the moral strength of the British community. The advice of the celebrated Hobbes on an enlarging population, is, as to its wisdom and humanity, as authoritative as if it had been pronounced by an oracle; it has certainly the inspiration of common sense, "Live closer, and cultivate better"-but, strange to say, the sinister policy recommended by our great agricultural authorities in these circumstances is to diminish the number of the cultivators, and to enlarge, or as Lord Bacon has it, to engross farms. I am perfectly aware that it is useless to argue with those who imagine they have a personal interest in the question; but should these pages meet the notice of any of the greater landed proprietors of the empire, whose object, I am persuaded, it has always been to promote the interest and happiness of all their dependents, however they may have, in this instance, mistaken the means, I earnestly solicit their attention to what is urged in behalf of the more natural, humane, and, as I contend, the more profitable course.
To this enumeration of the strong objections to the propositions with which the system is
connected, I will only add its defence of the poor laws, against which a general outcry is attempted to be raised, and the proposal that their principle should be extended to Ireland. I shall not mention the hostility of absenteeship and all its train of apologists and dependents, powerful in wealth and numbers, and now fully armed in the panoply of political economy. Its enmity has had to be encountered by all who have attended to the evils which the population of that country had long suffered, or suggested those remedies which alone have the least prospect of finally removing them.
But notwithstanding these and many other powerful obstacles against the system of population advanced in these pages, obtaining present acceptance; grounded as it is upon the experience of mankind in all ages, and demonstrated by a series of calculations founded on authentic data, as well as dictated by the feelings and constitution of human nature, I feel a confidence not unbecoming the argument, that it will, however neglected or assailed, ultimately and universally prevail. There are many who have reluctantly received and retained the contrary opinion solely from a conviction of its truth, by whom the real principle of human increase will be felt as a liberation from a theory anything rather than consoling to a benevolent mind; and still more who, in spite of apparent demonstrations to