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balance production, if consumption be deficient or production excessive, the revenue which is destined to pay the expences of re-production fails; and to trench on capital in order to supply the failure is only to aggravate the evil. This seems to be the present situation of Europe: the equilibrium is deranged, and distress universally prevails.
We cannot think that M. DE S. is successful in his opposition to Mr. Ricardo's reasoning on the subject of rent; and how he can for a moment imagine that ingenious and discriminating writer to be blind to the palpable distinction between relative and intrinsic value, we cannot imagine. It seems almost for the sake of disputing that M. DE S. denies what we thought had been admitted by all writers on economical subjects, as well as taken for granted by Mr. Ricardo; namely, that the rate of profit on different employments in a country must be the same. If the employment of capital in any one direction yields a more than ordinary rate of profit, we had always considered that such an influx of capital and competition will follow as to reduce it to the average level of profit in other investments; and that, if it yields less, such a proportion of it will be withdrawn and invested in more lucrative concerns, as to raise the remainder to the same average level. Assuming this, and defining rent to be a payment made by the farmer to the landlord for the productive powers of the earth, Mr. Ricardo says that, in a new settled country, abounding with a fertile soil exceeding the wants of the population, there is no rent: “ When, in the progress of society, land of the first degree of fertility being already occupied, and land of the second degree of fertility is taken into cultivation, rent immediately commences on that of the first quality; and the amount of that rent will depend on the difference in the quality of these two portions of land. Where land of the third quality is taken into cultivation, rent commences on the second, and is regulated, as before, by the difference in their productive powers.
At the same time the rent of the first quality will rise, for that must always be above that of the second, by the difference of the produce which they yield with a given quantity of capital and labour." Thus are the rates of profit on these soils of different degrees of productiveness brought to a level, the rent on the one being
* Nouveaur Principes, &c. Vol. I. p. 281. On devrait tou. jours, et cette observation porte sur tout l'ouvrage de M. Ricardo, "distinguer deur espèces de valeur, l'une intrinsique, et l'autre relative,' &c.
equivalent to the greater capital and labour required by the other.
M. DE SIMONDI asserts that there are various rates of profit; for the proprietors of fixed capitals are often unable to transfer the employment of them, and are therefore obliged to continue a disativantageous investment, though the rate of profit derived from it is much below the average. Perseverance in an unprofitable employment is encouraged, too, by the regret of workmen at having to throw away all the skill which they have acquired, and frequently by their incapacity for performing other labours : farmers cannot readily become weavers; nor can the farmers of one district remove to another without great difficulty. Really this is mere trifling: Mr. Ricardo did not shut his eyes to such palpable obstacles as these, which daily occur, and oppose themselves to the transfer of capital and industry from one employment to another. His position obviously points to the tendency of profits to an equality of rate; and to charge him with denying the fluctuations is to charge him with that which he could not mean. He asserts the existence of a principle of self-regulation by which they are restored to an equality; and M. DE S. might as well reject the principle of gravitation, because the billows run mountains high in a storm, and the surface of the ocean is not always as smooth and level as a lake. We cannot go into the detail of argument now, but we feel that the ground which Mr. Ricardo has taken is impregnable. Indeed, the limits of an article preclude us from offering an analytical view of a work in which so many interesting questions are started and discussed. The style of M. SIMONDE is extremely perspicuous, and it is not often that he has failed to lead us on to his conclusions by the connecting links of his reasoning. Every page is pervaded also by a most kindly feeling for the lower classes in society. In the book which treats of territorial wealth, the state of the peasantry in different countries is traced, with great ingenuity, to the different tenures and terms by which land is held and cultivated; and his remarks on primogenitureship, with the operation of those laws which are intended to perpetuate in families their territorial possessions, are excellent. There is but too much truth, likewise, in what he says concerning the state of the English peasantry. From the vast capitals which of late years have been employed in agriculture, our farmers are become quite a different class of men compared with what they were: they have taken a prodigious rise in society; and many of them are persons of education, as well as of opulence, who consider agriculture as a science, and apply to it the powers Hh 2
of complicated machinery, as well as the new discoveries which are daily made in chemistry. They frequently join mercantile speculations, too, with agricultural pursuits. Thus having ceased to be labourers themselves, another class has been formed, that of the daily workmen ; who have no participation in the property : who have nothing to hope from the propitiousness of the season or the fertility of the soil; who live from day to day on the lowest wages, and have no means of providing in the period of manhood against the approaching necessities of decrepitude and old age. The strongest guarantee for established order, says M. DE S., consists in a numerous class of proprietary peasants.
• Howsoever advantageous to society is the guarantee of property, it is an abstract idea which those can with difficulty comprehend to whom society seems only to guarantee privations. While the property of the earth is separated from those who cultivate it, and that of manufactures from those who fabricate them, those who create wealth and see it constantly passing away from their hands are strangers to all its enjoyments. Yet these persons constitute by far the most numerous part of the nation; they know that they are useful, and feel that they are disinherited. A constant jealousy is kept up against riches; and we scarcely dare to talk on political subjects before them, lest they should pass to a discussion on the rights of property, and demand a participation of goods and lands. A revolution in such a country is frightful : the whole order of society is subverted : power passes into the hands of the multitude; and that multitude which possesses the physical force, which has suffered much, and which necessity has kept in ignorance, is hostile to every kind of law, of civil distinction, and of property. France experienced such a revolution when the great mass of its population were strangers to property, and, consequently, to the benefits of civilization. This Revolution, however, which deluged the country with evils, has left some benefits behind it; and one of the greatest, perhaps, is a guarantee against the recurrence of a similar scourge, in having prodigiously multiplied the class of proprietary peasants. It is reckoned that there are, at this time, more than three millions of families in France who are absolute masters of the soil which they cultivate: this estimate supposes fifteen millions of individuals; and thus more than half the nation is interested, on its own account, in the preservation of all its rights. The multitude and the physical force are on the side of order; and, were the present government to be dissolved, the crowd itself would hasten to reestablish another which should afford security and protect property. This is the great cause of difference between the revolutions of 1813 and 1814, and that of 1789. The call of the peasantry to become proprietors was, it is true, occasioned by a measure of great violence, the confiscation and sale of na. tional property of every description : but the calamities of war,
foreign foreign and intestine, are evils belonging to our nature, like earthquakes and inundations; and, when the scourge has passed away, let us thank Providence for any good that may have resulted from it. Certainly none could be more valuable or solid. The division of great inheritances is daily going on, and large properties are daily sold to farmers who cultivate the land themselves : but the nation is yet far from having reaped all the fruits which may be expected from this division of property; because the formation of habits is slow; and a taste for order, economy, neatness, and elegance, must be the result of a much longer enjoyment of the possession of them.' (Vol. I. p. 173. 175.)
This subject is renewed in a very feeling and impressive manner in the second volume, where the state of agriculture and manufactures is treated with reference to population : but here M. DE SISMONDI appears to commit the same sort of injustice towards Mr. Malthus, which he had displayed towards Mr. Ricardo. He says that the reasoning which serves as the basis of Mr. Malthus's system is perfectly sophistical : we may often see miserable wretches who can get no work, or no wages for their work, languishing and perishing with hunger: but iņ no country did we ever behold the mass of people reduced to the small rations of a besieged town or a distressed ship; we have never seen this, except from the accident of deficient harvests, without ample means of subsistence for the living generation: we have never known subsistence stopped by the absolute impossibility of making the earth produce more fruits in proportion to the demand for them. Provisions, that is to say, bread, may however fail the poor, and the failure may impede that rapid multiplication of the species, which Mr. Malthus considers to be a law of nature: but provisions, says M. DE S., never fail the richer classes of society: the nobility of a kingdom are never in want of subsistence; and they ought to multiply therefore in a rapid ratio, till their descendants are reduced to the most abject poverty. The fact, however, is precisely contrary: instead of the lower classes being recruited by the nobility, the latter would be extinguished in a few generations if it were not recruited by the former.
Now it is the tendency, in all animated life, to increase beyond the nourishment prepared for it, on which Mr. Malthus insists: he no where asserts the positive and actual excess of life beyond the food to maintain it. He does not argue that the geometrical ratio which governs the multiplication of animals, and the arithmetical ratio which regulates the increase of food, ever had or ever will have a full and unrestricted operation. That man would be a very deficient mechanic who, after he had conceived the principle of a complex piece of H h 3
machinery, machinery, should, in estimating its powers, forget to make allowance for the friction of the works. Mr. Malthus is not such a bungler. Arithmeticians have calculated that, if a penny had been put out to simple interest at the birth of Christ, at the end of 1800 years it would have amounted only to 7s. 6d. : but that the same money put out at compound interest, for the same period, would have amounted to a sum greater than could be contained in six hundred millions of globes of solid gold; each equal to our earth in magnitude. Would M. DE S. be prepared to say that the basis on which this calculation is made is sophistical, because of the utter impossibility that a penny should so expand and multiply itself? These arithmeticians have taken the trouble to make their calculation for the purpose of shewing the different ratios of accumulation of simple and compound interest; for the purpose of illustrating the tendency of money to accumulate, so put out;- but, while they explain the principle, they are perfectly aware of the various checks and interruptions of the friction which impedes its operation. On a slight examination, indeed, we shall not find so much difference as M. DE S. imagines between his own views on the subject of population and those of Mr. Malthus. If the germs of animal and vegetable existence contained in this spot of earth had ample room for expansion, and ample food for subsistence, millions of worlds, -as many, no doubt, as would have been filled by the penny at compound interest, --would be filled in the space of a few thousand years with animal and vegetable existences: but this natural fecundity is repressed by want of room and want of nourishment; and Mr. Malthus maintains that it must ever be so repressed, because, 'under the most favourable circumstances of human industry, the productions of the earth can never be made to increase faster than in an arithmetical ratio, while human population under the most favourable circumstances would augment in a geometrical ratio. This conflict between the uniform tendency to increase population on the one hand, and the checks which are constantly operating to restrain it on the other, produces an oscillation in the state of society,- an alternation of retrograde and progressive movements, — dependent on the degree of happiness or misery, vice or morality, which prevails. Mr. Malthus, then, endeavours to establish these propositions: first, that population is necessarily limited by the means of subsistence; secondly, that it invariably increases wlien the means of subsistence increase, unless prevented by some very powerful and obvious checks; and, thirdly, that these checks, and the cheeks which repress the superior power of population, and