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keep its effects on a level with the means of subsistenceare all resolvable into moral restraint, vice, and misery ; the two latter being positive checks, and the first a preventive check. Such is the theory of Mr. Malthus, or rather of Mr. Wallace, from whom he borrowed it*; gloomy and discouraging enough, no doubt: we are merely stațing it, not defending it, nor arguing in favour of its solidity: — but what says M. DE SISMONDI? . In multiplying her different species, nature has exercised a sort of prodigality; although the race of man may be reckoned among the slowest in its increase, it would still multiply, under favourable circumstances, with a rapidity of which no history in the world can furnish an example, because no spot has ever combined all these favourable circumstances together. If all men were anxious to rear a family; if all had the means; if all married as young as nature allows; a single family would soon become a nation, and a nation would soon cover the face of the earth.” Hitherto we find po disagreement: but, says M. de S., . between this power of multiplication abstractedly considered, and the reality, there is and there must be a prodigious difference. Then, we ask him, what causes this difference? what does, in point of fact, repreşs this tendency to excessive population? He answers, all men are not anxious to have a family; all have not the means of bringing one up; all do not marry; and, among those who do, the greater part do not marry till late in life. The pleasyres of the conjugal state and of paternity induce a man to marry: but personal privations, the fear of being compelled by additional expences to descend from the station which he has held in society, or of seeing his children descend from it, these are considerations which deter him, If one man suffers from the imprudence of having married without the means of supporting a family, his sufferings operate as a caution to his neighbour; and, if we take society in the mass, we shall find that people do not in general marry before they are toļerably assured of the means necessary to support the expences of their new state. Population, then, is exclusively regulated, according to M. DE S., by revenue ; and, if it exceeds the limits thus prescribed, it is only because parents deceive themselves, or are deceived by the institutions of society, as to what their revenue or income is. A poor man, be it observed, has a revenue as completely as a rich one: the wages of his

* Mr. Malthus refers to his original, See Wallace's “ Various Prospects of Mankind, Nature, and Providence." Chap. iv. P. I 13;

labour

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labour form his revenue; they are the interest of his capital: but a poor man cannot always calculate on the demand for his labour; he cannot be certain that his ability to work will always bring him in a precise sum. The manufacturers, who are now suffering so much with their wives and children from insufficient wages, miscalculated their revenue when they married: but the error was not their fault, perhaps; it arose from the mal-organization of society. Are not those prudential considerations, however, which M. DE S. designates under the term • Revenue,' precisely the “ Moral Restraint” which Mr. Malthus assigns as one of the three checks to population? • Long before population is stopped by the impossibility of making the earth yield more sustenance, it is stopped by the impossibility which the existing population feels of purchasing that subsistence and of paying for its production.' Such is the case with this country now. There is no want of provisions: on the contrary, bread-corn is so cheap that our farmers are going to ruin: but, cheap as it is, our workmen have no revenue with which to buy it. They are starving in the midst of abundance, and our population is to all intents and purposes redundant. Mr. Malthus, we conceive, would entirely accede to the position of his opponent, and merely say, Your “ deficient revenue” is my 6 moral restraint."

M. DE SISMONDI has exposed, in the most satisfactory manner, as many of Mr. Malthus's critics and respondents had done before, numerous errors in his statements and inferences: but we cannot see that any essential difference exists between them. The present author remarks that the very lowest class in society feels less restraint in marrying than any other. Two cases have come within our own knowlege, within the last nine months, to justify the remark: one, of a man who applied to the overseer for relief before he had been married a week :the other, of a sickly young man who married a helpless and decrepid woman, much older than himself, the parties both living in the parish poor-house; and he came for relief about two months after he had celebrated his nuptials with appropriate festivity. If revenue sets bounds to population, it may excite some surprise that the lowest degree of revenue should be thus prone to increase it: but riches and poverty are relative terms: they are the ascent and descent from a man's station in society. The latter is so repugnant to all his feelings, that we rarely see a large proprietor, as M. DE S. observes, making his sons farmers, and they again making their sons day-labourers; nor do we see a merchant making his sons petty shop-keepers, and they making their sons journeymen. These people will preserve their station in society, though

celibacy

celibacy must be the price which they pay for it. Yet, while a degraded class exists which had no other idea of wealth than the means of simple existence, and no other idea of poverty than perishing with hunger, still if they can live day after day “ from hand to mouth” themselves, they are content that their offspring should do the same: they hope for nothing better, and they fear nothing worse: - they have no descent to make from their station in society — but to the grave! They marry, therefore, without any scruple : looking not forwards to the morrow, their petition for themselves and their children being comprized in the short sentence, “ Give us this day our daily bread.” Even when they have fallen into habits of mendicity, their children are of advantage to them by exciting the compassion of the stranger, and thus serving as the tools and implements of their trade.

One of the obvious and mischievous effects of the poorlaws is to encourage, to offer a premium for, the marriage of persons who have no other prospect of providing for their offspring than that of throwing them on a parish, which they know must take them off their hands or maintain them. Miserable maintenance, no doubt! An overseer is very apt to exclaim to a pauper, when he states his necessities, as Lear argues with his daughters about what is needful for his state: « Oh! reason not the need our basest beggars

Are in the poorest things superfluous;
Allow not Nature more than Nature needs

Man's life is cheap as beast's.” These laws create more mendicity than they relieve. Instead of raising the price of labour by increasing the demand for labourers, they tend to overstock the market, consequently to reduce the demand and diminish the price; while at the same time they raise the price of provisions by furnishing an unproductive class - for parochial pensioners are proverbially the laziest individuals in a parish — with the means of increasing the consumption of them. M. DE S. would absolutely prevent the marriage of those who have no means of maintaining a progeny, and would allow the marriage of all such as have no other revenue than their labour only when a guarantee can be found, either in the workman's master or in some responsible person, that the issue shall not become chargeable. [Vol. II. p. 308.]

Instead of discovering any real discrepancy between him and Mr. Malthus, every page that we read marks their entire coincidence in all essential points as to the nature of the evil, the cause of it, and the

remedy:

remedy: but M. DE S. strains the cord perhaps a little the tighter of the two. What says Mr. Malthus ? He would not have the iron hand of law oppose the dictates of nature, and forbid the contract of marriage between two persons of full age: but he proposes that no child born from any marriage taking place after the expiration of a year from the date of his law, and that no illegitimate child born two years from the same date, should be intitled to parish-assistance. This, he says, would operate as a fair and distinct warning, which no man could mistake ; and which, without pressing hard on any individual, would throw off the rising generation from a helpless dependence on other people. The objection which both these gentlemen anticipate, namely, that compulsory celibacy would multiply concubinage, is parried by them both with the same weapon. The present author acknowleges that the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes might be increased: but, as it were correcting himself in an instant, he says, taking morals alone into consideration, this evil is less than the almost necessary sacrifice of that number of young women who, being born without any resources, are driven into vice by the extremity of their misery. Mr. Malthus, almost in the same words, says, “ Powerful as may be the temptations to a breach of chastity, I am inclined to think they are impotent in comparison of the temptations arising from continued distress." When Mr. Malthus talks about his arithmetical and

geometrical ratios, under the parade of mathematical precision, he is certainly using unprecise language, and has exposed himself to a verbal refutation, at least, which he might easily have avoided. The natural increase of almost all animals, and particularly of those which are subservient to the food of man, proceeds in a geometrical ratio much more rapidly than that of man himself; who, according to his own statement, 66 under the most favourable circumstances,” would double his number in twenty-five years. Look at oxen, sheep, swine, to say nothing of poultry, rabbits, &c.; how much more rapidly would these animals increase, “ under the most favourable circumstances ?" Then look at the increase of a single grain of corn, which may, “ under the most favourable circumstances,” produce twenty in the first year, four hundred in the second, eight thousand in the third, and a hundred and sixty thousand in the fourth, What is the sluggish multiplication of the human species in comparison with this? Mr. Malthus, then, is not precise in his language, but he is right in asserting that a large portion of mankind is constantly distressed for provisions. The problem to be solved, therefore, is, be the relative rates of increase what they may, how to proportion them. We have an excellent chapter on this subject from the present writer. His position, it will be recollected, is that the annual productions of a country must be annually consumed, either at home or abroad, or matters will go badly. The demand for labour which causes production must be proportioned to the revenue which supports consumption : this last, in its turn, proceeds from national wealth; and national wealth is created and accumulated by labour. Thus we are constantly moving in a circle; every effect, in its turn, becoming a cause; and ultimately we shall find that population is regulated by the demand for labour. In every department, when sufficient wages are offered for his encouragement, the workman appears, and population, with an expansive force, soon fills up every vacancy. The wheels of the great machine of society are so adapted to each other, that if any one be out of order the whole apparatus is deranged: but, while it works steadily, subsistence will spring up for the workman as his labour is required; and the same demand which calls men into existence will remunerate the husbandman for the food with which he supplies them. An augmenting population has usually been considered as the indication of good government; and legislators, divines, and economists, promote those institutions and enactments which favour the increase, forgetting that this symbol of prosperity is not always prosperity itself, and should never be confounded with it. The misery of a savage hunter who perishes with hunger is nothing to that of the thousand families which the failure of a single manufacture produces. The former, says M. DE S., preserves to the last all that energy and intelligence which he has kept in play during his whole life; and when he perishes for want of game, he yields to the necessity which nature imposes ; to which, from the very first, he knew himself exposed, and to which he must submit as naturally as he must submit to disease and old age. On the contrary, the artizan, dismissed from the loom with his wife and children, has already been deprived of the vigour of his mind as well as of his body, and he is moreover surrounded with envied opulence: let him turn his eye which way he will, he sees before him that nourishment for which he is vainly craving, while he is offering to the very last his labourin exchange for a morsel of bread: — if he be refused the boon, it is man and not nature whom he has to reproach. That machinery, therefore, which is most valuable when the demand for consumption exceeds the means of production, becomes a calamity when the means of production exceed the revenue for consump

solved,

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