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A RELATION OF A SINGULAR MODERN
others as detracting from their own, ani taking pleasure only in exhibiting what is weak, absurd, or wicked, in our nature. But we make no great
MR EDITOR, account of this. Mischief it may do It is said that the age of miracles for a time, but if the habit continue has now ceased, but upon what aulong, the public will become indig- thority I have not yet learned, If the nant, and discontinue or disavow all following account be not miraculous, allegiance. Man can only maintain I leave yourself to judge, or to explain an interest with his fellows by sympa- it as you best can. It was avouched thizing with their feelings, and take to me by the most respectable gentieing an interest in their interests. men of the neighbourhood where it There may be skeletons in society, occurred, and I doubt not they will be but the great majority of men are willing enough to attest the truth composed of flesh and blood, elements thereof, should you have any sceptiwhich are sure to generate and sup- cism about it. The facts are the folport sensation and passion. The bulk lowing:of mankind, therefore, will neither In the Isle of Sky is a certain wild long acknowledge nor tolerate men sequestered corry or cul de suc, called who constantly sport with their com- Neaghhuan, whither a Roman Cathomon feelings and common interests; lic devotee had retired to go through and leaving the cynical to die of their a severe course of penal fasting. The own spleen,--the fastidious to writhe name of this devotee was Carthuin under the agonies of disappointed va- Ruidhe, and the fame of his piety soon nity,--the public will seek out and spread among all the adherents of the make for themselves other leaders Infallible Church. He eat no more of more congenial temperaments, of daily than a handful of parched peas, more generous, benevolent, and use- and drank only a measured quantity fiul habits both of thought and action. of water from a fountain in the VeaghThe great temporal and moral inter- buan, beside which he lay shelterless ests of man are those which are com- and exposed to all the inclemencies of monly termed political. These never heaven. The only addition to this have lost, and never can lose, their scanty fare which he ever indulged in importance. The political condition was a small quantity of water cresses. of man affects all that is near and dear Carthuin Ruidhe had not been long to him. It reaches even to the condi- in his retirement, when he was joined tion of his mind,-it tinges his moral by another devotee named Fradhmuine, reflections-it touches his religious who, having heard of his penitential exercises. The relation of men to each vow, had resolved to be his companion other in a state of society, their mutual in penance. Carthuin Ruidhe agreed duties and obligations, the degree in to his proposal, on condition that he which power can be relinquished or would never open his lips to speak, entrusted, the consequences of weak- except when celebrating mass, which ness, error, and contemplated injuries they were to perform alternately. and encroachments, afford ample scope
In this manner they lived together for the exercise of human intellect, many days, till the time of Lent, when and human virtues. The subject is they reduced their daily allowance to altogether inexhaustible, in as much one half, in order to show their reveas it is constantly presenting new as rence for that holy season of humiliapects, giving birth to new duties, and tion. But when Easter arrived, and scope to new exertions. Human af- Carthuin Ruidhe was celebrating mass, fairs are so complex, that the merely and performing the other offices and curious are never without subjects of ceremonies of the solennity, he was speculation; and in no condition of more than once interrupted therein by society do the truly good ever weary Fiadhmuine, groaning deeply, and in well doing. Human science pre- throwing at him a ghustly look, while sents,' and ever will present, enough his face exhibited a cadaverous lankof human occupation; and human ness frightful to behold. He seemed knowledge, as we think we have de- to be struggling sore in spirit, for woe monstrated, tends, with at least every was depicted in all his looks. At last degree of moral certainty, to human his emotion became uncontrollable, he improvement.
broke his vow of silence, and burst out
with an unearthly howl, vociferating, having apostatized to the Protestant
Flesh, flesh, flesh.” Carthuin church, were in nowisé pleased with Ruidhe was so thunderstruck, that he the occurrence, but seeing two falet fall the consecrated Corpus Christi; mishing wretches devouring with yet, mirabile dictu, as Virgil says, the greedy eyes their lord's viands, they, holy thing did not touch the ground, out of pure Highland hospitality, perbut remained suspended in the air : mitted them to help themselves to a though this part of the miracle was not bit of lean mutton, thinking wisely discovered till afterwards, for Fiadh- that roast-beef was too strong for the muine tumbled down in a fit, still cry- stomachs of the hungered pulse-eaters. ing out, “Flesh, flesh!"
Now, Mr Editor, you will allow In this perplexity, Carthuin Ruidhe that this fact is a very miraculous one bethought him of ejaculating a prayer to occur in the nineteenth century, to the beatified St Bride for assistance. though it is by no means unmatched! He prayed earnestly for a good space, informer times.' It made a great looking devoutly towards Abernethy, noise in the remote part of the coun where the mortal part of St Bride try where it happened, and was by rests,” When he had prayed about the seers thought to indicate either a half a glass, he beheld a cloud coming new commencement of religious wartowards him over the heights of Drum fare, or a missionary expedition, or to Cruachan, and as it came nigher and have reference to the republic of Crinigher, he perceived that it took the ticism, whose myrmidons might, ere form of a table, on which were laid long, invade the peaceable and inofsundry kinds of savoury meat, rich fensive islanders. You may either and smoking, and right delicious to choose between, or reject these exthe taste. The table came onward poundings, as shall seem good unto through the air, and placed itself be- yourself, or you may probably discotween Carthuin Ruidhe, and the long- ver some more plausible interpretaing Fiadhmuine.
tion. I merely state the fact as it The holy men, thinking it to be ho was told to me, and remain, Sir, your less than a special interposition of St most obcdient servant, Bride to save Fiadhmuine from death,
THOM, TRAVELLER. and judging no harm from a hearty Oban, Dec. 24th, meal sent from above, began to cut up ( Christmas Eve,) 1818. a most tempting piece of roast-beef, and were falling voraciously thereup
STRICTURES ON THE DOCTRINE THAT on, when a party of horsemen on fly
OF POPULATION ing steeds, came rushing down the
IS THE GREAT - SOURCE OF VICE pass of Drum Cruachan, and stood before the astonished devotees, pant
AND MISERY. ing and breathless, while the first
(From a Correspondent.). morsel of the roast beef was still on
1. Few subjects have engaged more their forks.
attention of late, and been discussed The horsemen proved to be the re
with greater acrimony, than questainers of Alaister Macbreac, Esq., from tions regarding population, nor upon whom it seemed St Bride had pious- any have the conclusions of difly purloined the table, and the dishes ferent writers been more directly thereon, for the behoof of her vota- opposed to one another. The rearics; the same St Bride being, while son seems to be, that it has been on this earth, much addicted to such
too generally taken up on both sides, pious thefts. * The Clann-na-Breac,
rather as a subject of political specu
lation, with particular results in view • Dubhtachus, the father of St Bride, from the outset, and to which it was had received from his sovereign the gift of the object of the disputants to make a splendid gold-hilted sword, ornamented all the facts, and all their reasoning with costly jewels. This sword his pious from them contribute, than as a matdaughter took an opportunity, of stealing, ter of sober inquiry and patient inve ' and gave away to the poor the money tigation, in which the truth was which she received for it. When she was sought for wherever it might be found. entrusted with the management of her mother's dairy, she charitably gave away the prodigal liberality, she'obtained, by prayer, whole proceeds to the poor ; but, upon her a tentold increase of milk. CocitoSUS, more worldly parent becoming angry at her Vita S. Brigidæ.
Mr Malthus avows that his attention he endeavours, in a variety of passages was first directed to the subject by scattered throughout his work, to sethe schemes of perfectibility and e cure himself from such a charge. The quality which were generated by the language of Mr Malthus, it must be Freneh revolution, or, at least, first admitted, bas, in some instances, been became somewhat popular about that unnecessarily harsh and revolting. time; and it is the great object of his Though he cautions us against carrybook to prove, that the principle of ing general principles too far, he has population renders all such schemes himself carried them to what appear impracticable. To the operation of to be very nearly their utmost limits. this principle, he ascribes almost all It is probable, that, if he had attempt. the misery and vice which prevail in ed less, he would actualiy have done society, whether it be savage or civi- more. He has irritated those whom lized, and whether the government it would have been for the success of be one of liberty or despotism. Po- his opinions and recommendations to pulation, he tells us, will not only have soothed, and exposed his specualways increase with the increase of lations to a torrent of abuse, which, the means of subsistence, but it has though he may disregard it himself, a constant tendency to increase in a has probably rendered his work less much greater ratio, and is almost al- popular than it might have been aways pressing against the limits of inong those who stand most in need subsistence in the most thinly peopled of its practical views. countries, as well as the most popu The motives and the tendency of lous. His opponents, on the other Mr Malthus's speculations, however, hand, either deny that there is any are subordinate questions. Are his such tendency, or that any inconve- principles just in themselves, and his nience ought to be felt from it, until conclusions from them fully establishthe earth has been fully cultivated, ed? In the progress of his reasoning, if the structure of society be reared is there nothing omitted that might on the principles of liberty and jus- yary, limit, or otherwise affect those tice. Some think with Mr Weyland, . conclusions? If the means of subsistthat the greater mortality of large ence regulate population, what is it towns, arising not from want of food, that regulates the means of subsistbut from unhealthy employments, and ence? Why do we sometimes find more generally from the very density them abounding in a barren country, of the population, is sufficient to keep that does not afford provision for its down the general population of à inhabitants for three months in the country after it has attained a certain year, and scarce to the great mass of amount, and that, in order to prevent the people of a fertile country, from it from becoming retrograde, it may whence grain has been exported for even be necessary to give encourage- centuries? Why are countries once ment to marriage among the rural populous now a desart, traversed rapopulation, from whence the demands ther than inhabited by a miscrable of the great towns are to be supplied. banditti, or sinking fást into that Others again, like Mr Grahame, look state ? Rome, for instance,--dii she to ernigration as the effectual resource not become less and less populous, of an excessive population, without even wheu her citizens were supplied carrying their calculations into the re- with food gratis ?. Finally, it may be mote period when the whole globe, asked, Why does not the starving huna perhaps, may be fully peopled. ter become a shepherd, and the shep
There is yet another class, however, herd an agriculturist,? Mr Malthus who see in the speculations of Mr has made the tour of human existMalthus a disposition to find an apo- ence, from its very lowest to its most logy for the oppression of men' in improved condition, and presented to power, and the waste and dissipation us scenes of privation and misery in
it is tendency, they think,' to close the the want of food ; but why is there a "hearts of the one and the hands of the want of it, while there is land and laother against the miserable. This, it hour to produce it? or while it is acis alleged, is the impression which the tually produced, but sent out of the general strain of his reasoning leaves country to be consumed by others. upon the mind, notwithstanding that It is true, if it be admitted that there.
is a constant tendency, in every stage the evils which aftlict the human race of society, in population to increase flow from only one source, which is faster than the means of subsistence, no other than bad government, with that land must at last be wanting for its necessary accompaniments, rapagrowing corn, and that no efforts of city and profusion among the powerlabour will procure it; but what is ful and the wealthy. This is running the value of this argument to a starv at once to the opposite extreme. The ing people? If they should take his whole tenor of Mr Ensor's book is, advice, and increase more slowly, ra- indeed, calculated to deceive and misther than redouble their efforts to lead the ignorant, and inflame the make the supply meet the demand, discontented. He writes with conWould the supply really get a-head of siderable plausibility, and in a style the demand, as he alleges, or would it but too well adapted to the purpose not be reduced in a corresponding de- which he seems to have in view. Angree, as we see happen in all other cient and modern history is ransacked cases; and thus the condition of the for facts and opinions in support of people be no better than before, even his doctrines. He is not less perthough they were gradually wasting versely industrious in exposing those down to the scanty numbers of the of his opponents to ridicule or indigshepherd or hunter state ?
nation. But the reader will look in 'These and other difficulties have of. vain for impartiality, discrimination, ten crossed our path, when travelling a clear developement of principle, and through Mr Malthus's ample vo- sound conclusions. lumes; and we have a thousand times Let us look at population and subimplored his help in vain. It seems sistence, not through the medium of to us, indeed, that, inuch as he has system, but as they are really to be written on the subject, he has only seen in life. The first thing that taken a view of one side of it. We strikes us is, that the actual supply of see population increasing, or strug- food in any civilized country, becomes gling to increase ; but we see nothing the property only of those who either of the causes that repress production themselves have land, or some equior enlarge it. He does not profess, it valent to offer for its products. Those is true, to treat of the principles of who have neither may starve, while production, but of population only; profusion riots around them, and abut how can they be considered sepa- bundance is wafted from their shores rately? or what is the use of making to distant countries. But in all old the attenipt ? Nothing can be less e peopled countries, where land has bedifying and more tedious as well as come private property, and property disgusting, than “ the checks to po- is secured by law, it is evident that pulation in the lowest stage of human the owners of land must be comparasociety, among the American Indians, tively a small number; and the num, in the islands of the South Sea,” &c. ber is much smaller in many parts of It is a picture of a herd of swine in- Europe than it would be, and ought closed within a forest, breeding up to to be, if the laws did not throw it into the mast, and roots, and herbage the hands of an aristocracy, and prowhich Nature supplies, and, increas- bit its division either by sale or by tesing still, at last devouring one another tamentary destination. What a small till their number be reduced to the le- proportion do the landholders of Rusvel of their food.
sia, Poland, and Germany bear to the What Mr Malthus has left undone whole population of these countries? still remains to be done. Later writ- The great body of the people, thereers have been more anxious to sup- fore, can only obtain food by presentport or overturn his principles and ing to these few something for which deductions, than to erect a solid and they are willing to exchange it, and well proportioned fabric of their own. that something is labour, whether it Mr Ensor, the author of a late work be the dictum of the lawyer or physis which has led to these remarks, con- cian, the fabric of the manufacturer, tents himself with proving, by means the servility of the menial, or the of a well furnished library, that many sweat of the peasant. But the far wise men among both the ancients greater portion of every society conand the moderns were friendly to po- sists of those who have nothing to ofa pulation, and asserts, that nearly all fer but bodliiy labour. If these are
kept in a state of slavery, as is still considered to be a given quantity, and the case in some of the countries just population has advanced till this quanmentioned, their pittance will, of tity is divided into the smallest shares course, be doled out to them at the that will support life; but the object pleasure of their masters, without any now is, to keep population stationary, regard to the actual supply of food; or to diminish it ; while the amount and if they are free, it will be mea- of subsistence, it is supposed, will resured out to them according to the main still the same, or be augmented, demand for their labour among the and every individual will therefore higher classes, or, in other words, by draw a larger share. By this plan, the rate of their wages.
corn would be raised when there were · The demand for labour, or the rate not people to consume it, and clothes of wages, is evidently affected by a before their wearers came into the complication of circumstances, over worlel, and houses built to be occu"which the labourers themselves have pied half a century hence. The delittle or no control. The funds des- mand for labour would not continue tined to the maintenance of labour, to undiminisheil, unless these works go adopt the established phraseoloxy, forward as usual, nor would wages be seem to increase and decrease very the same, nor would subsistence besuddenly; and sometimes it would come more abundant and cheap. But appear that a portion of them is alto- if all these consequences would ensue gether inoperative, or diverted from from restraining population, is there its proper destination. This is the not some danger, that, when men no case, particularly in a manufacturing longer felt it necessary to labour so and commercial country, such as ours, much, their exertions would cease, or where the man that at one time bare- be limited by their wants? And, on ly exists upon 8s. a-week, at another the other hand, if none of these redraws three or four times the sum for sults would be obtained froin renderthe same labour. Money also, in its ing popnlation stationary, "might it power of purchasing food, is subject not be advisable to let it go on, unto a similar fluctuation. The price der the prudential checks which eduof the necessaries of life in this coun- cation may impose, and direct our attry have within these few years varicd tention to the supply of its wants, by at least 100 per cent. But the num- enlarging the stock of subsistence, or, ber of the labouring classes cannot more properly speaking, by placing possibly accommodate itself to such the means of obtaining it more within great and sudden variations. Inde- the reach of the lower classes. At all pendent, therefore, of all other cir- events, these means should not be dicumstances, here is a source of mise- minished by taxes on the necessaries ry to those who have no means of of life, by obstructing the access to obtaining subsistence, but through new employments, by exclusive prithe medium of wages. Its force may vileges, by commercial monopolies, by be weakened by economy in times of restrictions on personal freedom-or prosperity, by a prudent provision for even emigration, nor, in an especial the evil day of low wages, and high manner, by turning aside the funds prices of food, but in what other class that would otherwise be employed in does this abstinence and foresight supporting prodluctive labour, to graanirrrsally prevail ?
tify the vanity or ambition of a few. The remedy prescribed for all the How much useful labour might have evils of society, at least for all the been put in motion, how generally sufferings of the labouring classes, is throughout every cottage in the united celibacy. Let them cease to mar- kingdom would privation and sufferry, and their wages will go farther; ing have been exch'nged for abunand the supply of labour being thus dance, by the tenth part of the sum, diminished, their wages may, in time, that has been squan lered away, witheven advance, and give them still a in these few years, in war.
Every lagreater command over the necessa bourer in Britain has been made to ries and comforts of life. Subsistence pay a portion of his wages for the will get the start of population; overthrow of Bonaparte, and the rethough, after a time, population will establishment of the Bourbons, and begin to move forward, and at last unless he dies in celibacy; according to orertake it. Hitherto subsistence is the fashionable prescription, the bur