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restraint imposed on the passion ; and in this respect his assertion is evidently false. The difference in the state of manners in the same country at different periods is as striking and notorious as that between the manners of different countries. There is as much difference between what England was in this respect a hundred and sixty years ago, and what she is now, as there is between England and Italy at the present day. Was there no difference between the manners of ancient Rome in the early periods of her history, and towards the decline of the empire ? May not the state of manners in Italy under the republic, under the emperors, and under the popes, be distinctly traced to the influence of religious or political institutions, or to other causes, besides the state of population, or the facility of gratifying the abstract instinctive propensity to sexual indulgence? Was there not a striking difference between the severity and restraint which was required and undoubtedly practised under Charles I. and in the time of the Puritans, and that torrent of dissipation and undisguised profligacy which burst upon the kingdom after the restoration of Charles II.? This sudden transition from demure and saint-like or hypocritical austerity to open shameless licentiousness cannot assuredly be accounted for from

the increasing pressure of population. Nor car it be pretended to have been owing to this principle that the tide afterwards turned again at the Revolution with the habits and fashions of the court, and with the views and maxims of that party who had now got the ascendancy. A learned writer might easily fill à volume with instances to the same purpose. But the few which are here skimmed from the mere surface of history, and which must be familiar to every one, are sufficient to disprove Mr. Malthus's assertion, not as a metaphysical refinement, but as a practical rule, that the passion between the sexes and the effects of that passion have remained always the same. The indulgence of that passion is so far from being a law antecedent to all other laws, and paramount to all other considerations, that it is in a manner governed almost entirely by circumstances, and may be said to be the creature of the imagination. But Mr. Malthus says, that no regular or gradual progress has hitherto been made towards the extinction of this passion, and that it exists in as much force at present, as it did two thousand, or four thousand years ago.

The question is whether this passion is fixed and stationary, always remaining at the same point, controuling circumstances, but not controuled by them, not whether the change of cir

cumstances and lapse of time may not bring it back to the same point again. I think it probable that if Mr. Malthus had to preach a sermon on the truth and excellence of revealed religion, he would be inclined to take for one of his topics the benefit we have derived from it in the government of our passions, and general purity of our manners. He might launch out into a description shewing how the contemplation of heavenly things weans the affections from the things of the world, and mortifies our carnal desires, how a belief in future rewards and punishments strengthens our resolution, and is indeed the only thing that can render us proof against every species of temptation ; he might enlarge on the general purity and elevation which breathes through the sacred writings, on the law confining the institution of marriage to pairs ; he might dwell on the grossness and pernicious tendency of the Pagan mythology ; he might glance at the epistle to the Romans, or the preamble to the Jewish laws, and finding that the practices there described are not common among us, without travelling to Rome, or inquiring into the present state of Chaldæa, conclude by felicitating his hearers on the striking contrast between ancient and modern manners, and on the gradual improvement of morals and refinement of sentiment produced

by the promulgation of christianity. Though we in general reason very incorrectly in comparing ancient and modern manners, (for we always confound the foriner with eastern, and the latter with our own manners) I am apt to think that some change has taken place in this passion in the course of time. It seems to be more modified by other feelings than it used to be ; it is less a boiling of the blood, an animal heat, a headlong, brutal impulse than it was in past ages. The principle is somewhat taken down and weakened, the appetite is not so strong, we can stay our stomachs better than we used to do, we do not gorge indiscriminately on every kind of food without taste or decency. The vices of the moderns are more artificial than constitutional. They do not arise so much from instinct as from a depraved will. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. We stimulate ourselves into affected passion: we are laborious imitators of folly, and ape the vices of others in cold blood. But whatever may be the result of an inquiry into the comparative state of ancient and modern manners, I cannot allow that it has any thing to do with the present question. I will allow that the progress of refinement and knowledge has in ninety-nine instances out of a hundred tended to deprave instead of improving the morals of men, that at

away the

the same time that it has taken

gross impulse, it has introduced an artificial and studied depravity, the operation of which is more subtle, dangerous and universal ; in short that nations as they grow older like individuals grow worse, not from constitution, but habit. Still this fact if granted (and I am afraid it istoo near the truth) will not at all prove Mr. Malthus's theory, that this passion remains always the same, being influenced neither by time nor circumstances. Secondly, it will not overturn the speculations respecting the possibility of making an entire change in the passion “ in a state of society altogether different from

any that has hitherto existed,” but will on the contrary render such a change more desirable and necessary, as our only resource against the general contagion of vice and profligacy. If this vice is found to spread gradually wider and wider, clinging to the support of institutions, which in all other respects favour selfishness and sensuality, if it is not the only one among the vices, which, while all others spread and flourish and are fostered in the eye of the world, does not hide its diminished head, this is not to be wondered at. But it would be a singular way of defending the present institutions of society, that from all our past experience we find that their progress has been attended with the

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