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tion, unsupported by actual observation or a general knowledge of practical subjects, in consequence of which the mind is dazzled and confounded by any striking fact which thwarts its previous conclusions. There is also in some minds a low and narrow jealousy, which makes them glad of any opportunity to escape from the contemplation of magnificent scenes of visionary excellence, to hug themselves in their own indifference and apathy, and to return once more to their natural level. Mr. Malthus's essay was in this respect a nice let-down from the too sanguine expectations and overstrained enthusiasm which preceded it. Else, how a work of so base tendency, and so poorly glossed over, which strikes at the root of every humane principle, and all the while cants about sensibility and morality, in which the little, low, rankling malice of a parish-beadle, or the overseer of a workhouse is disguised in the garb of philosophy, and recommended as a dress for every English gentleman to wear, in which false logic is buried under a heap of garbled calculations, such as a bad player might make at cribbage to puzzle those with, who knew less of the game than himself, where every argument is a felo de se, and defeats its own purpose, containing both" its bane and antidote" within itself, how otherwise such a miserable reptile performance should ever have crawled to


that height of reputation which it has reached, I am utterly unable to comprehend. But it seems Mr. Malthus's essay was a discovery. There are those whom I have heard place him by the side of Sir Isaac Newton, as both equally great, the one in natural, the other in political philosophy. But waving this comparison, I must confess, that were I really persuaded that Mr. Malthus had made any discovery at all, there is so little originality, and so much ill-nature and illiberality in the world, that I should be tempted to overlook the large share of the latter which Mr. Malthus possesses in common with the rest of mankind (and which in him may probably be owing to ill-digestion, to a sickly constitution, or some former distaste conceived against poverty) and to consider him merely in the light of a man of genius. Multum abludit imago. Indeed I do not much see what there is to discover on the subject, after reading the genealogical table of Noah's descendants, and knowing that the world is round. But even allowing that there was something in the nature of the subject which threw over it a veil of almost impenetrable obscurity, Mr. Malthus was not the first who found out the secret. Whatever some of his ignorant admirers may pretend, Mr. Malthus will not say that this was the case. He has himself given us a list of authors, some of whom he had read

before, and some since the first publication of. his Essay, who fully understood and clearly stated this principle. Among these Wallace is the chief. He has not only stated the general principle with the utmost force and precision, by pointing out the necessary disproportion between the tendency in population and the tendency in the means of subsistence to increase after a certain period, (and till this period, namely till the world became full, I must contend in opposition to Mr. Malthus that the disproportion would not be necessary, but artificial); but what is most remarkable, he has brought this very argument forward as an answer to the same schemes of imaginary improvement, which the author of the Essay on population first employed it to overturn. For it is to be remembered that the use which our author has since made of this principle to shut up the workhouse, to snub the poor, to stint them in their wages, to deny them any relief from the parish, and preach lectures to them

Among the former àre Hume, Wallace, Smith, and Price; among the latter are the Economists, Montesquieu, Franklin, Sir James Steuart, Arthur Young, Mr. Townshend, Plato, and Aristotle.

† I beg leave to refer the reader to some letters which appeared on this subject, in the Monthly Magazine, written by a well informed and ingenious man, who had too much good sense and firmness to be carried away by the tide of vulgar prejudice.

on the new-invented crime of matrimony, was an after-thought. His first, his grand, his most memorable effort was directed against the modern philosophy. It was the service his borrowed wea pons did in that cause, that sanctified them at all other purposes. I shall have occasion by and by to examine how far the argument was a solid one; at present I am only inquiring into the originality of the idea. And here I might content myself with referring your readers to Wallace's work; or it might be sufficient to inform them that after indulging in the former part of it in all the schemes of fancied excellence and Utopian government, which Sir Thomas More and so many other philosophers and speculators have endeavoured to establish, he then enters into an elaborate refutation of them, by describing the evils, "the universal confusion "and perplexity in which all such perfect forms "of society must soon terminate, the sooner on "account of their perfection," from the principle of population, and as he expresses it, "from these primary determinations in nature,


a limited earth, a limited degree of fertility, "and the continual increase of mankind." However, as it is probable that most of your readers may not have the book within their reach, and as people do not like to take these things upon trust, or from a mere general repre

sentation of them, I must beg your insertion of the following extract from the work itself; and though it is pretty long, yet as you, Sir, seem to be of opinion with me that the subject of Mr. Malthus's reputation is a matter of no mean interest to the public, I am in hopes that you will not think your pages misemployed in dissipating the illusion. As to Mr. Malthus himself, if he is a vain man, he ought to be satisfied with this acknowledgement of his importance.

"But without entering further into these ab "stracted and uncertain speculations, it deserves our particular attention, that as no go "vernment which hath hitherto been esta❤

blished, is free from all seeds of corruption, or "can be expected to be eternal; so if we sup.

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pose a government to be perfect in its original "frame, and to be administered in the most "perfect manner, after whatever model we sup


pose it to have been framed, such a perfect "form would be so far from lasting for ever, "that it must come to an end so much the ❝ sooner on account of its perfection. For, though happily such governments should be

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firmly established, though they should be "found consistent with the reigning passions of "human nature, though they should spread far "and wide; nay, though they should prevail

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