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“ ber of children to each prolific marriage.” ACcording to his theory, there seems no way but by having a constable in the room, and converting bedchambers into a kind of lock-up houses.-Speaking of the possibility of delaying the gratification of the passion between the sexes, he says, ''!
“ If the whole effect were to depend merely on a “ sense of duty, considering the powerful antagonist " that is to be contended with, in the present case, “ I confess that I should absolutely despair. At the “ same time, I am strongly of opinion that a sense “ of duty, superadded to a sense of interest, would ” by no means be without its effect. There are
many noble and disinterested spirits, who, though “ aware of the inconveniences which they may bring
upon themselves by the indulgence of an early “ and virtuous passion, feel a kind of repugnance “ to listen to the dictates of mere worldly prudence, " and a pride in rejecting these low considerations. “ There is a kind of romantic gallantry in sacrificing “ all for love, naturally fascinating to a young mind; “ and, to say the truth, if all is to be sacrificed, I “ do not know, in what better cause it can be done. " But if a strong sense of duty could, in these in
stances, be added to prudential suggestions, the “ whole question might wear a different colour. In “ delaying the gratification of passion, from a sense “ of duty, the most disinterested spirit, the most “ delicate honour, might be satisfied. The romantic “ pride might take a different direction, and the dic"states of worldly prudence might be followed with
“ the cheerful consciousness of making a virtuous “sacrifice."
I am happy to learn that Mr. Malthus has been able to reconcile the sense of duty and interest with the gratification of his favourite passion. By preaching the virtue of celibacy with such success to others, he found it no longer necessary to practise it himself. He is not the first philosopher who extracted the flames of love out of ice. We read of such a one in Hudibras. I should be sorry to scandalize the modest reader; but really whenever I think of our author's escape from the consequences of his own doctrine in a wife, it puts me in mind of St. Francis's triumph over his desires,
“ Which after in enjoyment quenching,
“ He hung a garland on his engine." This St. Francis was as great an adept as our author in the cold-sweat of the passions.
There is no end of Mr. Malthus's paradoxes. I come now to his attempts to prove that in proportion as you raise the wages of the poor, you take away their livelihood.
“ Suppose, that by a subscription of the rich, the eighteen-pence, or two shillings, which men earn now, were made up five shillings, it might be
imagined, perhaps, that they would then be able “ to live comfortably, and have a piece of meat
every day for their dinner. But this would be a
« very false conclusion. The transfer of three addi. “ tional shillings a day to each labourer would not “ increase the quantity of meat in the country. “ There is not at present enough for all to have a “ moderate share. What would then be the conses “ quence? The competition among the buyers in «'
the market of meat, would rapidly raise the price “ from eight pence or nine pence, to two or three * shillings in the pound, and the commodity would “ not be divided among many more than it is at
present. When an article is scarce, and cannot “ be distributed to all, he that can shew the most “ valid patent, that is, he that offers the most money, becomes the possessor. .
When subsis, “ tence is scarce in proportion to the number of
people, it is of little consequence, whether the “ lowest members of the society possess two shil
lings or five. They must, at all events, be re“ duced to live upon the hardest fare, and in the “ smallest quantity."
Again, some pages after he says,
“ The question s is, how far, wealth has a tendency to better the “ condition of the labouring poor. It is a self-evi“ dent proposition that any general advance in the
price of labour, the stock of provisions remaining “ the same, can only be a nominal advance, as it “ must shortly be followed by a proportional rise in
provisions. The increase in the price of labour “ which we have supposed, would have no perma“ nent effect therefore in giving to the labouring
poor a greater command over the necessaries of
On these two passages which explain the drift of our author's reasonings pretty clearly, I shall re. mark, first, that wealth is nothing but the power of securing to yourself the fruits of the earth, or commanding the labour of others. The more equal dis. tribution of wealth, or the throwing a greater quantity of money (bona fide) into the hands of the poor must therefore enable them to procure either a greater share of provisions or of the labour of others, or both. This I hold to be an axiom, as far as I can comprehend the subject. But Mr. Malthus says that if the wages of the poor were raised to double or treble what they are at present, this in the firs place would not increase the quantity of meat in the market, nor the share which the labourer would have of it, because any advance in the price of labour must be followed by a proportional rise in provisions. This word is equivocal. To make out the argument, the rise ought to be not only proportional but equal to the rise of wages, which it evidently would not be. But Mr. Malthus is willing to exclude the possibility of bettering the condition of the poor, even in theory, by an equivoque, or any thing else. But to put an end to this miserable quackery, I would ask, whether if the rich were to divide their incomes with the poor, the latter would be any the richer for it. To say in this case, that the good things of the world would not be shared more equally among them, is flat nonsense. But any approach to a more equal division of wealth must lessen the difference between the rich and the poor proportionally. It is true that the lowest members of the community will still live upon the hardest fare, and in the smallest quantity : but their fare will be less hard and in larger quantities than it used to be, in proportion to the advance in the price of labour.
“ It may at first appear strange, but I believe it " is true, that I cannot by means of money, raise “ the condition of a poor man, and enable him to “ live much better than he did before, without pro
portionably depressing others in the same class. “ If I retrench the quantity of food consumed in my “ house, and give him what I have cut off, I then “ benefit him without depressing any but myself “ and family, who perhaps may be well able to “ bear it. If I turn up a piece of uncultivated
land, and give him the produce, I then benefit “ both him and all the members of society, because “ what he before consumed is thrown into the com
mon stock, and, probably, some of the new pro“ duce with it. But if I only give him money, sup“ posing the produce of the country to remain the
same, I give him a title to a larger share of that “ produce than formerly, which share he cannot “ receive without diminishing the shares of others. “ It is evident, that this effect in individual in
stances must be so small as to be totally imper“ ceptible; but still it must exist, as many other ef