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setting before them the prospect of their wives and children starving, in case of any accident to thiemselves, and to stimulate their industry by lowering their wages. The poor live from hand to mouth, be. cause, in general, they have no hopes of living in any other way. They seldom think of the future, because they are afraid to think of it. Their present wants employ their whole attention. This is their misfortune. Others have better luck. They have no time to think of wind-falls. Mr. Malthus may take his glass of wine after dinner, and his afternoon's nap, when, having got the Essay on Population out of his head, queen Mab “ comes to him with a tythe-pig's “ tail, tickling the parson as he lies asleep :--then 1.6 dreams he of another benefice.” The poor cannot indulge in such pleasing speculations. If what they earn beyond their immediate necessities goes to the ale-house, it is because the severe labour they undergo requires some relaxation, because they are willing to forget the work-house, their old age, and the prospect of their wives and children starving, and to drown care in a mug of ale, in noise, and mirth, and laughter, and old ditties, and coarse jokes, and hot disputes ; and in that sense of short-lived comfort, independence and good-fellowship, which is necessary to re-lieve the hurt mind and jaded body. But all these, when our author's system is once established, “shall
no more impart,
“ An hour's importance to the poor man's heart."
No human patience can submit to everlasting toil and self-denial. The prospect of mere physical com
fort is not a match for continued physical suffering : and the lower classes of the people have no other motives to animate them to bear up against the ills of life, in habits of moral reflection, in the pursuits and example of the rich, or in the real respect and credit attached to their own good behaviour. You reduce them almost to the condition of brutes, and then grudge them their coarse enjoyments : you make machines of them, and then expect from them firmness, resolution, the love of independence, the fruits of an erect and manly spirit. Mr. Malthus, like the Sphinx, destroys his victims by the help of riddles; and makes a snare of impossibilities. As to the workmen and mechanics in manufacturing towns (to say nothing of the closeness and unwholesomeness of their occupations, which would go a good way in accounting for “their drunkenness and dissipation") the noise and turbulence in which they live, and their being crowded together as they are must unfit them for enjoying the quiet and stillness of domestic life: they are glad to escape from the contempt which their “squalid appearance” excites in the well-dressed mob who walk the streets, and hide their greasy clothes and smutched faces in the nearest pot-house; and to say the truth, with respect to those of them who are married, the hard features, the disjointed shapes, the coarse limbs, the carking countenances, and ill-humour of their wives, occasioned by the fretful wants of a set of squalling children, cannot be supposed to prove so attractive to them, as " the symmetry of person, the “ vivacity, the voluptuous softness of temper, the
* affectionate kindness of feeling, the imagination, á and the wit" which in Mr. Malthus's opinion constitute the charm of the sex. After all, are the higher classes a bit better than their inferiors ? Are drinking and dissipation confined to the poor? As Mr. Malthus ingenuously observes, “ Our Doctors Com
mons and the lives that many married men [of the “ better sort] are known to lead sufficiently prove the
reverse of this.” I believe it will hardly be proposed to make moral merit a rule for the division of the good things of fortune. The only difference in the vices of the rich and the poor is, that the rich can afford theirs better. Nevertheless they set up for censors and reformers of the morals of the poor. I remember to have seen a red-faced swag-bellied bishop (such another as Father Paul in the Duenna) who could drink his two bottles of wine without being affected, belch out a severe reprimand against a poor labouring man, who was staggering home after drinking a quart of small beer. As to our author's plan of starving the poor out of their vices, I must say (all circumstances considered) that I think it, in the first place, an impudent proposal, because their executioners are no better than themselves; in the second place, a silly proposal, because, if not literally followed up, it must evidently defeat itself; in the third place, a malignant proposal, because if it were strictly put in practice, it could only produce despair and sullen insensibility among the poor, and destroy all traces of justice or humanity among the rich; in the fourth place, a lying proposal, because it is contrary to Mr. Malthus's own reasonings, who in many places
has shewn that the only way to improve the condition of the poor is not by urging them to extremity, but by raising them above want, by inspiring them with a respect for themselves, and a taste for the comforts and decencies of life by sharing in them.
“ That the poor (says Mr. Malthus) employed in “ manufactures consdier parish assistance as a reason
why they may spend all the wages which they earn, “ and enjoy themselves while they can, appears to be “ evident, from the number of families that upon the “ failureof any great manufactory, immediately fall
upon the parish.” This is an assumption of the question. Our author here confounds the fact and the reason together. It appears evident that the manufacturer often spends his earnings as he gets them, but not that he does so in the hope that his family may go to the parish after his death. “A man who might not “ be deterred from going to the alehouse from the « consideration that on his death or sickness he “ should leave his wife and family upon the parish,
might yet hesitate in thus dissipating his ear" nings if he were assured that in either of “ these cases his family must starre, or be left
to the support of casual bounty.” Now it has appeared that his conduct is regulated by motives and circumstances which have nothing to do with what happens to his wife and children after his death. It may therefore be questioned whether the catastrophe proposed by Mr. Malthus would haye thé desired effect. But certainly it could not have this effect as long as there was a dependence on casual bounty: and to stop up this resource it would be ab
solutely necessary to call in the aid of the magistrate to prevent the indiscreet and unavailing interference ef private charity, and execute the sentence of the law of nature and the law of God on his wife and hapless progeny, justly doomed to starve for the neglect of their parent. What effect this would have on the “ moral sensibility of the nation" I leave to Mr. Malthus to determine with his well-known penetration and humanity. “ The suffering a poor family to “ perish of want is bad enough: but I cannot con“ ceive of any thing much more detestable or shocking “ to the feelings than any direct regulation of this “ kind, by whatever name it is sanctioned.” Mr. Malthus may perhaps object that I have quoted him unfairly; and applied to the organizing the starving of a family what he applied to the direct regulation of infanticide,-a very different thing! Unfortunately, I have not sufficient delicacy of verbal feeling to be able to find out the difference.-Now I recollect, however, what shocked Mr. Malthus so much in speaking of in. fanticide was the supposition that the parents were to be forced to destroy their own children, when they thought they could maintain them: accord. ing to our author's mode of starving a family, the society are only to stand by and prevent others from affording them assistance. Here we see there is not that direct violation of the parental affection which, says Mr. Malthus, is the principal aggravation of the other case. He explains the grounds of this distinction in another part of his work. “ If,” says he, “the “ parents desert their child, they ought to be answer« able for the crime. The infant is, comparatively