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candid man, and does not trouble himself much about consistency) instead of representing real chastity as a kind of miracle or monster in nature, he represents it as a very common thing and bears honourable testimony to the virtue of most women, particularly in the middle and higher ranks of life, in this respect. But then this virtue is confined entirely to the women ; the men neither do, nor ever will be able to practise it; and this again salves the objection to his argument.
But this is of all others the strongest proof of the futility of Mr. Malthus's reasoning: for to what is this difference owing but to the opinion of the world respecting their conduct, that is, to moral causes? It cannot be said I presume that the greater command which the other sex have over themselves is because their heads are stronger and their passions weaker, (this would, I am sure, be out of all anatomical proportion): it is owing solely to the institutions of society, imposing this restraint upon them; though these institutions, if we are to believe Mr. Malthus, can never in any circumstances whatever have any effect on this passion. It is impossible to add any thing to the force and conclusiveness of this argument by enlarging upon it: it speaks for itself. I can only say, that I ain willing to rest the whole controversy on this single fact. If the passion
is thus capable of being modified and influenced by circumstances, opinion, and manners, and not merely slightly modified, or for a short time, in one or two solitary instances, as an exception to the general rule (though even this would shew that the necessity is not absolute, invincible, fatal) but actually kept under (as far as it has any thing to do with population, or childbearing) by one half the sex in every well-regulated community, I conceive Mr. Malthus can only be justified in saying, that no possible circumstances will ever render this passion entirely subject to the control of reason, by saying that no circumstances will ever arrive in which it would be the imperious and indispensable duty of every one to habituate himself to such restraint, in which that necessity would be generally felt and understood and enforced by the opinion of the whole coinmunity, and in which nothing but a general system of manners formed upon that opinion could save the community from ruin, or from the evils of excessive population, which is point-blank contrary to Mr. Malthus's whole doctrine. In short, Mr. Malthus's whole book rests on a malicious supposition, that all mankind (I hope the reader will pardon the grossness of the expression, the subject is a gross one) are like so many animals in season. “ Were they as prime as goats, as hot às monkeys, as salt as
" wolves in pride, and fools as gross as ignorance 66 made drunk,” matters could then be no worse than he represents them. Population could then only be checked by viceand misery and by nothing else. But I hope things are not quite so bad.* Mr. Malthus says, " that the passion between " the sexes is necessary, or at least that it “will remain nearly in its present state.” To this I might perhaps assent, if I knew what “ its present state” is. Does Mr. Malthus mean by its present state its present state in England or in Scotland, or in Italy, or in Asia, or in Africa, or America, for in all or most of these places is its present state a very different thing from what it is in the rest of them? One would imagine fidm the easy complacency with which Mr. Malthus treats the subject, that the present state of this passion was a something really given, a fixed quantity, a general rule like the relation between two and two and four, or between food and the human stomach,t
I am happy to find that a philosophical work, like Mr. Malthus's, has got a good deal into the hands of young ladies of a liberal education and an inquisitive turn of mind. The question is no doubt highly interesting ; and the author has thrown over it a warmth of colouring, that can hardly fail to please. Even Miss Howe was fond of ardours.
+ I have here purposely left an opening for Mr. Malthus's ingenuity. He will I hope take the hint and write another quarto volume to prove by anatomical and medical inquiries into the state of all countries, beginning at the north and ending at the
that it was indulged universally and equally in all countries, instead of being as various in itself and its effects as climate and all other causes, natural and artificial, can make it. Thus to give an example as much in point as can be, is the present state of this passion, i. e. of the indulgence of it, the same in Lancashire, that it is in Westmoreland, the very next county to it? In the one you find the most profligate manners, and the most extreme licentiousness, in the other there is hardly any such thing. Mr. Malthus often says, he will never dispute any thing that is proved by experience and a real observation of human life. Now I conceive that the observation which I have just stated is a fact. Yet Mr. Malthus seems to have been quite insensible to this, and many other facts of the same kind. But the truth is, that your practical reasoners, your matter-offact men are the dullest of all mortals. They are like justices of the peace who are bound to
eceive no evidence unless it is given in upon oath, and who without descending from the bench and forfeiting the dignity of their pretensions cannot attend to any of those general surmises, those obvious sources of information or casual impressions, by which other people arrive at common sense, and human feelings.They shut their eyes to the general face of nature, and trying to grope their way by the help of facts as they call them, wanderlike blind men froin pillar to post, without either guide or object, and are lost in a labyrinth of dates, names, capital letters, numeros, official documents, authenticated copies of lying affidavits, curious records that are nothing to the purpose, registers of births, deaths, marriages, and christenings, voyages and travels.--Mr. Malthus may perhaps mean, when he says that “ the “ sexual passion will remain nearly in its pre“ sent state," that it will remain in the same state in each country. To this I should also assent, if I could agree with him, “ that ever “ since we have had any knowledge of mankind, " the passion of which we are speaking, ap
south pole, that there is the same variation in the quantity and kind of food required by the human stomach in different climates and countries, as there is in the quantity of sexual in... dulgence.
pears to have been a fixed law of our nature, and " that as we have not hitherto seen any al" teration in it, we have no right to conclude " that there will ever be any.” If Mr. Malthus in this passage meant to confine him to the passion or impulse itself, I should not certainly be at much pains to contradict him. But that is not the question. The question relates solely to the irregular indulgence of, or the degree of