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* fects do, which, like some of the insects that .
people the air, elude our grosser perceptions.
It will be sufficient to ask in answer to this passage, whether when I give away my money to another, I do not necessarily retrench the quantity of food or other things consumed in my own house, and give him what I have cut off. I give him a title to a larger share of the common produce by diminishing my own share. It does not matter to the community whether he or I spend the money: the only difference that it makes is between ourselves.- Mr. Malthus seems to have a notion that the rich are never the worse for their charities.
“ Supposing the quantity of food in any country, “ to remain the same for many years together, it “ is evident, that this food must be divided according “ to the value of each man's patent, or the sum of
money which he can afford to spend in this com
modity so universally in request. It is a demon“ strative truth, therefore, that the patents of one “ set of men could not be increased in value, with, out diminishing the value of the patents of some
other set of men.”
At any rate, then, the poor would be enabled to contend with the rich. The increased value of the patents of the poor would necessarily diminish the value of the patents of the rich. In order to outbid them, they must make some other sacrifices, which they will not always be willing to do. Food to the rich
is in a great measure an article of luxury: to the poot it is a necessary; and the one, about which they are chiefly concerned. Many a petit-maitre, and ape of fashion goes without his dinner to pay for his coat, or go to the play," where he picks clean teeth," &c.
“ No person, I believe, will venture to doubt, that, " if we were to give three additional shillings a day
to every labouring man in the kingdom, as I before supposed, in order that he might have meat for his dinner, the price of meat would rise in the most rapid and unexampled manner.
Mr. Malthus here creeps on.
He first spoke of a number of individuals as having a certain sum given them. He now includes every labouring man in the kingdom. Because if we were to give five shillings a day to five hundred thousand men, the remaining five hundred thousand might be the worse for it, therefore he would have us suppose that the same or greater mischiefs would follow from giving the same sum to the whole number, or in fact from doing away that very inequality, which was the only source of the mischief. To suppose that we can allow five shillings a-day to five hundred, or ten hundred thousand people without retrenching from our own superfluities, or that we can distribute our own patents among others without diminishing our own number, is one of those perversities which I shall not attempt to ana swer. If the labourer with his three shillings extra is only able to purchase an ounce of meat, this will "be an advantage to him. · Let the rise be what it will, the rich man will evidently be less able to out-bid him than he is at present, and the rise can only be in
proportion to his capacity to out-bid him. Besides, it is not to be supposed that his additional gains would all be laid out in meat, but in articles of trade, &c. which would be rendered cheaper by the neglect of the rich, or in proportion to the run upon provisions. To assert generally that increasing the wages of the poor does not give them a greater command over the necessaries of life, is as much as to say that if they were forced to work for nothing, and could get nothing to eat, this would lower the markets, and they would be much better off than they were before. It would be looked upan as an insult, rather than a consolation, to tell them that they ought to be contented with the cheapness of provisions, and to consider that allowing them any thing for their labour, would only raise the price of meat by enabling them to buy some of it to satisfy their hunger.
How things being cheap or dear, or how there being much or little to spare, proves that that much, or little will not be divided according to the ability of different people to pay for it, is beyond my comprehension. It is ridiculous. It is saying that the money of a poor man will not pass, even when he has it. If the poor in consequence of having more money, or being richer could not draw to themselves a greater portion of food, there could be no room for competition, nor for an increase in the price or the demand.
“ The poor who were assisted by their parishes had no reason whatever to complain of the high price of grain ; because it was the excessiveness of this price, and this alone, which, by enforcing such
“ a saving, left a greater quantity of corn, for the con
sumption of the lowest classes, which corn, the pa“ rish allowances enabled them to command.” [Yet Mr. Malthus has just tried to persuade us, that the increased price of provisions, occasioned by the com. petition of the poor, does not enforce any retrenchment of the superfluities of the higher classes, or leave a greater quantity of corn, for the consumption of the lower classes]. “ The greatest sufferers in the “ scarcity were undoubtedly the classes immediately “ above the poor; and these were in the most marked “ manner depressed by the excessive bounties given “ to those below them." [It is better that these classes should be depressed than those below them, because they can bear it better.
Is it an argument that because the pressure of a scarcity does not fall directly upon those who can bear it best, viz. the very rich, that it should therefore fall upon those, who can bear it least, viz. on the very poor? Unless Mr. Malthus can contrive to starve 'some one, he thinks he does nothing.) “ This distribution by giving to the
poorer classes a command of food, so much greater " than their degree of skill and industry entitled “ them to, in the actual circumstances of the country, “ diminished, exactly in the same proportion, that “ command over the necessaries of life, which the " classes above them, by their superior skill and in“ dustry, would naturally possess." [Is a man then to starve on account of his want of skill? To tack industry to skill as if the lowest classes did not work the hardest is impudence indeed].
" And it
be a question, whether the degree of assistance which
" the poor received, and which prevented them from “ resorting to the use of those substitutes, which, in
every other country, on such occasions, the great “ law of necessity teaches, was not more than over“ balanced by the severity of the pressure on so
large a body of people from the extreme high prices, and the permanent evil which must result from forcing so many persons on the parish, who before thought themselves almost out of the reach of
It is a contradiction to say, that the poor were forced on the parish by the assistance they received from it. If they were to be denied this assistance from a tender regard for their morals and independence, it is a pity that the same disinterested motives, joined to the “severe pressure" of the high prices on the classes above the poor, did not induce some of them to condescend to the use of those cheap and wholesome substitutes recommended by Mr. Malthus, by which means they would have saved their own pockets, and not have “ forced so many persons on the parish."
“ If we were to double the fortunes of all those “ who possess above a hundred a year, the effect on “ the price of grain would be slow and inconsidera. “ ble; but if we were to double the price of labour
throughout the kingdom, the effect, in raising the price of grain, would be rapid and great.”
I do not see the harm of this rise. It would be in consequence of, and would denote the number of bellies that were filled that had not been filled before.