« ForrigeFortsæt »
believe that the pressure in question occasioned premature mortality in every old country with which we are acquainted.
“ The cause of this pressure I thought might be described by saying that the human race had a tendency to increase faster than food ; and I own it appears to me, that in this position, which it was the great object of my work to prove, not only is the term tendency applied in its most natural and ordinary sense, but it conveys a more instructive and useful meaning than the one which you would substitute for it, namely, that food has a tendency to increase faster than population ; a position which, without further explanation, seems to convey an incorrect impression of the laws which regulate the increase of the human
“Your reasons for adopting this position are, first, because you consider. it as a fact, that population has generally so increased ; and, secondly, because you consider the desire of bettering our condition to be as natural a wish as the desire of marriage.
Your first reason rests upon the assumption of a fact, which by no means admits of being stated so generally as you have stated it, as will be shown presently; and it is obvious that a partial relief from a pressure does not imply that a tendency to press is overcome. In regard to your second reason, it appears to me that the desire of bettering our condition, as far as it affects the direct increase of food, is perfectly feeble compared with the tendency of population to increase. The most intense desire of bettering our condition can do nothing towards making food permanently increase, at the rate at which population is always ready to increase; and, in fact, this desire, in reference to the increase of food, operates in a very trifling degree upon the great mass of the labouring classes. They are not the persons who accumulate farming capital, and employ it in agricultural improvements and the increase of subsistence. In this respect they are almost entirely passive. In another respect, indeed, they are most powerful. Though they cannot much accelerate the increase of food, they are the only body of people who can essentially retard the increase of population. But as this cannot be effected without restraint and self-denial, to which there is certainly a much less tendency than to marriage, the practical result is such as might be expected, namely, that although this restraint and self-denial may prevent more misery and vice at one period than at another; though they are more often efficient in civilized and populous countries than in ignorant and thinly-peopled countries, and though we may hope that they will become still more efficient as knowledge advances, yet, as far as we can judge from history, there never has been a period of any considerable length when premature mortality and vice, specifically arising from the pressure of population against food, has not prevailed to a considerable extent; nor, admiting the possibility, or even the probability of these evils being diminished, is there any rational prospect of a near approach to their entire removal*.”
After this Mr. Malthus notices in detail a variety of facts, demonstrating that the relative increase of food and of population has not been such as to warrant the statement of Mr. Senior; and, towards the conclusion of his letter, proceeds thus :
* Appendix, p. 61.
“ The rate at which social improvement proceeds, does not depend exclusively upon the rate at which subsistence can be made to increase faster than population. I look forward to the possibility, and even the probability, of the labouring classes of society being altogether in a better situation than they are now, when the means of a further increase of food shall be nearly exhausted, and both subsistence and population shall have come nearly to a stand. But it is obvious that if this improvement should be accomplished, it cannot be by exertions to increase food, but by the moral restraint which will diminish the misery and vice constantly occasioned by the tendency of population to press against subsistence. Consequently, in discussing our future prospects of social improvement, it cannot but lead to error to lay down positions calculated to direct the attention towards means which must of necessity be inefficient, while the nature of the difficulty to be contended with, and the only efficient means of contending with it successfully, and of improving the condition of society, are kept in the back ground. Your position, that food has a tendency to increase faster than population, appears to me to be open to this objection, and, therefore, I cannot approve of it. *"
No comment needs be added to this judicious and instructive reply. At the same time it may be observed that Mr. Senior's position admits of being less ceremoniously dealt with. When the tendencies of food and of population to increase, respectively, are put in opposition, there is an incongruity in the comparison which Mr. Malthus has not adverted to. In as far as by the tendency of food to increase is meant the capacity of the soil to produce the statement of Mr. Malthus, as has been already shown, is demonstratively correct. The statement meant to be made in the proposition of Mr. Senior must therefore be be—"that the desire of bettering our condition has a greater influence in producing food, than the desire of marriage has in producing consumers." Now, when put into this,-its proper shape—the statement still exhibits much looseness of thought ;-inasmuch as it assumes that the production of food results solely from the desire of bettering our condition ; whereas it can be regarded as the result of this desire only in an indirect and very partial sense: and inasmuch as it does not take into account that if the production of food did mainly result from the existence of this desire, the more actively this desire played its part amidst the round of human operations, the more palpably would it aid, instead of restraining, the influence of the other desire :-whereas it is implied in Mr. Senior's statement that, to some extent at least, the desire of marriage would thus be counteracted.
It is indeed sufficiently obvious how, in any given country, population may at one time outstep the means of comfortable subsistence, and how, at another, a superabundant supply of food may exist. But in order to pronounce whether, as mankind advances in social improvement, the higher ratio of increase is on the side of food or of population, it is necessary to trace their connexion and progress from the earliest states of society. It is, in the first place, of course the existence of population which renders the production of food necessary; and it is the necessity of further production which demands fresh labour and
* Appendix, p. 71.
gives birth to ingenuity in raising the requisite supplies. This growing ingenuity, joined with an occasional year of plenty, raises from
time to time a superabundant quantity of food. This superabundance of subsistence has the immediate tendency to raise the standard of enjoyment among the people, and at the same time to give an additional impulse to the principle of population. There is hence created a further necessity for increased cultivation ; and another period of superabundance is followed by similar effects. And thus it is, that, in the progress of society, the rate of increase in the production of food must appear to be always shooting a head of the rate of increase in the population, till all the best soils are taken into cultivation. But in this progress it is plain that the appropriate cause of the extension of agricultural labour, at any given time, is the necessity of supporting an increasing population, so as to keep up the standard of enjoyment then existing; and that the desire of bettering our condition, in as far as it may have an effect in merely augmenting the means of subsistence, has a manifest tendency to increase population further. The increasing rate of agricultural produce, in as far as it depends on human labour, results from the establishment among the population of a higher standard of enjoyment, in consequence of the superabundant supplies of a former period. Unquestionably, therefore, in the progress of society, there is a manifest tendency to the progressive augmentation of agricultural produce, which will be finally stopped, only when all the best soils have been brought under cultivation. But this augmentation, instead of affording evidence to mankind of the existence of an indefinitely increasing fund for their maintenance, gives them a double assurance that, but for preventive causes, the existing fund must speedily reach its utmost limit of increase : this double assurance arising, of course, from the continual tendency of the best soils to exhaustion, according as cultivation extends ; and from the necessary effect which an augmentation of agricultural produce has in giving additional impulse to the principle of population.
It thus appears that, in as far as the desire of bettering our condition operates in augmenting the means of subsistence, it must afford facilities for the indulgence of the desire of marriage. And it is hence evident, further, that the only way in which this desire can operate in influencing directly the comparative rate of increase of population and food, is by adding force to that moral restraint upon the desire of marriage, which would be unnecessary but for the constant pressure of population against the means of subsistence.
We are afraid, therefore, that in thus having attempted to controvert the view taken by Mr. Malthus, of the tendency of population to increase beyond the means of subsistence, Mr. Senior is not likely, by the publication of these Lectures, to add much to his reputation as an accurate reasoner or sound economist. At the same time, he merits all praise for the frankness with which, in his correspondence, he has yielded assent to the superior accuracy of Mr. Malthus's phraseology ; and for the uniform spirit of philanthropy which he exhibits in common with that eminent writer, in making it the professed aim of his speculations, to limit the influence of poverty and misery åmong the lower orders, and to ameliorate the condition of all ranks of society.
THE CHOSEN ONE. “ Here's a long line of beauties —see !
Aye, and as varied as they're manySay, can I guess the one would be
Your choice among them all—if any ?" “I doubt it,-for I hold as dust
Charms many praise beyond all measureWhile gems they treat as lightly, must
Combine to form my chosen treasure.” “ Will this do?""No;—that hair of gold,
That brow of snow, that eye of splendour, Cannot redeem the mien so cold,
The air so stiff, so quite un-tender." “This then?"_" Far worse! Can lips like these
Thus smile as though they asked the kiss ?-Thinks she that e'en such eyes can please,
Beaming—there is no word-like this 2" “Look on that singer at the harp,
Of her you cannot speak thus-ah, no!" - -“Her! 'why she's formed of flat and sharp
I doubt not she's a fine soprano!" “ The next ?"-"What, she who lowers her eyes
From sheer mock-modesty—so pert, So doubtful-mannered ?-I despise
Her, and all like her-she's a Flirt ! And this is why my spleen's above
The power of words ;- 'tis that they can Make the vile Semblance be to Love
Just what the Monkey is to Man!
One very different from these-
Completed by the touch of Ease!
Breathe Nature's own true gaietySo sweet, so rare when thus, that I
Gaze on't with joy, nay ecstacy! For when 'tis thus, you'll also see
That eye still richer gifts expressAnd on that lip there oft will be
A sighing smile of tenderness! Yes! here a matchless spirit dwells
E'en for that lovely dwelling fit! I gaze on her—my bosom swells
With feelings, thoughts, -oh! exquisite !
So fair, so delicate, so dear,
-Ah, yes,-my Chosen One is here !"
4. THE REVIEWS OF THE QUARTER.
As usual, May has been as prodigal of both her bright and dingy crops of criticism, as of “the yellow cowslip and the pale primrose." It is some time since she threw “from her green lap” the Quarterly and the Westminster; the North American, borne by the zephyrs, has already found out our shore; and here at last is our old friend, the Edinburgh, all over as azure as the most learned stocking that ever encased fair limb, save only for that tawney stripe, which may be likened to a golden garter pendant from the same. We have no time, however, to spend more words on the mere outside show of this flush of new-blown flowers, meaning as we do rather to rifle their leaves, and, after the manner of the bee, to search for what honey we can find within, that we may treasure up a portion of it for our gentle readers. In other words, if shall be deemed no act of insubordination in the republic of letters, we would presume to attempt something like a review of our Reviews, which, after all, are but the productions of fallible humanity, even as other books are, and have therefore no good claim to exemption, that we can see, from what is now-a-days the universal lot of letter-press. Without further preface or apology, then, we take up the Quarterly, and commence our survey with article first.
This is a capital paper (by Southey, evidently) on the subject that, next to the Catholic Question, has, for the last twelve months, given most occupation to periodical goose-quills—even the life and writings of the late Dr. Parr. The present article is incomparably the best thing the Reverend Doctor has produced since he died, and is worth ninetenths of all the world ever received from him while alive. It must not be said that the man has lived in vain to whom we owe any thing so good as this. It is a sample of its writer's happiest manner- -easy, flowing, and animated in style, like the talk of one who has got hold of a subject that he likes, variegated with curious and apposite illustration, which is made to play upon the narrative like prismatic light, and altogether a delightful piece of literary gossip. There is no writer of the day, not even Sir Walter himself, who can do this sort of work so well as Southey. We do love that tone, not of earnestness, or any thing in the least degree like it, but yet of perfect possession by the spirit of his theme, and delight in the developement of its minutest minutiæ, which pervades the Laureat's disserting, when with a text to handle of which he feels himself to be master (so that it be not theological) he has also
ample room and verge enough” to pour over it a literal allowance from his inexhaustible cornucopia of anecdote and fragmentary lore. How gaily, and often how elegantly does he garland it all over with sprigs and blossoms plucked from the whole field of the omne scibile ! He is no thinker-he cannot reason, and seldom attempts to do so. As his knowledge is all odds and ends, the mere tips gathered from the sproutings of science and literature, so his mind seems to have no power of producing any thing save single and seedless fancies, which, however beautiful to look upon, or skilfully disposed so as to produce JUNE, 1829.