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poor, even in the country, than among those of the middling and higher classes. Indeed, it seems difficult to suppose that a labourer's wife who has six children, and who is sometimes in absolute want of bread, should be able always to give them the food and attention necessary to support life. The sons and daughters of peasants will not be found such rosy cherubs in real life, as they are described to be in romances. It cannot fail to be remarked by those who live much in the country, that the sons of labourers are very apt to be stunted in their growth, and are a long while arriving at maturity. Boys that you would guess to be fourteen or fifteen, are upon inquiry, frequently found to be eighteen or nineteen. And the lads who drive plough, which must certainly be a healthy exercise, are very rarely seen with any appearance of calves to their legs ; a cir. cumstance, which can only be attributed to a want either of proper, or of sufficient nourishment.'
To these obstacles to increase of population in all long, occupied countries, he adds the vicious customs with respect to women, great cities, unwholesome manufactures, luxury, pestilence, and war; all of which, he thinks, may be fairly resolved into MISERY and vice. · Having established the existence of these checks on popula. tion, which, originating in vice or misery, must for ever impede the progress of man towards perfection, he applies them to expose the futility of M. Condorcet's system, as delivered in his Essay on the Progress of the Human Mind. Condorcet, indeed, had in some measure anticipated the objection : for he says, as quoted by our author :
« But in this progress of industry and happiness, each generation will be called to more extended enjoyments, and in consequence, by the physical constitution of the human frame, to an increase in the number of individuals. Must not there arrive a period then, when these laws, equally necessary, shall counteract each other? When the increase of the number of men surpassing their means of subsistence, the necessary result must be, either a continual diminution of happiness and population, a movement truly retrograde, or at least, a kind of oscillation between good and evil? In societies ar. rived at this term, will not this oscillation be a constantly subsisting cause of periodical misery? Will it not mark the limit when all fur. ther amelioration will become impossible, and point out that terna to the perfectibility of the human race, which it may reach in the course of ages, but can never pass ?”
• He then adds, - « There is no person who does not see how very distant such a period is from us; but shall we ever arrive at it? It is equally impos. sible to pronounce for or against the future realization of an event, which cannot take place, but at an ära, when the human race will have attained improvements, of which we can at present scarcely form a conception.".
• Mr. * Mr. Condorcet's picture of what may be expected to happen when the number of men shall surpass, the means of their subsistence, is justly drawn. The oscillation which he describes, will certainly take place, and will, without doubt, be a constantly subsisting cause of periodical misery. The only point in which I differ from Mr. Condorcet with regard to this picture, is, the period, when it may be applied to the human race. Mr. Condorcet thinks, that it cannot possibly be applicable, but at an æra extremely distant. If the proportion between the natural increase of population and food, which I have given, be in any degree near the truth, it will appear, on the contrary, that the period when the number of men surpass their means of subsistence, has long since arrived ; and that this necessary oscillation, this constantly subsisting cause of periodical misery, has existed ever since we have had any histories of mankind, does exist at present, and will for ever continue to exist, unless some decided change take place, in the physical constitution of our nature.
• Mr. Condorcet, however, goes on to say, that should the period, whick he conceives to be so distant, ever arrive, the human race, and the advocates for the perfectibility of man, need not be alarmed at it. He then proceeds to remove the difficulty in a manner, which I profess not to understand. Having observed, that the ridiculous prejudiccs of superstition, would by that time have ceased to throw over morals, a corrupt and degrading austerity, he alludes, either to a promiscuous concubinage, which would prevent breeding, or to something else as unnatural. To remove the difficulty in this way, will, surely, in the opinion of most men, be, to destroy that virtue, and purity of manners, which the advocates of equality, and of the perfectibility of man, profess to be the end and object of their views.'
The author now proceeds to examine the other conjectures of Condorcet, concerning the organic perfectibility of man, and the indefinite prolongation of human life; and these he refutes in an ingenious and satisfactory manner, by arguments for which we must refer the reader to the work itself.
Mr. Godwin's system next comes under consideration :-a system, says our author, the most beautiful and engaging that has ever appeared, but yet only a beautiful and engaging phantom, which vanishes when we awaken to real life, and contemplate the true and genuine situation of man on earth.
• Let us suppose,' says our author, all the causes of misery and vice in this island removed. War and contention cease. Uuwhole. some trades and manufactories do not exist. Crowds no longer collect together in great and pestilent cities for purposes of court in. trigue, of commerce, and vicious gratifications. Simple, healthy, and rational amusements take place of drinking, gaming and debauchery. There are no towns sufficiently large to have any prejudicial effects on the human constitution. The greater part of the happy inha. bitants of this terrestrial paradise live in hamlets and farm-houses scattered over the face of the country. Every house is clean, airy,
sufficiently roomy, and in a healthy situation. All men are equal. The labours of luxury are at end. And the necessary labours of agriculture are shared amicably among all. The number of persons, and the produce of the island, we suppose to be the same as at present. The spirit of benevolence, guided by impartial justice, will divide this produce among all the members of the society according to their wants. Though it would be impossible that they should all have animal food, every day, yet vegetable food, with meat occasionally, would satisfy the desires of a frugal people, and would be sufficient to preserve them in health, strength, and spirits.'-
i With these extraordinary encouragements to population, and every cause of depopulation, as we have supposed, removed, the numbers would necessarily increase faster than in any society that has • ever yet been known. But to be quite sure that we do not go beyond the truth, we will only suppose the period of doubling to be twenty-five years, a ratio of increase, which is well known to have taken place throughout all the Northern States of America.
• To answer the demands of a population increasing so rapidly, Mr. Godwin's calculation of half an hour a day for each man, would certainly not be sufficient. It is probable that the half of every man's time must be employed for this purpose. Yet with such, or much greater exertions, a person who is acquainted with the nature of the soil in this country, and who reflects on the fertility of the lands already in cultivation, and the barrenness of those that are not cultivated, will be very much disposed to doubt, whether the whole average produce could possibly be doubled in twenty-five years from the present period. The only chance of success would be the ploughing up all the grazing countries, and putting an end almost entirely to the use of animal food. Yet a part of this scheme might defeat itself. The soil of England will not produce much without dressing; and cattle seem to be necessary to make that species of manure, which best suits the land. In China, it is said, that the soil in some of the provinces is so fertile, as to produce two crops of rice in the year without dressing. None of the lands in England will answer to this description.
Difficult, however, as it might be, to double the average produce of the island in twenty-five years, let us suppose it effected. At the expiration of the first period therefore, the food, though almost entirely vegetable, would be sufficient to support in health, the doubled population of fourteen millions.
During the next period of doubling, where will the food be found to satisfy the importunate demands of the increasing numbers, Where is the fresh land to turn up? where is the dressing necessary to improve that which is already in cultivation? There is no person with the smallest knowledge of land, but would say, that it was im, possible that the average produce of the country could be increased during the second twenty-five years by a quantity equal to what it at present yields. Yet we will suppose this increase, however improbable, to take place. The exuberant strength of the argument allows of almost any concession. Even with this concession, however, there would be seven millions at the expiration of the second term, unpro, 3
vided forA quantity of food equal to the frugal support of twenty, one millions, would be to be divided among twenty-eight millions."
Reasoning in this way, the author proves that, before the end of the first century, there would exist several millions for whom there would be no provision; though, all this time, the yearly increase of the produce of the earth is supposed to be greater than the boldest speculator can imagine. Want, rapine, and murder, he infers, would be páramount through the world ; or Mr. Godwin's system must be given up, and an administration of property established, not very different from that which prevails in civilized states at present; as the best, though inadequate, remedy for the evils which would press on the society. ;
Having thus given a general view of the author's reasoning against the systems of Condorcet and Godwin, our limits will not perniit us to enter into a detail of the arguments by which he refutes their subordinate parts, the supposed extinetion of the passion between the sexes-mental stimulants, &c. &c. We cannot, however, take our leave of this ingenious and respectable writer, and pass in silence some very interesting posie tions which he offers, with great modesty, in the conclusion of his work. They relate to the moral situation of man in this life with respect to a future existence; and he endeavours to prove that it is inconsistent with our ideas of the foreknow lege of God, that man should here be in a state of trial. It is more probable, he thinks, that this life is but a mighty process for awakening matter into mind, and that moral evil is probably necessary to the production of moral excellence. : The agents of moral evil, he conceives to be instruments in the hands of the Deity, for the production of moral good; and the future and eternal punishments denounced against them by revelation, he believes to mean nothing more than a simple annihilation by death, while the agents of moral good shall flourish in immor: tality for ever. We shall give two extracts, in which these opi. nions are exactly stated (p. 351--354 and 388--391): ***
• Infinite power is so vast and incomprehensible an idea; that the mind of man must necessarily be bewildered in the contemplation of it. With the crude and puerile conceptions which we sometimes form of this attribute of the Deity, we might imagine that God could call into being myriad:, and myriads of existences; all free from pain and imperfection ; all eminent in goodness' and wisdom; all capable of the highest enjoyments; and unnumbered as the points throughout infinite space. But when from these vain and extravagant dreams of fancy, we turn our eyes to the book of nature, where alone we can read God as he is, we see a constant succession of sene tient beings, rising apparently from so many specks of matter, going Jhirough a long and sometimes painful process in this world, bus many of them, attaining, ere the termination of it, such high quali.
Lies and powers, as seem to indicate their fitness for some superior state. Ought we not then to correct our crude and puerile ideas of Infinite Power from the contemplation of what we actually see exist. ing? Can we judge of the Creator but from his creation ? And, unless we wish to exalt the power of God at the expence of his good. "ness, ought we not to conclude, that even to the Great Creator, Almighty as he is, a certain process may be necessary, a certain time, (or at least what appears to us as time) may be requisite, in order to form beings with those exalted qualities of mind which will fit them for his high purposes ?
• A state of trial seems to imply a previously formed existence, that does not agree with the appearance of man in infancy, and indicates something like suspicion and want of foreknowledge, incon. sistent with those ideas which we wish to cherish of the Supreme Being. I should be inclined, therefore, as I have hinted before in à note, to consider the world, and this life, as the mighty process of God, not for the trial, but for the creation and formation of mind; a process necessary, to awaken inert, chaotic matter, into spirit; to sublimate the dust of the earth into soul; to elicit an æthereal spark from the clod of clay. And in this view of the subject, the various impressions and excitements which man receives through life, may be considered as the forming hand of his Creator, acting by general Laws, and awakening his sluggish existence, by the animatii g touches of the Divinity, into a capacity of superior enjoyment. The original sin of man, is the torpor and corruption of the chaotic matter, in which he may be said to be born.'
" When we reflect on the temptations to which man niust necessarily be exposed in this world, from the structure of his frame, and the operation of the laws of nature ; and the consequent moral certainty, that many vessels will come out of this mighty creative fur, nace in wrong shapes; it is perfectly impossible to conceive, that any of these creatures of God's hand can be condemned to eternal suffering. Could we once admit such an idea, all our natural con. ceptions of goodness and justice would be completely overthrown ; and we could no longer look up to God as a merciful and righteous Being. But the doctrine of life and immortality which was brought to light by the gospel, the doctrine that the end of righteousness is everlasting life, but that the wages of sin are death, is in every re. spect just and merciful, and worthy of the Great Creator. . Nothing can appear more consonant to our reason, than that those beings which come out of the creative process of the world in lovely and beautiful forms, should be crowned with immortality; while those which come out mis-shapen, those whose minds are not suited to a purer and happier state of existence, should perish, and be condemned to mix again with their original clay. Eternal condemnation of this kind may be considered as a species of eternal punishment; and it is not wonderful that it should be represented, sometimes, under images of suffering. But life and death, salvation and destruction, are more frequently opposed to cach other in the New Testament, than happiness and misery. The Supreme Being would appear to us is a very different view, if we were to consider him as pursuing the