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nexion, not necessary but voluntary, is highly favourable to that benevolence which was truly said to approximate mankind nearest to the divine nature. There is little in the situation of man, which can make us select independence as most congenial to him. For his original and his continued existence, he is indebted to his Creator. For the real comforts and happiness of his life, he must be indebted to his fellow-creatures. All those who, in the crowded scene of civilization, are mainly employed in pursuing their own advantage, can only attain their end, by promoting collaterally the happiness of their neighbour.” Vol. II. P. 92.
But if it be allowed, that inequality of condition is the state best suited to'excite thie industry, and to improve the most valuable faculties of man, we shall have no difficulty in proving that the prin. ' ciple of population necessarily saperinduces inequality. We have shewn the existence of a natural law, which uniformly presses the population against the means of subsistence; and the first effect of this law will be, the division of property. Its second, springing inevitably from the former, will be the division of ranks. For though a tribe, having any common bond of union, might continue to throw the produce of their joint labour together, as long as provisions were abundant, (because, wbile the common store was kept constantly full, it would be of little consequence whether ten shares were subtracted from it, or one ;) yet, as soon as the demand became greater than could be easily supplied, it would be felt to be unreasonable, that one person, with a numerous family, should draw upon the common stock for ten times as large a portion as another, who had contributed án equal sbare of labour. Each family, therefore, would be required, as the only remedy for this inequality, to provide for its own support. But all have not equal skill, nor equally patient industry. Many would resign their share of the soil, and · give up their capital for temporary relief : beggaring themselves, and augmenting the superfluity of their wiser neighbours.
“ In the gradual progress of time the inequality becomes more and more striking, and all the arts of civilization follow in its train. A certain portion of the society being exempted from the necessity of labour, apply to other pursuits; literature is cultivated, genius is excited and encouraged. A chain of innumerable links is formed from the colossal fortunes of the highest rank, to the large and increasing class who are obliged to give their daily labour for their daily subsistence. It is by means of this class that all those works of utility are accomplished, which adorn the beautiful structure of a civilized country, and which, in a healthy state of things, reflect their share of advantage upon the hands that labour in their execution. And it is by a union of all the various classes that the community flourishes in strength an opu
lence; that the arts are every day ministering some new comfort to his wants, or some assistance to his labours; in a word, that the gradual enlargement of the sources of knowledge and improve ment of the human condition takes place, which has been shown to exalt and dignify civilized man.
“ It has thus appeared, from a brief statement of the laws which regulate population, that the instinctive principle which attaches the sexes to one another, and rears a family, keeps the inhabited districts of the world so continually full, as to call into action all their resources, and oblige them to economize the means of subsistence, by making them the reward of individual exertion." Vol. II. P. 129.
“ If, then, the wisdom is to be estimated by the fitness of the design to its purpose, and the habitual exercise of the energies of mankind is allowed to be that purpose, enough has been said to confirm the original proposition. The Deity has provided, that, by the opcration of an instinctive principle in our nature, the human race should be uniformly brought into a state in which they are forced to exert and improve their powers: the lowest rank, to obtain support; the one next in order, to escape from the difficulties immediately beneath it; and all the classes upward, either to keep their level, while they are pressed on each side by rival industry, or to raise themselves above the standard of their birth by useful exertions of their activity, or by successful cultivation · of their natural powers. If, indeed, it were possible, that the stimulus arising from this principle should be suddenly removed, it is not easy to determine, what life would be except a dreary blank, or the world except an uncultivated waste. Every exertion to which civilization can be traced proceeds, directly or indirectly, from its effects; either from the actual desire of having a family, or the pressing obligation of providing for one, or from the necessity of rivalling the efforts produced by the operation of these motives in others.” Vol. II. P. 132.
But there are still other advantageous consequences, which Mr. S. points out, as the collateral benefits derived by the human race from the principle of population.”
“ As human nature now is, the implanted principle which leads to marriage is, mediately or immediately, the source of all effective industry. We have no reason to believe, that the stream would continue to flow, if the source were cut off by which it is visibly supplied. Could a family be supported without labour, the known stimulus to exertion would be removed; energy would be ex: changed for indolence, and the arrival of plenty would be fol. lowed by the stagnation of the human faculties.
“ We see around us a world, under the powerful agency of this incentive ; and whatever may be thought of the weakness or wickedness of mankind, the fairest side of the picture they present is that which their unwearied industry and active intelligence afford.
at the same time, experience does not authorize us to believe that
necessity less urgent than that now existing, would excite their dormant powers, or furnish the appearance of energy we admire. On every side, to whatever age, or rank, or condition we look, an inherent principle of indolence betrays itself, which can only be expelled by the operation of a still more powerful desire.” Vol. II. P. 142.
« Any ordinance which might establish universal plenty, would establisha also universal indolence, and not only arrest civilization in its progress, but force it to retrograde, if it had once advanced. There is reason to believe that this effect has in some peculiar cir. cumstances actually taken place; when a few tribes having left their parent and overpeopled country, and found an unexpected plenty in some new abode, have lived upon that plenty till they have lost the arts of their ancestors, and left their posterity to work out anew, by the slow method of invention, the means of supplying wants or providing comfort *. How soon rude inventions are lost, when the necessity which first struck theni out is removed, may be learnt from the example of the South Sea islanders, some of whom are now in greater distress from the precarious supply of iron they depend upon, than before the visits of Europeans they had experienced from the total want of it.” Vol. II, P. 145.
But the tendency to increase, beyond the means of subsistence afforded by any particular country, leads also to perpetual migrations; to the establishment of colonies sent out by the most civilized states, carrying with them the arts and the improvements of their parent country, and (in modern times) disseminating the blessings of Revelation.
It is one of the most wonderful beauties of this system, as Mr. S. very justly observes, that it adapts itself, without vio. lence, to the various circumstances in which mankind may be placed by the fortune of their birth. Is a man's lot cast in a country, where no opening appears, by filling which he may gratify the natural wish of planting a family around him? Common prudence interferes as a check to the natural desire, and by setting before every individual his own best interests, actually, though perhaps unconsciously, determines the rate in which population shall procced.
« The mind, diverted from one object, turns, without pain or convulsion, to another : it seeks for amusement in the endless
* “ All travellers have observed in North America proofs of evident deterioration, in the traces and remains of useful arts which have been long utterly unknown in that country. The best account of these is now to be found in Ilumboldt's Researches.”
varieties of pursuit which civilized life affords, and devotes the attention which, in another case, would have been paid to a family, to the interests of dignified ambition or literature. In those ages of refinement which oppose obstacles in the way of marriage, many, like Epaminondas, have left a posterity behind them in the victories they have achieved, not, indeed, over their fellow-men, but over the difficulties of natural and moral science ; victories which might never have been gained, but for the circumstances which diverted their attention from the common concerns of ordinary life. 'This applies to educated minds. In the inferior ranks, a man sees his prospect fairly placed before him. If he chooses, as it is usually better he should, in preference to ease and freedom from care, the comforts of domestic enjoyment and affec. tionate intercourse, he knows that he must pay for those comforts in his labour. And thus his labour has a perpetual stimulus, and a daily reward. Without labour, nature gives nothing any where. A man born into a country already fully occupied, is possessed of many advantages; but those advantages certainly demand from him in return, severe and constant exertion, if he claims to himself the peculiar privilege of a young society, that of having a family in early life, together with the comforts attending a state of advanced civilization.
• But, on the other hand, is a country unexpectedly discovered, in which there is abundance of unappropriated land, af. fording a fair prospect of support and improvement of their condition to new adventurers? There are many prepared to embrace the prospect, and, dissatisfied with the reward their labour can attain at home, to transfer their exertions and aftections to an adopted land. And there is already, in human nature, an inherent principle, which, now freed from prudential restraints, in a short period will people the vacant space with intelligent existence, with millions of beings possessed of all the improvable faculties which distinguish mankind, and heirs to all the hopes which religion opens to our view,
« Thus, when population has answered its purpose, and it becomes expedient that it should be checked for a while, the forescen difficulty of procuring support retards it, silently, but effectually. And if the expedience lies the otlıer way, there is a natural power at hand, by which the advantage attained by civilization in one country, is quickly communicated to another.
“ It appears, then, that the principle of population, prescribed by the Deity as an instrument for peopling the world with a successive stock of intelligent inhabitants, and keeping it in that state which was most agreeable to his plan in its formation, not only fills, but civilizes the globe, and contains in itself a provision for diffusing the beneficial effects which it originally generates. To trace the power of such a principle, and to discover, on inquiry, that an objcct so extensive as the replenishment and civilization of the globe is accomplished by the silent operation of a single natural
law, empowers us to pronounce that the designs of the Creator are carried into execution with infinite wisdom. Neither should it be forgotten, that the law itself, by which these ends are attained, is neither harsh nor coercive, but forms an important part of our earthly happiness: it is not written in characters of severity, but promulgated by the gentle voice of persuasion. The first fruit of that instinctive principle which terminates in the results we have deduced and contemplated, is the passion of love; whichi, among the most rational and improved part of mankind, refines, chastens, and animates the soul; encourages the noblest exertions, and inspires the sublimest sentiments. Even in lower stages of civilization, love has been found to cherish feelings elevated far above the general standard, to soften the severity of pastoral habits, and disarm the ferocity of the conqueror. Among the rude and uneducated classes, the principle of which I have traced the effects, is both the source and the pledge of domestic union: and by the • charities of father, son, and brother,' which it introduces, affords a voluntary support to the imbecility of the weaker sex, and to the helpless condition of infancy and childhood.” P. 167.
We have been profuse in our extracts from this portion of Mr. Sumner's work, because its novelty was likely to interest our readers. The final cause of the universal law of increase, had been suggested by Mr. Malthus, when he laid before the public the detail of facts, by which he proved the existence of the law itself. But Mr. Sumner, whilst he candidly refers the discovery to Mr. M., has been the first to develope, in its full extent, the addition which this discovery afforded to the proofs of the comprehensive and infinite wisdom of the Creator. Whilst some had considered this tendency of the population to press upon the means of subsistence, as an anomaly in the system of the divine administration; as a provision for entailing upon mankind much laborious poverty and wretched indigence; Mr. Sumner has endeavoured, and we hope successfully, “ to vindicate the ways of God to man,” by proving,
“ That it is, in fact, the mighty instrument which, operating constantly and uniformly, keeps our world in that state which is most agreeable to the designs of the creation, and renders mankind the spontaneous instruments of their maker, 'in filling and civilizing the habitable globe.” Sumner, vol. 1. p. 175.
Mr. Sumner proceeds to examine the proofs of a benevolent design in the Creator, and the objections which have been raised, by modern sceptics, from the existence of evil. The question, why we actually find so great a proportion of natural and moral evil existing amidst the works of a Being, in whom omniscience and omnipotence are united with infinite goodness, is a question Kk
which VOL. VI. NOVEMBER, 1816.