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husbandman and labourer “the exclusive charge of propagating the species.” Notwithstanding these “ excessive checks," however, Mr. Malthus very gravely says, “ Population is kept up to the level of subsistence, and this is confirmed by the number of beggars in Lestoo Loomboo*." So that moral and immoral cohabitation, celibacy and marriage, early marriage and late, go alike to demonstrate the truth of this writer's theory. Let him imagine so, if he will; but we stoutly protest against some of the worst vices of our species being thus exhibited, as productive of any kind of political good, which is assuredly the air they assume in the narrative before us.
South America next attracts Mr. Godwin's attention. All the original discoverers speak of the swarms of human beings that were found crowding the shores of Mexico and Peru, when on those fine countries was first inflicted the curse of an European visit. Peru, in particular, presented the most extraordinary union of an extended civilization and population which any speculator on these topics could desire to examine. The soil was divided into three equal portions, one of which was devoted to the maintenance of religion, one to the service of the government, and the remaining third to the wants of the people. The public authority regulated the quantity of land that was always to be kept in cultivation, the government was at once rigid in its outlines, and mild in its administration; and the picture drawn by Robertson, and all the historians of this part of the globe, of the inhabitants proceeding to their occupations with music and songs, will ever retain its mournful interest on the philanthropic mind.
Las Casas has asserted, that in fifty years the inhabitants of Hispaniola were reduced from 3,000,000 to 200! Then, indeed, according to Robertson, the Spanish court awoke to the necessity of a total change in her administration of the affairs of these colonies; lest, “ instead of possessing countries peopled to such a degree as to be susceptible of progressive improvement, Spain should soon remain proprietor only of a vast uninhabited desert.”. A code of law's was accordingly formed, in which the security, preservation, and happiness of the original inhabitants-were very deeply considered; hospitals were erected in all the large towns of the coast; and it was expressly ordered, that no male native should be suffered to remain unmarried after the age of
Essay, vol. i. pp. 283–289. VOL. III.-30.5.
fifteen, and no female after thirteen. These laws have now been in force upwards of two centuries and a half; but the native races are well known to be everywhere declining. Such is the difficulty of keeping up a population, even in the most favoured countries, for purposes that never originated with Providence. The history of Paraguay confirms this remark. The Jesuits endeavoured in every way to reinvigorate the native races of that country from 1610 to 1767, and the observations of the Abbé Raynal on their measures, are strictly within the line of our investigation.
“ It might be expected that mankind would have most extraordinarily multiplied themselves, under a government where no individual was idle, and none were destroyed by excessive labour; where the nourishment was wholesome, abundant, and equally distributed to all; where all were fully supplied with necessary clothing; where old men, widows, orphans, and the sick, were tended with a care unknown to the rest of the world; where every one married of choice, and without motives of interest; where a numerous family of children was a consolation, without the possibility of being a burden; where a debauchery inseparable from idleness, and which assails equally the rich and poor,
hastened the approach of infirmities or old age; where nothing occurred to excite the artificial passions, or to oppose those which are conformable to nature and reason; where the advantages of commerce were reaped, without bringing in their train the vices of luxury; where abundant magazines and succours mutually communicated from tribe to tribe, insured them against famine and the inconstancy of the seasons; where the administrators of justice between man and man, were never reduced to the sad necessity of condemning one individual to death, to disgrace, or to any punishment but what was momentary; where taxes and law-suits, two of the greatest sources of affliction to the human race, were utterly. unknown : such a country, I say, might have been expected to prove the most populous on the face of the earth. It was not so*."
To turn to the ancient world, Sparta perished, according to Aristotle (De Polit. lib. i. c. 7.), not by any single and particular calamity, but “ through the diminution of its numbers.” Here then is another case worthy 'the attentive consideration of the disciples of the Essay. Was marriage encouraged here? Yes. To neglect it, according to Plutarch, was rendered infamous by law. Was poverty stigmatized, or any class of citizens discouraged from having a family? On the contrary, all children were regarded as the offspring of the state, and the land we know was distributed,
* Ilist. des Deux Indes, liv, viii.
and the laws provided for its being kept in an equal distribution to all families. With a view to encourage population, even the females of his country were subject to particular regulations by its great legislator. “ First of all,” says Plutarch, “ Lycurgus willed that the maidens should harden their bodies with exercise of running, wrestling, throwing the lance, and casting the dart; to the end that the fruite wherewith they might be afterwards conceived, taking nourishment of a strong and lustie body, should shoot out and spreede the better; and, that they, by gathering strength thus by exercises, should more easily away with the paines of child-bearing." -(North's Translation. The institutions by which Lycurgus thus established his name and country were in being for five centuries ; and his biographer attributes the ruin of the city to a departure from them, and the introduction of “ Athenian gold and silver...!
The history of Rome presents us with the first series of documents in the shape of population tables; and though some doubt will always, perhaps, be entertained as to what class of citizens the numbers represent, the various and progressive changes in the population of the “ eternal city,
” will be established by them. Beginning with the first census made by Servius Tullius, Mr. Godwin gleans the following lustrations from Livy :A. U.
Lustrum. Population. 219.
: 150,000 Here again marriage was to the utmost degree encouraged; the citizen who had thus connected himself had certain privileges above the unmarried man; he who had offspring still more; and he who had the greatest number of children was most eligible to public offices, and attained a priority in the exercise of them. Yet never did senate, or sage, dream of the gross error upon which, according to Mr. Malthus, they were acting; for in no respect could they have felt alarmed on the score of increase, by the figures of the foregoing table; and it is to be remembered, that we have no equally extended table of population in the history of the world.
These facts occupy the attention of Mr. Godwin to the end of the eleventh chapter of his first book. In the twelfth he offers a few considerations on the multiplication of inferior animals; and suggests, that we have no reason to suppose the animal world more numerous than it was 3000, or (putting revelation out of the question, and supposing the world to have subsisted so long) 30,000 years ago. On the other hand, we know certain species of animals to have perished. We read of the unicorn, the leviathan, the behemoth, the mammuth, and many others; and of some of these, skeletons, in whole or in part, subsist to this day. What animal,” inquires our author," was to prey on the mammuth, or to keep down the enormous multiplication of his species, by making use of him for food ? If Mr. Malthus's system were true, the earth, long ere this, ought to have been a habitation for mammuths only.” [p. 95.) We imagine that this hint respecting the multiplication of the inferior animals, is worth pursuing to a considerable extent. Their instincts are, at any rate, as unrestrained by "moral" considerations, as those of man. Few of them are so long in arriving at maturity as the human female — so long in gestation, or breed so few of their kind. How, then, is the nicely-balanced order of the great and the minute, the numbers of those that serve for food, and of those who are fed, kept up amongst them? The question bears upon the doctrine of human subsistence, too, in this way. Those animals that constitute a large supply of human food, the sheep, the goat, and the ox, for instance, multiply so exceedingly fast in comparison with
man, that were a single pair of breeders, of each sort, to be set apart, and the progress of the numbers produced from them marked, from the birth of a child to his maturity, he would be surrounded by flocks and herds of no small size and account; and surely the abstract calculation of the possible multiplication of human beings, by procreation, may be fairly met by the consideration of a similar possibility with regard to these important supplies.
The thirteenth chapter presents us with those “Views of Man and Society," which the author conceives to result from the foregoing facts. At the head of these he places the beautiful language of the sacred Penman in the viji. and cxxxix. Psalms; and afterwards quotes, in the same spirit, the cxxvii. and cxxxviii. Psalms; the language of Augustus, that it was “the men of Rome who constituted the city ;" and Sir Richard Steele's fine picture of the father of a large family, in the Spectator-“ more proud of having been the occasion of ten such glorious productions, than if he had built a pyramid at his own expense.”
“ How refreshing is this!" exclaims Mr. Godwin; “it is a return to nature and human feelings : it is in the nature of a letter of license, permitting man to be man, allowing him to enlarge himself, and to spread into all the ramifications of social existence. Let not the system of the universe be calumniated! There is a sublime harmony between man as an individual, and man, collectively considered. Private and public feelings, our love of ourselves, and of all that is nearest to us, and our love of our country and our species, all operate to the same end. The interests of the one and of the other, through the whole extent of their great outline, coincide. For twenty years the heart of man, in this Jand, has been hardening, through the theories of Mr. Malthus. What permanent effect this
upon the English character, I know not : but I am sure it is high time it should be stopped, We were learning - to look askance, and, with a suspicious eye, upon a human being, particularly on a little child. A woman walking the streets in a state of pregnancy, was an unavoidable subject of alarm. A man who was the father of a numerous family, if in the lower orders of society, was the object of our anger. We could not look at a human being with the eye of a painter, as a delicious object of contemplation ; — with the eye of a moral philosopher, as a machine capable of adorning the earth with magnificence and beauty; or with the eye of a divine, as a creature with a soul to be saved, and destined to the happiness of an immortal existence.” (pp. 110, F11.]
Mr. Godwin's second book proposes to enter more scientifically into the law of our nature respecting the increase