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system, the want of roads and means of communication, the celibacy of the priests and nuns, the slavery of the common people, and some other depopulating causes, could oppose to increase, was prevalent during this period.
The next period brought under review by Mr. Place is from 1339 to 1485, during which there happened severe and destructive wars, and the great plague of 1348. Notwithstanding which it appears by tables quoted from Mr. Chalmers, that the population in 1377 was 2,353,203. Whether, at the close of the civil wars in 1485, the population was reduced somewhat below its amount in 1339, is not of much consequence : since if it were, there are causes sufficient to account for the reduction without abandoning the doctrine of the power of increase.
The ensuing period embraces the interval between the accession of Henry VII. 1485 and the Revolution in 1688. Mr. Place thinks many parts of this interval were less unfavourable to population than those years which preceded it, and adduces sundry facts in support of his opinion : p. 220. The reign of Charles I. and subsequent years were highly discouraging to increase; but Mr. Place does not grant that it was retarded.
We are conducted, finally, to the consideration of the period ex- . tending from 1668 down to this present time; and the causes which have operated upon the increase of the population are distinctly, and we think, forcibly stated. The cessation of the great plague (which happened in 1665), the discontinuance of celibacy by the monks and nuns, the absence of civil wars, the diffusion of wealth over a larger surface, and the accumulation of capital, concurred in affording ample encouragement to the principle of population. Then follows a lengthened dissertation on the debated point; Mr. Godwin always maintaining the decrease, and propping up his theory with Dr. Price, whose alarms concerning the decline of the numbers of man are truly contemptible. Mr. Godwin denies the fidelity of the returns as exhibited in the two census's of 1801 and 1811 of the British population, which were
in 1801 10,942,646
shewing an increase of 1,654,157 He says, the enumeration of 1801 was below the truth, from the motives to concealment which acted upon the males at that time. This deduction he thinks amounted to a number which Mr. Place shews to be equal to one half of the males between 20 and 60 years of age. Mr. Place admits that some effect might have been produced by this concealment upon the returns, but observes, that
“ Had it operated to a very great extent, the number of females would have greatly exceeded that of the males, which was not the case, the excess of females in England, Wales, and Scotland, being only 42,062." The number of houses (inhabited) were, by the returns to parliament
1,870,476 in 1811
Increase of houses ...
* Estimate, p. 12.
P. 254, et seq:
“ The causes which have been noticed, as tending in some degree to make the returns in 1801 rather lower than they ought to have been, can none of them be assigned for the concealment of houses : and yet to make Mr. Godwin's argument worth
any thing, upwards of 200,000 houses must have been concealed.”—Place, p. 240, 241.
Mr. Place then exposes the unfair use made of Mr. Rickman's tables by Mr. Godwin, and closes the seventh chapter with a pretty complete proof of the greater rapidity of increase in the English population than in the Swedish.
The eighth chapter treats of the improvement in the value of life, which has taken place in England within the last sixty years, and which the testimony of several documents, together with the opinion of some respectable writers, seems to warrant Mr. Place in advancing. The actuaries of the principal life-insurances of the metropolis confirm the fact ; and Mr. Place has not neglected to bring forward many material facts in corroboration of the decreased mortality of this kingdom, especially in the great towns.
The ninth chapter gives a short but comprehensive sketch of the condition of the people in Ireland as influenced by the fluctuation of the means of subsistence. The case of Ireland offers a striking illustration of the connexion between an increased population and the increase of subsistence. There the spade cultivation enabling the poor to produce potatoes readily, the population multiplies up to the provision; insomuch that, when a bad crop happens and the means of subsistence fall short, the seed potatoes are consumed. Of course the poverty and disease that ensue destroy large numbers, and so relieve the pressure against the means of subsistence, for a while; but the evil returns, and ever will return, unless means be devised for maintaining, more equality betwixt the population and the capital. The inspectors appointed to examine and report upon the condition of the people in Ireland after the fever in 1816, 1817, and 1818, all concurred in ascribing the disease and its mortality to bad nourishment in consequénce of the failure of the potatoe crops. They likewise observed. that the population had been rapidly increasing.
As this increase was encouraged, not by an augmentation of capital, but by the facility of raising just enough by the labour of the peasant to maintain himself and family upon potatoes in an average year ; so the disappointment of the return to this labour in the event of a deficient crop naturally engendered want and famine.
The suggestion of Mr. Godwin, relative to spade cultivation, would have the effect of encouraging population in proportion to the facility of proçuring present subsistence. But as the production of mere labourers would not accumulate, but be applied to the immediate support of their families, food would not be provided as fast as children would come into the world, and an unpropitious season might bring utter starvation to the miserable victims of this precarious mode of life. Mr. Place lays down the fundamental principles of political economy in opposition to this doctrine, and enforces them with a passage quoted from the author of “ The History of British India,"* than which, no
* Article “ Colony" in the Supplement to the Encyclopedia Britannica,
thing can be more explanatory of the effects of stimulating the production of food to the exclusion of all other commodities.
Considering the suggestion of spade cultivation therefore as pernicious, or at least unprofitable, and nowise adapted to ameliorate the condition of the working classes, some other means of averting the desolating evils of vice and misery, or, which is the same thing, placing the bulk of the people in a better condition, must be sought. To this end it should be distinctly understood, that wherever a large proportion of the lower or labouring classes suffer from extreme poverty, it is because there exists a greater quantity of persons dependant for subsistence on labour than the capital of the country is capable of employing. That in order to procure to the labouring classes a tolerable share of the produce of the country, the competition for employment must be diminished, for it is impracticable to attempt forcing the accumulation of capital so as to keep pace with population.
This adjustment of labour to the capital which is to set it in motion, constitutes then the chief remedy by which the baneful effects of a redundant, and consequently impoverished, population can be averted. The mode in which this remedy shall be brought to bear with most efficacy, forms the subject of consideration in the sixth chapter of Mr. Place's book, section 2d.
In the foregoing remarks we have endeavoured to state the main points on which Mr. Place meets Mr. Godwin, and in our opinion refutes him. On the means for preventing superabundant population, which our author has suggested, we decline entering for the present.
THE SPECTRE BOAT, A BALLAD.
BY T. CAMPBELL.
Light rued false Ferdinand, to leave a lovely maid forlorn,
To the Editor of the New Monthly Magazine. ON GARRICK'S DELIVERY OF A PASSAGE IN SHAKSPEARE.
Sır,-As any thing which tends to throw a striking light on the spirit of one of Shakspeare's most celebrated passages can scarcely be uninteresting to the majority of your readers, you may, perhaps, not object to afford me a page or two, for a few remarks on a suggestion thrown out by a writer in your last number. In the paper on Mr. Matthews's new entertainment, it was stated, that that exquisite artist had given an imitation of an imitation (-" the shadow of a shade"-) of Garrick's manner, when he spoke the celebrated soliloquy in Richard the Third, “ Now is the winter of our discontent,” &c. This excited my curiosity towards the subject, and induced me to pay particular attention to the imitation in question; and as the witnessing of it has had the immediate effect of totally changing my previous feelings on the point, I am tempted to offer a few words in justification of the opinion which, in common with your contributor, I now firmly adhere to.
It is not less remarkable than true that a whole generation shall frequently remain for years together in the possession of one undisputed, and as they seem to think, indisputable opinion, on a given point; when suddenly a single touch of the Ithurial spear of inquiry shall discover to them that they have been all along cherishing a decided and palpable error. I anticipate that nothing less than this will soon be the case with regard to the spirit of that celebrated passage to which I am now directing your readers' attention. I will place the passsge before them, and then briefly state why I think so.
“ GLOSTER --Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.” Now, can any reader peruse the above passage, and reflect for a moment on the character and situation of him who utters it, and then
say that it should be delivered in a low, gloomy, thoughtful, muttering tone, and with a bitterly contemptuous and ironical turn of expression? Who is the speaker? and of what is he speaking? Is it not upon house” that the “clouds" have till lately “ lowered ?" Is it not « brows” that are now “ bound with victorious wreaths ?" And are not Ambition and Glory the gods of the speaker's idolatry—the only gods-the gods to whom he sacrifices, with a gay and reckless hand, every obstacle that stands in his way? Who is it too, that has brought about
glorious summer ?”—who, but the sun of York;” the Plantagenet ; by a relationship to whom the “high-reaching" Gloster “ looks proudly on the crown ;" and which crown, but for the late successes that he is contemplating, he might in vain have hoped to compass? And with all these considerations playing, shifting, and
blending themselves together in his ever-active mind, will he be likely to utter their results in any other than a tone of joyous exultation, with smiling lips, fire-darting eyes, and altogether an action and demeanour calculated to evince the presence of that new-born spirit of hope which may be supposed to have just visited him?
It must be borne in mind that Gloster is a person absolutely without shame, fear, or remorse ; a gay, impudent, bold-faced villain ; exulting in the consciousness of his intellectual superiority, and firmly believing that it will carry him safely and triumphantly through all difficulties. He can “ smile, and smile, and murder while he smiles;" not bypocritically or affectedly, but from pure love of the sport. Nay, he can scarcely murder without smiling : there is not one of his deeds of blood that he does not cut a joke upon. Even his own deformity, the contemplation of which is the only thing that ever for an instant disturbs the self-complacency of his thoughts-he can make merry even with that; and only treats it seriously to serve a particular purpose—as in the scene where he bares his withered arm, and calls for punishment on those through whose spells (as he would insinuate) this has befallen him.
The reader will do well to recollect that those "compunctious visitings" which assail Gloster in the Tower, are confined to the acted play,—that impudent falsification of Shakspeare and history which has so long kept possession of the stage, to the disgrace of our national taste and feeling. In the real scene in the Tower, Gloster is all lightheartedness and joy. Even his anxious care about the mode of burying the murdered princes is all interpolated. What cares he how or where they are buried ? It is enough for him that they are dead ; and when Tyrrel tells him
“ The chaplain of the Tower hath buried them;
But where, to say the truth, I do not know,”he does not say a word more on the subject; but proceeds gaily to sum up the number of his subjects of self-congratulation,
“ The son of Clarence have I penned up close;
His daughter meanly have I matched in marriage;
And Anne my wife hath bid the world good-night."
as many jokes as lines ; and he finishes by determining instantly to visit his niece Elizabeth, in the character of “a jolly thriving wooer.”
Gloster was, in fact, disposed to be any thing rather than out of temper, either with the world or with himself. To those who did not know him, he must have appeared one of the most delightful persons imaginable. He continues careless, confident, animated, and courageous, even to the last; not to be daunted or cast down by danger or death itself.* And it is remarkable, that the very last speech he utters before he rushes out to seek and find Richmond • even in the throat of death," is evidently intended to include a pleasantry,—" I think there be sir
By nothing but “ shadows ;" and by them only for a moment. See that admirably characteristic speech “ Shadows to-night have struck more terror to the soul of Richard," &c. And the history of the human intellect proves that “ shsdows" have often been known to exercise a more striking momentary influence over mipds like his than over those of a meancr rank.