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it is evident that a great demand for additional hands will exist, whatever may be the actual supply of food. The demand for labour being derived indifferently from all the sources of industry, and population being regulated by that demand; it seems only necessary to inquire in what department of industry the principal demand for labour exists, in order to determine what species of it is the efficient cause of the increase of population. The answer to this in agricultural countries will evidently be agriculture; in commercial and manufacturing countries, commerce and manufactures: and we shall plainly perceive upon consideration that this is agreeable to the fact.
In those countries where the demand for labour is principally from the land, and its remuneration drawn from agricultural profits, the children, from generation to generation, are bred up in the occupation of farmers, and their sustenance is derived immediately from the objects of their labour. This simplifies the operation of society so much, that there is no room for doubt or mistake as to the efficient cause of population.
But as society advances, the question becomes more complicated. In a commercial and manufacturing country, however, it is still evident that almost all the increased remuneration of labour, or the fund from which the labourer is enabled to rear a family, is drawn from profits derived from commerce and manufactures. But the products of their industry do not immediately afford sustenance to the labourer as in the former case, but are necessarily exchanged for food. For some time after the agricultural state of society is passed, the quantity of surplus produce created by it is the fund upon which the
merchant and manufacturer draw for their subsistence; but it is their commerce and manufactures which give them an effectual claim to it, and from which therefore their support is actually derived; for if they could not assert this valid claim to their share of the surplus produce, it would certainly be exported to a foreign market. Agriculture therefore, even in this early period of the commercial system, has no greater share in calling human beings into existence and enabling their parents to rear them, than any other department of human industry. If this admits of any exception, it is, that while the surplus produce raised in the agricultural state continues unexhausted, its existence, previous to the demand made upon it by the manufacturing population, may somewhat keep down its price, especially if there be no active demand for it from abroad. But when once population has overtaken this quantity of surplus produce, then agriculture and other employments stand precisely upon the same footing, as to their effects upon population. The former can no more be exclusively called the efficient cause of it, than shoemaking, weaving, dyeing, or any other exertion of industry that supplies a man with objects to exchange against the necessaries of life. Nor will any more corn be grown till an effectual demand arises for it from some other department of industry, and some of these objects of exchange are presented to the notice of the cultivator.
The proof, then, of the three propositions, with which I began my statement of this interesting question, may be thus condensed.
1st, In the agricultural state of society, agriculture is the efficient cause of population, because the
demand for labour and its remuneration are derived principally from that employment.
2dly, After a country has stepped out of the agricultural into the commercial system, but has not yet increased its population sufficiently to consume the surplus produce remaining from the agricultural state, commerce and manufactures are the efficient cause of population, because from them is now derived the demand and remuneration of labour. Population, however, is not yet the efficient cause of any increase in agriculture, because a previous supply of food already exists, and until that is exhausted little more will be raised. Population therefore cannot be the efficient cause of an effect which does not take place.
But, 3dly, As soon as the commercial progress of a country has increased its population, so far as to consume all the surplus produce existing at the period of its first emergence from the agricultural state ; then commerce and manufactures do not only constitute the efficient cause of population, but this last is the sole efficient cause of all further production of food, because the land remaining uncultivated is of such a quality, that an effectual demand upon it can only be made by the pressure of domestic population against the actual supply.
These seem to be the grand outlines of the truth upon this interesting question, though, from the complicated nature of society in all its advanced stages, and the irregularities introduced by the mistaken principles of political economy upon which most nations have occasionally been conducted, it may be sometimes difficult to trace its progress, and a few modifications may, in fact, be admitted.
Notwithstanding the general truth of the first proposition, for example, it may be observed that many simple manufacturing employments exist in the early stages of society, which have their proportionate share in the production of population : so that, in a modified sense, it may be asserted even here that population is the efficient cause of part of the existing agriculture ; because it is certain that, unless there were a demand for the produce somewhere beyond the bounds of the farm, little or no surplus would be raised. A demand is also frequently made from foreign countries. Their population therefore may likewise, in some measure, be called the efficient cause of agriculture in the country exporting the supply. These modifications, however, do not affect the general truth of the first proposition, and are not of much practical import
On the second proposition it may be briefly observed that, as artificial encouragements or discouragements to agriculture may advance or retard the period of a country's transition to the commercial state of society, so the removal of those artificial impediments, at any period after the step has been taken, may give a temporary start or depression to agriculture, and either retard or advance the arrival at that point when the commercial and manufacturing population shall have absorbed all the surplus produce previously existing. Thus, for example, should a country, from peculiar circumstances, such as seem to have influenced the United States of America, have commenced its commercial career before all its best lands are brought under cultiva. tion, (which may be called the natural period of that
change,) the removal of those circumstances, or small artificial encouragements to agriculture, will induce the capitalist again to prefer land to commerce for a time, and the country will revert for that period to the agricultural state of society, or rather will vacillate between the agricultural and commercial states: this will retard its arrival at that point where the augmented population shall have consumed the whole surplus produce. Again, artificial discouragements to agriculture will divert a portion of the capital to commerce for a period, and thus hasten the arrival of the people at the abovementioned point. But these vacillations will not affect the fundamental truths contained in the second proposition, nor the practical conclusions to be drawn from them. It may be observed too, that they are almost always injurious to the political interests of a country. I have little doubt that the late interruptions to the commerce of the United States of America have added to their solid strength, and given a fresh impulse to the progress of their population, by diverting more capital to their extensive soil; and that they have thereby subtracted somewhat from the interval of time which must yet elapse, before they fill that commanding station in the western hemisphere, and in the naval and commercial enterprise of the world, to which they so ardently aspire.
On the third proposition we may observe, by way of qualification, that the importation of food, which is occasionally brought into commercial countries, will naturally impede the encouragement afforded by increasing population to domestic production. The population will then perform the same office towards the agriculture of a less advanced state, which the