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in the commonwealth, and encouraged them to produce a race of human beings which can only be contemplated as a dead weight in the scale of society. Let it be observed, however, that this superfluous population does not press even against the actual supply of food, of which, by the supposition, there is still a surplus produce ; for the country must be yet in the agricultural state of society to engender such a nuisance, or at least not far enough advanced from it to have consumed its surplus produce, and render inferior land valuable. But the idle and listless beings, who have been called into existence, can make no valid claim to any share of this produce, (which will still be exported) but are miserably subsisting on the produce of their own potatoe garden. Great quantities of corn were, till very lately, exported even from those very parts of Ireland where the wretched and starving cotters are most numerous and most miserable. A population of this description, therefore, is a mere excrescence on the body politic, which might be eradicated to its great relief, could the operation be performed without infringing upon the laws of humanity, or endangering the system. But since it would be too severe for the humanity of the faculty to advise, and too difficult for the skill of any operator to perform, the only remaining resource is to try the method of absorption, slow and tedious as the process may be, and largely as it may draw upon the patience of the subject. It will be perceived that a picture, not very dissimilar to what has been here exhibited, would soon be produced by the general extension of a system of charity often recommended by benevolent individuals, who suppose that the condition of the people would be materially ameliorated by building cottages on all waste lands, and endowing them with portions of land, large enough to support the tenants. That such schemes of charity in a few instances, and carefully superintended by sagacious proprietors, have produced much individual happiness I rejoice in believing. But any general prevalence of the system would doubtless lead to all the inconveniences detailed in the preceding pages, because it would increase the population, without augmenting the demand for labour by depressing its price. Throughout the whole of this chapter, I have constantly borne in mind, that in a free and Christian country every human being born within its limits will by some means or other be supported: and it is the method by which this support is bestowed that renders the competition between the necessities of the lower orders, and the superfluities of the higher, alluded to towards the close of the second chapter of this book, available in favour of the former. The ordinary fluctuations of employment in such a country will always keep up a sufficient number of distressed persons to establish that competition in full vigour. To destroy it, by turning the balance wholly on the side of the necessitous, would be ruinous to industry, and would prevent allaccumulation of capital. The utmost vigilance should therefore be exercised by the proprietors of a country not to suffer the natural operations of society to be impeded, by permitting a population to settle itself upon their estates, for whose employment there will probably be no demand. The best mode of effecting this appears to be to keep the number of tenements, as nearly as possible, within those limits which will

only accommodate the persons, whose labouris wanted in the district where they are born, together with their families. All the parents will then be industrious. The system of charity, alluded to in the first chapter, may then be applied to such of these families as are too numerous to be supported by the average rate of the parents' labour, that the children may be reared for the supply of those districts which do not keep up their effective population; but no useless hands will permanently remain a burthen upon the proprietors, absorbing their profits without any return to them or to the country: and the competition between the necessities of the poor and the superfluities of the rich will be maintained at the point most favourable to the exercise of enlightened charity, and to the accumulation of capital to be applied in opening further resources of industry. As these are developed, more tenements will be of course erected, because a larger supply of hands will be wanted. But the consequent increase of the people will be sound and healthy, because no parents will exist, whose labour is not generally wanted in the places of their residence; nor any children be reared, who will not ultimately be turned to account, either in replacing their parents, in emigrating to places where their services are required, or in occupying new stations of industry in the places of their birth. The reader's mind may perhaps be prepared, by the considerations offered in this chapter, to admit the validity of a principle, which I am strongly disposed to consider as of universal application, viz. that the only methods by which the progress of population can be mischievously advanced beyond its natural rate, are by neglecting to promote, or by violently interfering with the morals and the industry of the people. So long as these are duly fostered, and permitted to have their free course, all the natural causes of abatement in the progress of population, and the natural encouragements to the production of food, will be successively introduced as society advances: but if the influence of morality, or the current of industry be checked, either by permitting the introduction of idle and licentious settlers, or by any other means, these salutary principles can of course be no longer operative; the stream will be choked up, and a loathsome vermin will pullulate in the filth and mud of the overloaded channel. I do not mean to imply, that mankind will permanently proceed in multiplying its numbers where there is a total stagnation of industry—quite the contrary; but their habits will then permit them to approach much nearer to that point, where the food is meted out to each in the smallest possible portions that can support existence. To that extent there

fore population will be encouraged, and in a mis

chievous and unnatural manner; that is, in a manner contrary to the ordinary course of society, and the evident designs of Providence; nor will any thing check its progress but the violent pressure of human misery against the means of subsistence. In confirmation of this argument, I would, in addition to the facts referred to in this chapter, confidently appeal to the details in the first book of this treatise respecting Spain, China, and the South Sea Islands, and to the observation of any one who will take the trouble to investigate the condition of the people in any declining country. - Should any one be disposed to object, that the arguments of this chapter are in opposition to those in the first chapter of this book, recommending under certain circumstances an artificial acceleration in the increase of the people; I would observe, in reply, that it is with a view to the different periods, in which the increase of people takes place, that I deprecate that contemplated in this chapter: and I do so upon these grounds—Ist, that the quality of the population raised under the former system will be of a superior stamp, both in healthiness and industry; and 2dly, that the increase is uniform in its operation, and particularly applicable to those periods in the progress of society when its effects are most wanted; namely, the commercial and manufacturing periods, in which alone any large sums can ever be wanted for the charitable support of numerous families. Whereas the population, raised under the system deprecated in this chapter, will be most numerous when it is least wanted; namely, towards the end of the agricultural, and the early stages of the commercial states of society. It is also irregular and uncertain in its progress and numbers, and consequently in quality the most remote that can well be conceived from any fitness for the purposes of regular industry. Iconsider this difference as a signal instance of the distinction, which Providence has placed, between the production of similar effects by moral and immoral means. When an enlightened charity constitutes the motive and the object of the act, as in the poor laws of England, Providence overrules the effect so as to produce indeed an increase of people, but a still greater increase of industrious employment. Where an indolent apathy permits encroachments and irre

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