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pine is their principal resource.” The Turkmans are always at war with the Curds and Arabs, who often come and break the horns of their herds, and
carry away their wives and daughters.” “ Neither the aptitude of the soil, nor the example which they (the Usbecks) have before them, can induce them to change their habits, and they would rather pillage, rob, and kill their neighbours, than apply themselves to improve the benefits which nature so liberally offers them.” “ And though they are often very illtreated in these incursions, and the whole of their plunder is not equivalent to what they might obtain with very little labour from their lands; yet they choose rather to expose themselves to the thousand fatigues and dangers necessarily attendant on such a life, than apply themselves seriously to agriculture.” “ The Mahometan Tartars in general hate trade, and make it their business to spoil all the merchants who fall into their hands. The only commerce that is countenanced is the commerce in slaves. These form a principal part of the booty which they carry off in their predatory incursions, and are considered as a chief source of their riches. Those which they have occasion for themselves, either for the attendance on their herds, or as wives and concubines, they keep, and the rest they sell.” They justify it as lawful to have many wives, because they say they bring us many children, which we can sell for ready money, or exchange for necessary conveniences. Yet when they have not wherewithal to maintain them, they hold it a piece of charity to murder infants new-born, as also they do such as are sick and past recovery, because they say they free them from a great deal of misery.”-(Sir J. Chardin's Travels), “ Under the
feeble yet oppressive government of the Turks it is not uncommon for peasants to desert their villages and betake themselves to a pastoral state, in which they expect to be better able to escape from the plunder of their Turkish masters and Arab neighbours.”
Thus then we perceive that in the rich islands of the Pacific, in the fertile plains of America, and the productive valleys of Asia, a population probably rather diminishing than increasing in numbers presses against a scanty supply of food derived from a soil whose productive powers are capable, with a very slight exertion of industry, to maintain a rapidly increasing population in comfort and plenty. It is plain too that in many instances the population declines, not from any general deficiency in the actual supply of food, but from the vicious, the cruel, the degraded habits of the people, derived from other
And in every instance the absence of cultivation, and of its necessary consequence the increase of subsistence, is to be ascribed altogether to moral
The land waits to be solicited, and is prepared to yield abundant returns. Providence is continually accumulating the intimations of its will, by adding misery to misery as the condition of a perseverance in idleness and vice, and as a stimulus to the efforts requisite to escape from them. But man, the creature of habit, prone to evil, and to an increasing deterioration of mind the longer he continues plunged in vicious practices, pertinaciously resists the suggestions of Providence, and frequently perseveres in his resistance till he has almost incapacitated himself as a subject for future amelioration.
In the foregoing picture then of the several gradations of savage and pastoral life, vice and' misery are indeed frightfully prominent; but it would be too preposterous an abuse of terms to say that their office is to repress ą mischievous tendency to exuberance in the population, when they are in fact the positive means not only of preventing even a salutary increase, but actually of inducing in many cases a rapid diminution in the existing numbers. As well might the destruction of a city be called a salutary precaution against its too great extension. Neither would it be more reasonable to argue that moral restraint from sexual intercouse would remedy the evils; for in the first place such a virtue cannot be singly implanted so as to flourish in a hotbed of other vices; nor if it were implanted under such conditions would the evils be remedied. For regular habits in this respect would soon rather increase than diminish the number of the people, without having any tendency to increase the quantity of food. Industry therefore, and industry alone, with the moral consequences thence arising, would be sufficient to attain the object, by removing the impediments to the farther production of food. And I must again be permitted to ask in what manner men drowned in apathy and vice can be roused to industrious erertion, unless by the pressure of some misery which may evidently be referred to the want of that exertion.
But the most unreasonable of all arguments upon this state of society would be to maintain that the pressure of population against subsistence (where it is found to exist) is a necessary consequence of the increase of the former, because it is perfectly obvious that it is wholly to be ascribed to want of exertion
in the people who suffer under it. Unless therefore it can be proved that there is any necessity for their perseverance in idleness, for their continuance in a state of barbarism, brutality, ignorance, and vice, it must be admitted that they possess immense resources in the productive powers of their soil, which it only depends upon themselves to appropriate to the purposes of their comfortable subsistence; and that this end will be obtained precisely in proportion to their general moral improvement.
Thus then we perceive, not only that the whole mass of the population in these rude stages of society has in all cases a natural tendency to keep within the powers of the soil to afford it subsistence according to the first fundamental proposition in the last chapter, but that any alteration of this tendency so as to produce the pressure of individual want against the actual supply of food comes under the second head of the second proposition, viz., that it arises from grossly impolitic customs depressing the productive energies of the soil considerably below its natural powers; for not the slightest attempt has ever yet been made to excite them into action.
With respect to the application of the third and fourth propositions to these states of society, it must of course be rather prospective than immediatę. If religion and morality were introduced, that is, if any progress were made towards a general and enlightened desire among individuals so to regulate their actions as to produce happiness to others as well as to themselves ; if rational liberty and security of property began to prevail, that is, if the public institutions of the country were in any degree calculated for the general benefit, and with an equal view to
the happiness of the whole community; no reasonable man can doubt but that it would instantly emerge from the states of society which we have now been contemplating; and the improvement would be complete, just in proportion as the means producing it approached towards obtaining a perfect influence: these propositions therefore call for no farther notice on the present occasion except with a view to one important practical inference. Doubtless a savage nation of its own accord, or rather when urged on one side by the spontaneous energies of a superior mind raised up for this purpose, and pressed on the other by the wretchedness of the savage state, might emerge in the course of time into the light of civilization. This inference is fairly deducible from what has been handed down to us of the native heroes of the East, and of ancient Greece and the surrounding countries, whose deification is at once a proof of the gratitude of their countrymen, and of the miseries from which they were relieved. The state of Mexico and Peru on the first discovery of America may also be cited to fortify the same conclusion. But when we consider on the one hand the difficulties arising from the free scope given to the evil propensities of man while living in a state of barbarism, and reflect on the other that the first step, however small, made by a savage tribe towards the attainment of the blessings enumerated in the third and fourth propositions, will lead in the ordinary course of things to their full development; how gravely must it press upon the consciences of those nations who have already run the career of civilization, and are actually living under the full blaze of its meridian splendour, to look back upon the point