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elevation of view, which is indispensable to the attainment of political truth. In such governments we behold the passions which give rise to the keenest resentment, but not the wisdom or moderation requisite for the discovery or pursuit of the only means which can lead to redress. The genuine patriot deplores these evils, resulting from an excess of that democracy, which, under due modification, is the best foundation of government. (P. 26.)
It appears from these passages that although the laws of the United States are professedly founded on the principles of religion, morality, rational liberty, and security, they obtain only a very imperfect influence. It is still however sufficient to carry the country triumphantly through the purely agricultural state of society, which presents so many natural facilities. But as the difficulties incident to the commercial and manufacturing stages begin to arise, if a general improvement in the important respect just alluded to do not accompany them, it is easy to foresee the divisions and calamities which will befal the United States of America.
America has been said by one of her own advocates to be a new and rising country, whose progress, which is unprecedently rapid, may be retarded but cannot be stopped; therefore whatever bad consequences may result from her internal or external policy, they will be but momentary. She may suffer most severely in the first instance, but the consequences can be only transitory. I must beg leave to limit the truth of these positions, by confining the application of them to the present condition of society in America. Even now, in the midst of general prosperity, individual industry is interfered with, notwith
standing all its natural advantages. Individual suffering is already the result; and the conflicting interests of commerce are daily aggravating the evil. But it is evident that by the adoption of the fourth principle, and in proportion as the obstacles to the perfect influence of the blessings just enumerated are removed, in such will individual suffering be diminished, and a permanent progress in public prosperity be secured.-Nor can the actual or probable evils be lessened, nay, they cannot be otherwise than materially aggravated, by any other scheme of remedy. It is surely superfluous to go about to prove, that in proportion as men are quiet, industrious, and moral in their private conduct; and charitable and considerate towards others; and as their government acts upon similiar principles ; in the same degree will the happiness and comfort of individuals be increased, and the progress of population promoted :-and, as in the states of society here treated of the quantity of food must always exceed its proportion to the wants of the people, there can be no doubt that the increase of their numbers will be sound and healthy, and that they will not be driven into a state of vice and misery through any want of food: therefore every artificial impediment thrown in the way of the natural increase of population, or of any other spontaneous arrangement of the society, is not only unnecessary in point of policy, but also detrimental to the general spread of public and private happiness.
We have no right to expect in this condition of mankind to meet with any marks of high refinement; it would therefore be absurd to complain of their ab
As the agricultural state is not favourable to works of genius, so neither is it productive of exalted
moral feeling. The Romans, it has frequently been observed, showed scarcely any marks of poetical genius for many ages after the foundation of the city, and as little, it may be added, of the genuine principles of virtue. I know not how far the opinion of some philosophers may be thought fanciful, who assert that laxity of fibre, inconsistent with great muscular exertion, is necessary to that sensibility of feeling which leads to exquisite judgment and a correct taste. But this point seems at least well established, that the homely virtues are those of the agriculturist; and although he steps as much beside his moral advantage in aping the refinements, as he does beside his political interests in coveting the peculiar sources of prosperity of the more advanced stages of society, he is not the less bound to practise the duties of his own particular condition. He can scarcely be justified in tarring and feathering his neighbour, because they are incapable of reconciling their contending interests or opinions by a logical disputation on politics or morals.
Of the natural Tendency of Population in the
more advanced Stages of Society.
IN the progress of society, beyond the stages treated in the preceding Chapter, population will at length overtake the supply of surplus food, so far as to press lightly against some of the luxuries to which it is converted, and will raise its price. And this is the first point, from the earliest states of society, in which the pretended universal aphorism, that population has a tendency to press against its actual supply of food, can be said even remotely to apply.
The elevation in the price of produce, from the increased competition, now encourages the capitalist to divest part of his funds from commerce and manufactures to the cultivation of inferior waste lands, or to agricultural improvements on those already cultivated. Let it carefully be observed, that this preexisting demand for food from a population pressing against the superfluities of its supply, (if I may be allowed the expression), is the only possible mode by which a farther increase can now be elicited from the soil. For cultivators will not lay out their capital upon land of an inferior staple, until they find, by an enhanced price of its produce, that there is an increasing demand for it to compensate their additional expenses:-a fact which appears of itself sufficient to show the futility of the idea entertained by Mr. Malthus and others, that a manufacturing nation can ever permanently export large quantities of corn.
This speculation indeed, implies the apparent absurdity of sup.
posing that a commodity raised by one nation at a great expense, and sent abroad to a foreign market, can be sold there to a profit (expenses of carriage included), notwithstanding the competition of other nations, who can raise the same commodity at less than half the expense, and convey it to the same market with very inferior charges of freight. Neither is the fact stated more favourable to the position of the same economists, that an increase of people should always follow, and never precede, an increase in the produce of the soil :which, when applied to a manufacturing society, appears to be nearly tantamount to saying, that an increase in the number of backs should always follow, and never precede, an increase in the manufacture of coats ;-whereas surely a previous increase of wearers and consumers is absolutely necessary to the respective production of further food and raiment.
These questions will be more fully treated in a subsequent chapter, when we come to the consideration of the nature of Corn Laws. In the mean time it
may be observed, that the produce of these new speculations in agriculture will set the people at ease till a further increase of population. But the improved methods, such as the consolidation of small farms into larger, ingenious implements, &c. will also enable a smaller number of cultivators to raise an equal quantity of produce, and will therefore set free a larger proportion of the people for manufactures and other occupations.* This new arrangement will
* These natural effects of the progress of society may serve to allay the anger of many very honest and plain spoken political economists against large farins, and other arrangements for obtaining such a surplus and disposable produce, as is absolutely requisite to the public good in the new distribution of the society.