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all be removed at once and together, instead of dying off, as they would otherwise have done, gradually and successively, while a young race was rising up among them. The overwhelming deluge we formerly considered executed this ordainment on all but that single family, who were preserved to begin a new series of population of the earth, with laws and under circumstances very different from the anteceding ones. The sudden removal of all but this favoured fragment allowed the first generations to grow up without the deteriorations they would have imbibed from the degeneracy of their predecessors. Their future errors and transgressions would, by this plan and its execution, originate from themselves, as they would have their immediate parents only before them for their educating models, and these had been selected for preservation because they were the children of a moralized and pious father.

That the renewed population might not become the same kind of evil beings as that which had been taken away by the simultaneous death, He placed it and all earthly nature under new laws and circumstances, by which human society, ever since, has been materially affected. He produced a new surface on the earth, from the dissolution, fractures, dislocations, torrents, subsidencies, and devastations of the old one; burying, amid the convulsions and changes of both land and waters, which accompanied the tremendous yet governed catastrophe, vast portions of ancient vegetation and of animal races; most of these being suited to the preceding state of things, and not continued into the present one, of which they were less fitting. He abridged, also, the life of man to one tenth or twelfth of its anterior duration-an alteration which made a recurrence of the former state of human society impossible, and which has caused it to contain a very different species of human creatures from the antediluvian race.

Our present population thus began under new laws of life and death, and on the principle thereby of being a succession of shortlived generations. The former plan, of a continuous individual for eight or nine hundred years' duration, had been tried, until it had prevailed so long as to prove to their posterity that the first stages of a human being's existence were not able to receive such a lengthened vitality beneficially to themselves.

Every day that I look around me, or peruse the annals of

history, I feel the wisdom and the necessity of this change. I assure you that I cannot conscientiously say of any individuals that have figured on the human world, that it would have been advantageous, either to themselves or to the community, that they should have the longevity of a Methuselah; nor could any be yet endured in such a protracted existence on our earth, unless their wisdom and their virtue, their intellectual attainments and their practical use of them; their self-government, humility, gentleness, and philanthropy improved and enlarged as their years were multiplied. But how very rare is it to find any one who lives on the habitual principles of continual self-melioration, self-regulation, benevolent feelings, and attentions to others, mental acquisitions and enlargement, with adequate duty, gratitude, and love to his perpetual benefactor! The common experience is, that most attain improvements to a certain extent, but advance no farther. Self-indulgence then takes the lead, and becomes the law and habit. To enjoy life for its gratifications, and to be satisfied with themselves as they are, is the general character and practice; and from that time they remain either stationary in their moral and intellectual personality, or they deteriorate. Certainly the lengthening of life does not so commonly increase the good qualities or utilities of the individual, or preclude or remove his unpleasing or injurious ones, as to incline us to believe that it would be any benefit to society to extend our present existence beyond that fourscore or one hundred years, to which, in its greatest protraction, it is generally confined. It appears at least to be incompatible with a succession of young generations, wanting all that the older possess; with a series of extending populations, spreading and multiplying everywhere, and with that progression of human nature which has hitherto proceeded more from new races that have sprung up than from the stems they have emerged from. It is enlightening to our understanding that the system of great longevity was tried; but it has been an advantage to human happiness, and to the gradual improvement of human nature, that it was not continued. Indeed, if I had the power of immortalizing my contemporaries and myself at this moment on our present earth, I would not do it. I like, and esteem, and admire them very much, on the whole, as they are; but as I wish both them and myself to be much better than we are, I would not give an

eternity to our social world, in its present character and condition; for that would be an eternal perpetuation of failings, errors, vices, ignorance, defective judgment, violent prejudices, wrong habits, and much obliquity of acting mind and personal temper, all of which I should rejoice to see absent both from myself and my coexisting fellow-creatures, and which, I believe, will diminish in our succeeding generations. At present, it is certainly best that such an extremely small number reach or pass beyond a century in the state in which human nature appears in our present world. What human violence can do and will do, we see in the regions where the lawless and the bandit prevail, and in the cities and countries where persecutions or reigns of terror are established. What human corruption can sink to is too disgusting to be described or thought of. The cessation of antediluvian longevity lessens the duration and the evils, and intercepts the progress of both these calamities.

Let us now contemplate the scheme and laws of our population which have been established, and endeavour to ascertain those which are really operating, and avoid the misconceptions of them which have erroneously been circulated.

LETTER VI.

Statement of the Theory of Mr. Malthus on Population.-Observations upon it. Mr. Sadler's contrary Views.

MY DEAR SON,

Near the beginning of the present century, Mr. Malthus excited a great sensation in the public mind by suggesting, and afterward by more elaborately maintaining, an idea not wholly new, but, though surmised by others, very little attended to before, on the subject of human population.* This

* "The existence of this principle was first remarked by political economists in the concluding half of the last century; and allusions to it may be found in the writings of Wallace, Hume, Franklin, Smith, and particularly of Mr. Townsend."-Bishop J. B. Summer's "Records of Creation," vol. ii., p. 102. To these names may be added that of Arthur Young.

was "the constant tendency in all animated life to increase beyond the nourishment prepared for it."* In his work on population he proposed, as the first point of "our inquiry concerning the improvement of society, to investigate the causes which have hitherto impeded the progress of mankind towards happiness." He represented this supposed tendency to be one of the chief of those causes which obstruct human felicity, and as a cause combined with our nature, and always acting strongly on society, but acting so unfortunately as to occasion very largely the evils we most lament. He pronounced unequivocally this tendency to be a perpetual tendency to increase our population in a geometrical ratio, or to double in every twenty-five years, while the means of our subsistence were strictly limited to an arithmetical augmentation only. The consequence of this surprising difference, thus alleged to be established in nature between the rates at which our numbers and our food respectively multiply, becomes, on his own statement, frightfully appalling. In three centuries the food will not suffice for a three-hundredth part of the population to which, according to these pretended laws, the human race would, in that space, at any period or region of the world, amount.** On this hypothesis it would have been

* Malthus's "Essay on the Principle of Population," 4th ed., vol. i., p. 2. It was first published in 1798, suggested by a paper in Mr. Godwin's Inquirer.-Ib., preface.

† Malth., p. 1.

"The principal object of the present essay is to examine the effect of one great cause intimately united with the very nature of man, which has been constantly and powerfully operating since the commencement of society," p. 2. "The cause to which I allude is the constant tendeney in all animated life to increase beyond the nourishment prepared for it."-Ib.

"The natural and necessary effects have been almost totally overlooked; though probably among these effects may be reckoned a very considerable proportion of that vice and misery, and of that unequal distribution of the bounties of nature, which it has been the unceasing object of the enlightened philanthropist in all ages to correct."-Malth., ib., p. 2.

"It may safely be pronounced, therefore, that population, when unchecked, goes on doubling every 25 years, or increases in a geometrical ratio," p. 8. "A thousand millions are just as easily doubled every 25 years by the power of population as 1,000."-Malthus, ib., p. 8.

"It may fairly be pronounced, therefore, that, considering the present average of the earth, the means of subsistence, under circumstances the most favourable to human industry, could not possibly be made to increase faster than an arithmetical ratio."-Malth., p. 12.

** "Supposing the present population equal to one thousand millions,

impossible for mankind to last even 200 years from their beginning, unless destructive checks were at all times extirpating it, at a rate so rapid and so enormous as to allow only 13 persons to be alive out of every 4,096, who, if the course of nature should be left unrepressed, were certain to be born in 300 years.

*

But even this incomprehensible disproportion and devastation, which are calculated on the assumed doubling in every twenty-five years, do not express the full operation of these fatal laws of reproducing nature, as Mr. Malthus interprets them; for he declares that population has doubled itself in fifteen years; and not perceiving the physical impossibility of such a multiplication, he has allowed himself to imagine that a still greater augmentation might accrue,† if Indians and uncleared ground were not to interfere with it ; not observing that, to enable any population so to double themselves every fifteen years or less, infants and children must become parents.

The mind startles at statements like these, so extraordinary in themselves, and so melancholy in their results; and with perplexing wonder would reasonably ask, "Can such things be?" They are so incongruous with the science and beauty of the natural creation in other respects, that they would seem certain of provoking immediate disbelief; but they were put with so much ingenuity, and their novelty was so striking, that they obtained the assent of many able and excellent men,

the human species would increase as the numbers 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 84, 128, 256; and subsistence as 1. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

"In two centuries the population would be to the means of subsistence as 256 to 9; in three centuries, as 4,096 to 13; and in 2,000 years the difference would be almost incalculable."-Malth., p. 13.

"In the back settlements, where the sole employment is agriculture, and vicious customs and unwholesome occupations are little known, the population has been found to double itself in fifteen years.”—Malth., vol. i., p. 7.

"Even this extraordinary rate of increase is probably short of the utmost power of population."-Ib.

+ "Very severe labour is requisite to clear a fresh country; such situations are not, in general, considered as particularly healthy, and the inhabitants are probably occasionally subject to the incursions of the Indians, which may destroy some lives, or, at any rate, diminish the fruits of their industry."-Ib.

In blindness to the personal impossibility, it seems that another able man has gone rather greater lengths in his conjecture. "Sir William Petty supposes a doubling possible in so short a time as ten years."-Pol. Ar. p. 14. Malth., p. 7.

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