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M. de Bonald published his celebrated “ Essai sur l'unité des cultes.” Is such a religious worship desirable, lawful, or practicable? It may be both lawful and practicable, if it be allowable for each person, or each denomination of persons, meeting in religious worship, to join in the use of terms, which each considers, in his own sense of their import, to be free from objection ; but which each thinks highly objectionable, in the sense in which he knows they are understood by others. The lawfulness of such an arrangement appears to us debateable.
When the Trinitarian says, “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth,”—the God of whom he declares his belief, is very different from the God whom the Deist, the Unitarian, the Arian, or the Socinian, believes. Now, while each understands the words of the article in a sense so widely different from that in which it is understood by others, is it congruous that all should join in one simultaneous profession of their belief of it? Certainly not, unless it be distinctly known to all, that each professes his belief of the article in his own sense; even with this understanding, is it free from objection? We think this a grave question : it appears to us to lead to a very ample field of discussion. We suspect that much time will not elapse before the state of the public mind in Germany will render such a discussion necessary.
The other work of M. Gregoire, mentioned in the title of the present article, treats of a subject very different from the first,the influence of Christianity in ameliorating the condition of women. M. Gregoire begins the treatise by showing the wretched condition of women in Greece, the Roman empire, and the Mahometan states. He admits that, in Gaul and Germany, women were highly respected. He notices the female senate of the Gauls, and the strong expressions by which Tacitus describes the veneration of the Germans for the female sex, and he quotes, with seeming approbation, a recent writer, who ascribes to the high notions entertained by the Germans of female excellence, the gallantry and courteous manners of the feudal ages and modern times. He justly condemns the daily prayer by which the male Jew“thanks God for not having made him a woman,” and the female Jew meekly " thanks him for having made her as she is.”
We have heard much of fictions of law: perhaps no legal fiction is so disgusting as that by which the Roman jurisprudence viewed and regulated the rights of married women. Instead of introducing the wife into the husband's house, as his wife, and in her proper characters of mother of the children and mistress of the family, the jurisprudence of Rome treated her as sister of her own children, and therefore daughter to her husband; and pursuing the fiction to its extreme consequence, invested the husband with the plenitude of paternal power over his wife. "By the husband's judgment or caprice," says Mr. Gibbon," her behaviour was approved, or censured, or chastised : he exercised over her the jurisdiction of life or death; and it was allowed that, for adultery or drunkenness, the sentence might be properly inflicted. She acquired and inherited property for the sole benefit of her husband.
Christianity set every thing right. By establishing between the sexes an equality of spiritual rank, Christianity established between them an equality of civil rights, an equality of claim to merit and respect. The consequence was, that, soon after the introduction of Christianity, all the wise and good have, to use the language of the amiable Fenelon, thought that " women were intended, by their native gentleness, to endear domestic life to man, to make virtue lovely to children, to spread over the world elegance and grace, and to give society its highest polish; that no attainments can be above beings whose end and aim are to accomplish purposes at once so pleasing and so salutary; and that every means should be used to invigorate, by principle and culture, such native excellence.” Surely, if the Christian religion had done no other good, than thus ameliorating the condition of the purest portion of the human species, it would yet have rendered incalculable service to humanity.
ART. X.-Two Lectures on Population, delivered before the University
of Oxford, in Easter Term, 1828. By William Nassau Senior, Late Fellow of Magdalen, A. M. Professor of Political Economy. To which is added a Correspondence between the Author and the Rev.
T. R. Malthus. Many of our readers must remember the clamour raised against Mr. Malthus' Theory of Population, when it first appeared, and must be aware of the hostility it still continues to excite, in the minds of not a few of the reading and thinking portion of the British public. The religious exclaimed, and still exclaim against the impiety of believing, not only that Providence neglects the happiness, but has made a direct provision for the misery of mankind. Those who yet carry the good old proverb," where God sends mouths, he sends meat,” to the extent of denying the rule, that men must either be prudent or must starve, were yet shocked at being told, that population has a constant tendency to increase more rapidly than subsistence. In a word, they rejected the doctrine with horror, because it was so ambiguously expressed, as to throw dishonour on the benevolence of the Deity. On the other hand, the energetic promoter of a gradual improvement in the condition of man, were no less eager to renounce a system, by which it appeared, that all his hopes were demonstrated to be vain and futile, and which seemed to leave him in a state of more hopeless misery than it found him. Besides these two classes of opponents, there were others, opposed,
like the late Emperor of France, to Political Economy, because Political Economy was opposed to them ; who were not averse to apply the argumentum ab impio et infando, from this less popular, to other more popular doctrines of the econimists, and who argued that all reasonings respecting a free importation of corn, and a freer exportation of manufactures, deserved no attention, nay were probably themselves impious and abominable, as proceeding from a source so “ hated of God and men.” And, lastly, there was a large body of what may be termed simple recipients, who received all these and other anathemas, against the doctrines of this devoted race, and were persuaded to regard all which the Economists had said, were saying, or should, or even could, say, as proceeding from an innovating, inhuman and irreligious spirit. No person tolerably acquainted with the flight of pamphlets, reviews, and treatises; or, who is aware how much prejudice still prevails against philosophical views on population, will fail to rejoice at seeing impediments removed, to a calm and temperate discussion of a most important theory.
We could not, however, feel surprised at such hostility being excited, when we saw the followers of Mr. Malthus exhibiting the truth, which he enuntiated by the words, “a natural" tendency in population to increase more rapidly than subsistence, in such terms as the following.
€“ Were the whole mass of human sustenance," observes a distinguished writer, “produced by the soil now under cultivation to be increased twofold by the efforts of human ingenuity and industry, we may assert, as an undoubted truth, that the only effect, after the lapse of a few years, would be found to have been the multiplication in a like proportion of the number of its occupants, with, probably at the same time, a far increased proportion of misery and crime.'
No one can doubt the anxiety of the eminent person whom I have quoted, to promote the welfare of mankind; but the tendency of this passage is to damp every attempt to make labour more productive.'- pp. 89, 90.
Nor is the view of the Divine Benevolence, or the hope of improvement in the condition of mankind, to be deduced from the following passage from Mr. Mill's Elements of Political Economy, at all less revolting. After attempting to prove, that all the checks to population are utterly insufficient, he proceeds:
“Such are the moderate effects which can be expected to flow from the motives to accumulation : but the proof that it is the tendency of population to increase faster than capital, does not depend upon this foundation, strong as it is. The tendency of population to increase, whatever it may be greater or less, is at any rate an equable tendency. At what rate soever it has increased at any one time, it may be expected to increase at an equal rate, if placed in equally favourable circumstances, at any other time. The case with capital, is the reverse. As capital continues to accumulate, the difficulty of increasing it becomes gradually greater and greater, till finally, increase becomes impracticable. The evidence of this proposition results immediately from the law, as already explained, under which capital is employed upon the land.
Whether, after land of superior quality has been exhausted, capital is applied to new land of inferior quality, or in successive dotes with diminished returns upon the same land, the produce of it is continually diminishing in proportion to its increase. If the return of capital is, however, continually decreasing, the annual fund from which savings are made is continually diminishing. The difficulty of making savings, is thus continually augmented, and at last they must totally cease.
“It thus sufficiently appears that there is a tendency in population to increase faster than capital. If this be established, it is of po consequence to the present purpose, to enquire about the rapidity of the increase. How slow soever the increase of population, provided that of capital is still slower, wages will be reduced so low, that a portion of the population will regularly die from the consequences of want.
Neither can this dreadful consequence be otherwise averted, than by finding means to prevent the increase of that capital, from falling short of that of population.”
We really cannot wonder that numbers inferred froin such language as is contained in our last quotation, that the object of the economists was to accuse Providence, not only of an omission of good, but of having made a positive provision for great and increasing evil, and that they had the arrogance to consider themselves able to supply defects, and correct errors in the system of divine government. Nor can we more wonder that such an enunciation of the doctrine in question, as is quoted by Mr. Senior, should be regarded by the philanthropist, as a denunciation of the folly and futility of all his hopes and efforts.
We now come to the solution of this apparent perversity. We think Mr. Senior has made it clear that these mistakes, both of friends and foes, originated in the misuse of the word “ tendency.”
• But while I admit that false and dangerous inferences may be drawn from the naked and unexplained proposition that food has a tendency to increase faster than population, I must add, that inferences as false and as dangerous may be drawn, and in fact have been drawn, from the proposition that population has a tendency to increase faster than food. Nothing can be more accurate than your statement, " that population is always ready and inclined to increase faster than food, “ if the checks which repress it are removed.” But many, perhaps the majority of your readers, adopt the proposition without the qualification. They seem to believe that the expansive power of population is a source of evil incapable not only of being subdued, but even of being mitigated. They consider inan not as he is, but as he would be if he had neither forethought nor ambition ; neither the wish to rise, nor the fear to sink, in society. They deny the
possibility of permanent improvement, and regard every partial amelioration as a mere Sisyphæan labour.
Αλλ' ότε μέλλοι άκρον υπερβαλέειν, τότ αποστρέψασκε κραταιίς.
Our controversy has ended, as I believe few controversies ever terminated before, in mutual agreement. I think, however, that it may be well to close it by a few remarks on the circumstances by which it was occasioned.
• It is obvious that the principal causes by which the situation of a people can be improved, are those which occasion the amount of what is provided for their use to be in a greater proportion than before to their numbers. It seems a consequence equally obvious, that the principal means of improvement are those which promote the production of subsistence and prevent a corresponding multiplication of consumers.
• But the old doctrine was, that an increase of numbers is necessarily accompanied, not merely by a positive, but by a relative increase of productive power.
Density of population was supposed to be the cause and the test of prosperity : its increase to be the chief object of our exertions, and depopulation to be a danger constantly besetting us. And statesmen and legislators were urged to stimulate population with as much earnestness, and about as much good sense, as they are now urged to stimulate consumption.
• Your work effected a complete revulsion in public opinion. You proved that additional numbers, instead of wealth, may bring poverty. That in civilized countries the evil to be feared is not the diminution, but the undue increase of inhabitants. That population, instead of being a torpid agent, requiring to be goaded by artificial stimulants, is a power almost always stronger than could be desired, and producing, unless restrained by constant prudence and self-denial, the worst forms of misery and vice.
• These views are as just as they are important. But they have been caricatured by most of your followers. Because additional numbers may bring poverty, it has been supposed that they necessarily will do so.
Because increased means of subsistence may be followed and neutralized by a proportionate increase in the number of the persons to be subsisted, it has been supposed that such will necessarily be the case.
• These were the doctrines which I found prevalent when I began my Lectures.
• The points of view in which we have respectively considered the subject, have, perhaps, been materially influenced by the state of public opinion at the periods when we began to write. You found the principle of population disregarded, or rather unknown; and justly thinking the prevalent errors most mischievous, you bestowed on them an almost exclusive attention, I found that principle made the stalking-horse of negligence and injustice, the favourite objection to every project for rendering the resources of the country more productive; and it is possible, that in reply-, ing to those who appeared to me to exaggerate the probable effects of its powers, and to neglect the benefits to be derived from increased production, I may sometimes have undervalued the former, and overrated the latter:
• But, in fact, no plan for social improveinent can be complete, unless it