They Edition: current; Page: [ viii ] seem with one consent to have shrunk from a topic, which required so much patient investigation. In the midst of this general desertion of the public interest, I have ventured to place myself in the breach. With what success it is for others to judge. It may seem strange, that what was so summarily stated, and successfully asserted, by Mr. Malthus, should require so much research and labour to overthrow. The Essay on Population has set up a naked assertion; no more.
I might have made a contradictory assertion; and, equitably speaking, the matter was balanced, and what Mr.
Malthus had written ought to go for nothing. But this would not have been the case. Like Cymochles in the Fairy Queen, he could say,. But the task in which I have engaged has been of a different sort. It was necessary that my advances should be slow, and my forces firm. It was mine, not only to dislodge the usurper from his fastnesses and retreats; but further, by patient exertions, and employing the most solid materials, to build up a Pharos, that the sincere enquirer might no longer wander in the dark, and be liable to be guided by the first daring adventurer that would lead him into the paths of error and destruction.
I beg leave to repeat one passage here from the ensuing volume, c as containing a thought very proper to be presented to the reader in the outset of the enquiry. If the British colonies had never been planted, Mr. Malthus would never have written. In the following pages I confine myself strictly to Mr. Malthus's book, and the question which he has brought under consideration.
My bitterest enemy will hardly be able to find in this volume the author of the Enquiry concerning Political Justice. I have scarcely allowed myself to recollect the beautiful visions if they shall turn out to be visions , which enchanted my soul, and animated my pen, while writing that work.
I conceived that any distinct reference to what is there treated of, would be foreign to the subject which is now before me. The investigation of the power of increase in the numbers of mankind, must be interesting to every one to whom the human species and human society appear to be matters of serious concern: and I should have thought that I was guilty of a sort of treason against that interest, if I had unnecessarily obtruded into the discussion any thing that could shock the prejudices, or insult the views, of those whose conceptions of political truth mighty be most different from my own.
I am certainly very sorry that I was not sooner in possession of Mr. Malthus's calculation for peopling the whole visible universe with human beings at the rate of four men to every Edition: current; Page: [ xi ] square yard, contained in his Principles of Political Economy e. A considerable portion of my work was printed, before the appearance of that volume.
Several passages in these sheets will read comparatively flat and tame, for went of the assistance of this happy reductio ad absurdum from the pen of the author. I cannot close these few pages of Preface, without testifying my obligations to one friend in particular, Mr. David Booth, formerly of Newburgh in the county of Fife, now of London. Without the encouragement and pressing instances of this gentleman my work would never have been begun; and the main argument of the Second Book is of his suggesting.
But indeed the hints and materials for illustration I have derived from his conversation are innumerable; and his mathematical skill assisted my investigations, in points in which my habits for many years, were least favourable to my undertaking. Booth has scarcely in any instance inspected my sheets, and that therefore I only am responsible for any errors they may contain. The reader will find, annexed to the end of the Second Book, a Dissertation on the Ratios Edition: current; Page: [ xii ] of Increase in Population, and in the Means of Subsistence, which that gentleman had the goodness to supply to me.
This is all that is necessary for me to say in the way of Preface. Except that I feel prompted to make my apology in this place, if I shall appear any where to have been hurried into undue warmth. I know how easily this sin is accustomed to beset all controversial writers. I hold Mr. Malthus in all due respect, at the same time that I willingly plead guilty to the charge of regarding his doctrines with inexpressible abhorrence. I fully admit however the good intentions of the author of the Essay on Population, and cheerfully seize this occasion to testify my belief in his honourable character, and his unblemished manners.
I think I should be guilty of a certain omission, with which, if my readers could detect it, they would have a right to reproach me, if I did not fairly state some of the discouragements under which my work was undertaken, and has been carried on to its completion. But this I cannot do without making free with the letters of my friends; and, as long as I carefully suppress their names, I hope they will pardon the liberty I take. The following is an extract of a letter from one of the most intelligent and highly endowed merchants of the city of London.
Malthus's book on population, especially as I think his opinion both true and important. Your work will not fail to draw, not only mine, but the public attention, to the most interesting subject in the whole science of Edition: current; Page: [ xiv ] political economy. If you are victorious, you will deserve a civic crown. The great and conclusive argument against Malthus, is the increase of refinement, luxury, dissipation, debauchery, and great cities, in old countries.
Malthus's own statement, and not an argument against him. I will add one more passage from an individual of the most earnest zeal for the welfare of his fellow creatures, and who was peculiarly shocked with the views exhibited in the Essay on Population. Malthus are very dreadful. He seems to have convinced almost all men of their absolute truth, and I am sorry to say that I do not perceive his statements to be false. I shall indeed rejoice, if they are shewn to be so.
To these private communications I will add a few lines from a speech of Mr. Brougham had no hesitation in stating that the excess of population was one of the great causes of the distress which at present afflicted the country. This proposition from the best consideration which he had been able to give to the subject, he was fully prepared to maintain. But it was among the most melancholy mal-practices of the low part of the press, to depreciate this which was the soundest principle of political economy.
Nay, Edition: current; Page: [ xvi ] the worst expedients were used to calumniate the writers by whom that principle was mainly supported f , though among those writers were to be found men of the most exalted morals, of the purest views, of the soundest intellect, and even of the most humane feelings. Yet against the writers, who sought to guard society against this great evil, the utmost obloquy was directed g.
A decision so absolute, at the time that my book was already in the press, might well have startled me. It fell from the lips of one of the most enlightened speakers of the present day, standing in his place in parliament. I cheerfully subscribe to the high endowments, and extensive information of Mr. Brougham: and, if I could have bowed to authority merely, on a subject which had for. Why sir, I see no prospect of their propagating more. They can have no more children than, they can get. I know of no way to make them breed more than they do. But have not nations been more populous at one period than another?
Yes, sir; but that has been owing to the people being less thinned at one time than another, whether by emigrations, war, or pestilence, not to their being more or less prolific. Births at all times bear the same proportion to the same number of people. Malthus has published what he calls an Essay on the Principle of Population, by which he undertakes to annul every thing that had previously been received, respecting the views that it is incumbent upon those who preside over political society to cherish, and the measures that may conduce to the happiness of mankind.
His theory is evidently founded upon nothing. He neither proves nor attempts to prove what he asserts. Malthus has taken a right view of the question, it is to be hoped that some author will hereafter arise, who will go into the subject and shew that it is so. Malthus having laid down a theory in this dogmatical manner, a sort of proceeding wholly unworthy of a reflecting nation or an enlightened age, it is time in reality that some one should sweep away this house of cards, and endeavour to ascertain whether any thing is certainly known on the subject.
This is the design and the scheme of the present volume I shall make no dogmatical assertions; or, at least I am sure I will make none respecting the proposition or propositions which form the basis of the subject. I shall call upon my reader for no implicit faith. I shall lay down no positions authoritatively, and leave him to seek for evidence, elsewhere, and as he can, by which they may be established. All that I deliver shall be accompanied by its proofs.
My purpose is to engage in a train of patient investigation, and to lay before every one who Edition: current; Page: [ 3 ] will go along with me, the facts which satisfy my mind on the subject, and which I am desirous should convey similar satisfaction to the minds of others. The consequence is, that I, the first, as far as I know, of any English writer in the present century, shall have really gone into the question of population.
If what I shall deliver is correct, some foundation will be laid, and the principle will begin to be understood. If what I allege as fact shall be found to be otherwise, or the conclusions I draw from my facts do not truly follow from them, I shall have set before other enquirers evidence that they may scan, and arguments that they may refute. I simply undertake to open the door for the gratification of the curious, or, more properly speaking, of those who feel an interest in the honour and happiness of the human species, which hitherto in this respect has been shut.
Conscious how little as yet is known on the subject, I attempt no more than to delineate Outlines of the Doctrine of Population. The first point then that I have to examine, and which will form the subject of Three of the Six Books into which my treatise is divided, is respecting the Power of Increase in the Numbers of the Human Species, and the Limitations of that Power.
This question, precisely speaking, is the topic of the Second Book only: though I have thought proper to prefix in a Edition: current; Page: [ 4 ] First Book a view of the numbers of mankind in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America, in ancient and modern times, where population has generally been supposed not to increase; and in another [the Fourth] to subjoin a view of the United States of North America in this particular, where from some cause or other the population has multiplied exceedingly.
The result of our investigations into the subject of population, I believe, will afford some presumption that there is in the constitution of the human species a power, absolutely speaking, of increasing its numbers. Malthus says; that the power is equal to the multiplication of mankind by a doubling every twenty-five years, that is, to an increase for ever in a geometrical series, of which the exponent is 2:—a multiplication, which it is difficult for human imagination, or as I should have thought for human credulity to follow: and therefore his theory must demand the most tremendous checks [their names in the Essay on Population are vice and misery] to keep the power in that state of neutrality, in which it is perhaps in almost all cases to be found in Europe.
I think I shall be able to make out that the power of increase in the numbers of the human species is extremely small, But, be that as it may, it must be exceedingly interesting to assign the Causes by which this Power is Restrained from producing any absolute multiplication, from century to Edition: current; Page: [ 5 ] century, in those many countries where population appears to be at a stand: and I have accordingly endeavoured to take the question out of the occult and mystical state in which Mr. Malthus has left it. This disquisition forms the subject of my Third Book; as it was necessary to give it precedence over the examination of the population of the United States, that we might be the better enabled to see, how far the causes which keep down population are peculiar to us, and how far they extend their agency to North America.
Such is the outline of the most essential parts of the following work; and here I might perhaps without impropriety have put an end to my labours. But, as Mr. Malthus has taken occasion to deliver many positions respecting subsistence, and various other points of political economy, I have thought it might not be useless to follow him into these topics.
The question of subsistence indeed Mr. Malthus has made an essential member of his system, having stated the power of increase in the numbers of mankind as equal to a doubling every twenty-five years for ever in geometrical series, and the utmost power of increase in the means of subsistence as reaching only to a perpetual addition of its own quantity in similar periods, or a progression in arithmetical series.
The topic I have reserved for my Sixth Book is, at least to my apprehension, in no way less interesting than the question of Subsistence. Franklin and other writers who have attributed to the human species a power of rapidly multiplying their numbers, have either foreseen no mischief to arise from this germ of multiplication, or none but what was exceedingly remote. It is otherwise with Mr. The geometrical ratio is every where with him a practical principle, and entitled to the most vigilant and unremitted attention of mankind. He has deduced from this consideration several moral and political maxims, which he enjoins it upon the governors of the world to attend to.
I am persuaded that the elements of our author's theory are unsound, and that therefore his conclusions must follow the fate of the principle on which they are founded. But I should have left my undertaking imperfect, if I did not proceed to expose these maxims; thus, in the first place, setting the system of the Essay on Population and its practical merits in the full light of day; and, in the second, holding up for the instruction of those who may come after, an example of the monstrous errors into which a writer may be expected to fall, who shall allow himself, upon a gratuitous and Edition: current; Page: [ 7 ] wholly unproved assumption, to build a system of legislation, and determine the destiny of all his fellow-creatures.
I might indeed have written a treatise in which I should have endeavoured to trace the outlines of the subject of population, without adverting to Mr. But, in the first place it was gratifying to me to name an author, who, however false and groundless his theories appear to me, has had the merit of successfully drawing the attention of the public to the subject. I think it but fair, so far as depends upon me, that his name should be preserved, whatever becomes of the volumes he has written.
If any benefit shall arise from the discussion of the Doctrine of Population, there is a propriety in recollecting the person by whose writings the question has been set afloat, though he has not discussed. And, in the second place, I know that the attention of the majority of readers is best secured by the appearance of a contention. If I had delivered the speculations of the following pages in a form severely scientific, and still more if I had written my book without Mr. Malthus's going before me, I should have appeared to multitudes to be elaborately explaining what was too clear for an argument, and Edition: current; Page: [ 8 ] could not have expected to excite an interest, to which under the present circumstances, if I have done any thing effectually on the subject, I may be thought reasonably entitled.
The following is the manner in which the subject is stated by Goldsmith, one of the latest of the number, in his History of the Earth and Animated Nature. In Edition: current; Page: [ 10 ] this manner twins are never, at least while infants, so large or strong as those that come singly into the world; each having, in some measure, robbed the other of its right; as that support which Nature meant for one, has been prodigally divided. These are seen usually to bring forth but one at a time, and to place all their attention upon that alone. On the other hand, all the oviparous kinds produce in amazing plenty; and even the lower tribes of the viviparous animals increase in a seeming proportion to their minuteness and imperfection.
Nature seems lavish of life in the lower orders of creation; and, as if she meant them entirely for the use of the nobler races, she appears to have bestowed greater pains in multiplying the number, than in completing this kind. In this manner, while the elephant and the horse bring forth but one at a time, the spider and the beetle are seen to produce a thousand: and even among the smaller quadrupeds, all the inferior kinds are extremely fertile; any one of these being found, in a very few months, to become the parent of a numerous progeny.
Had Edition: current; Page: [ 11 ] the lion and the tiger the same degree of fecundity with the rabbit or the rat, all the arts of man would be unable to oppose these fierce invaders, and we should soon perceive them become the tyrants of those who claim the lordship of the creation. But Heaven, in this respect, has wisely consulted the advantage of all. It has opposed to man only such enemies, as he has art and strength to conquer; and, as large animals require proportional supplies, nature was unwilling to give new life, where it in some measure denied the necessary means of subsistence.
On the other hand, those which bring forth many, engender before they have arrived at half their natural size. The horse and the bull come almost to perfection before they begin to generate; the hog and the rabbit scarcely leave the teat before they become parents themselves. In whatever light therefore we consider this subject, we shall find that all creatures approach most to perfection, whose generation most nearly resembles that of man.
The reptile produced from cutting, is but one degree above the vegetable. The animal produced from the egg, is a step higher in the scale of existence: that class of animals which are brought forth alive, are still more exalted. Edition: current; Page: [ 12 ] Of these, such as bring forth one at a time are the most complete; and foremost of these stands man, the great master of all , who seems to have united the perfections of all the rest in his formation a. TO take a just view of any subject, one rule that is extremely worthy of our attention is, that we should get to a proper distance from it.
The stranger to whom we would convey an adequate image of the city of London, we immediately lead to the top of St. Paul's Church. Malthus has taken his stand upon the reports of Dr. Franklin, and Dr. Ezra Styles. Far from it.
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He sees, in his prophetic conception, that country, some centuries hence, full of human inhabitants, even to overflowing, and groaning under the multitude of the tribes shall dwell in it. How long the race of man has subsisted, unless we derive our opinions on the subject from the light of revelation, no man knows.
The Chinese, and the people of Indostan, carry back their chronology through millions of years. Even if we refer to the Bible, the Hebrew text, and the Samaritan which is perhaps of equal authority, differ most considerably and fundamentally from each other. But Mr. Malthus is of opinion, that, in reasoning on subjects of political economy, we are bound to regulate our ideas by statistical reports, and tables that have been scientifically formed by proficients in that study, and has accordingly confined himself to these.
But, though we know not how long the human race has existed, nor how extensive a period it has had to multiply itself in, we are able to form some rude notions respecting its present state. It has by some persons been made an Edition: current; Page: [ 15 ] objection to the Christian religion, that it has not become universal.
Malthus, that the earth is not peopled. If I were to say that the globe would maintain twenty times its present inhabitants, or, in other words, that for every human creature now called into existence, twenty might exist in a state of greater plenty and happiness than with our small number we do at present, I should find no one timid and saturnine enough to contradict me.
In fact, he must be a literal and most uninventive speculator, who would attempt to set bounds to the physical powers of the earth to supply the means of human subsistence. If he were more of a sober and reasoning, than of a tender and passionate temper, perhaps he would not Edition: current; Page: [ 16 ] weep, but I should think he would set himself seriously to enquire, how the populousness of nations might be increased, and the different regions of the globe replenished with a numerous and happy race.
Paley's observations on this head are peculiarly to the purpose. Such has been the doctrine, I believe, of every enlightened politician and legislator since the world began. Malthus has placed this subject in a new light. He thinks that there is a possibility that the globe of earth may at some time or other contain more human inhabitants than it can subsist; and he has therefore written a book, the direct tendency of which is to keep down the numbers of mankind.
He has no consideration for the millions and millions of men, who might be conceived as called into existence, and made joint partakers with us in such happiness as a sublunary existence, with liberty Edition: current; Page: [ 17 ] and improvement, might impart; but, for the sake of a future possibility, would shut against them once for all the door of existence. At every period during the progress of cultivation, from the present moment to the time when the whole earth was become like a garden, the distress for want of food would be constantly pressing on all mankind c.
This however—I mean the distress that must always accompany us in every step of our progress—is so palpably untrue, that I am astonished that any man should have been induced by the love of paradox, and the desire to divulge something new, to make the assertion. There is no principle respecting man and society more certain, than that every man in a civilized state is endowed with the physical power of producing more than shall suffice for his own subsistence. This principle lies at the foundation of all the history of all mankind.
If it were otherwise, we should be all cultivators of the earth. We should none of us ever know the sweets of leisure; and all Edition: current; Page: [ 18 ] human science would be contained in the knowledge of seed-time and harvest. But no sooner have men associated in tribes and nations, than this great truth comes to be perceived, that comparatively a very small portion of labour on the part of the community, will subsist the whole. Hence it happens that even the farmer and the husbandman have leisure for their religion, their social pleasures, and their sports; and hence it happens, which is of infinitely more importance in the history of the human mind, that, while a minority of the community are employed in the labours indispensibly conducive to the mere subsistence of the whole, the rest can devote themselves to art, to science, to literature, to contemplation, and even to all the wanton refinements of sensuality, luxury, and ostentation.
What is it then, we are naturally led to ask, that causes any man to starve, or prevents him from cultivating the earth, and subsisting upon its fruits, so long as there is a portion of soil in the country in which he dwells, that has not been applied to the producing as much of the means of human subsistence, as it is capable of producing? Though to marry, in this case, is in my opinion clearly an immoral act, yet it is not one Edition: current; Page: [ 19 ] which society can justly take upon itself to prevent or punish. To the punishment of Nature therefore he should be left d.
At Nature's mighty feast there is no vacant cover for him. She tells him to be gone, and will quickly execute her own orders e. Never surely was there so flagrant an abuse of terms, as in this instance. Malthus is speaking of England, where there are many thousands of acres wholly uncultivated, and perhaps as many more scarcely employed in any effectual manner to increase the means of human subsistence; for these passages occur in chapters of his Essay where he is treating of our Poor-laws, and the remedies that might be applied to the Edition: current; Page: [ 20 ] defects he imputes to them.
I grant him then, that it is Law which condemns the persons he speaks of to starve. So far we are agreed. This Law Mr. Malthus may affirm to be just, to be wise, to be necessary to the state of things as we find them. All this would be open to fair enquiry. Great and cogent no doubt are the reasons that have given so extensive a reign to this extreme inequality. But it is not the Law of Nature.
It is the Law of very artificial life. Compare this then with Mr. But to return, and resume the point with which this chapter commenced. Malthus's doctrine is true, why is the globe not peopled? On which side then lies the evidence? Do the numbers of mankind actually and in fact increase or decrease? If mankind has so powerful and alarming a tendency to increase, how is it that this tendency no where shews itself in general history? Malthus and his followers are reduced to confess the broad and glaring fact that mankind do not increase, but he has found out a calculation, a geometrical ratio, to shew that they ought to do so, and then sits down to write three volumes, assigning certain obscure, vague, and undefinable causes, why his theory and the stream of ancient and modern history are completely at variance with each other.
Mr Malthus's theory is certainly of a peculiar structure, and it is somewhat difficult to account for the success it has met with. It has been agreed among the best philosophers in Europe, especially from the time of Lord Bacon to the present day, that the proper basis of all our knowledge respecting man and nature, respecting what has been in times that are past, and what may be expected in time to come, is experiment.
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This standard is peculiarly applicable to the subject of population. Malthus seems in one respect fully to concur in this way of viewing the subject. There are two methods of approaching the question, the first, by deriving our ideas respecting it from the volumes of sacred writ, and the second, by having recourse to such enumerations, statistical tables, and calculations, as the industry of mere uninspired men has collected; and Mr.
Malthus has made his election for the latter. Robert Wallace, an able writer on these subjects, whose works have lately engaged in a considerable degree the attention of curious enquirers, Edition: current; Page: [ 23 ] has taken the opposite road. Malthus, on the contrary reposes throughout his Essay on the pure basis of human experience and unenlightened human reason; and I have undertaken to write a refutation of his theories.
He has chosen his ground; and I follow him to the contest. He had made no allusion to Adam and Eve, and has written just as any speculator in political economy might have done, to whom the records of the Bible were unknown. If there is any thing irreverend in this, to Mr. Malthus, and not to me, the blame is to be imputed. He has constructed his arguments upon certain data , and I have attempted nothing more than the demolishing of those arguments. If any one shall be of opinion that the whole question is in the jurisdiction of another court, the Treatise I am writing has nothing to do with this.
I design nothing more than an investigation of mere human authorities, and an examination of the theories of the Essay on Population; and I leave the question in all other respects as I found it a. To return. It will appear, I think, in the course of our discussion, that population is a subject with which mankind as yet are very little acquaint, ed. But let us first recollect what it is that we are supposed to know. And I will first state those things which are admitted by Mr. Malthus, and which appear to make very little for the support of his system.
The globe we inhabit may be divided into the Old World and the New. Our knowledge of the history of Europe and Asia extends backward some thousand years. We know a little of the history of Africa. America was discovered about three hundred years ago, but has not in many of its parts been by any means so long a place of reception for European colonies. Malthus does not venture to carry his appeal on the subject of population there, farther back than one hundred and fifty years b.
Well then, how stands the question of population in the Old World? Malthus freely and without hesitation admits, that on this side of the globe population is, and has long been, at a stand he might safely have added that it has not increased as far back as any authentic records of profane history will carry us.
He brings forward some memorable examples of a striking depopulation c : he might have added many more: he would certainly have found it difficult Edition: current; Page: [ 25 ] to produce an example equally unequivocal, of an increase of population, in any quarter of the Old World. As to South America, and the indigenous inhabitants of North America, it is hardly to be disputed, and Mr.
Malthus is very ready to admit, that they have sustained a melancholy diminution since the voyage of Columbus d. Such then is, so far, the foundation of our knowledge, as afforded us by experience, on the subject of population. Malthus has brought forward an exception to all this, which I shall hereafter take occasion fully to examine, in a certain tract of the globe, now known by the.
The pith of Mr. Malthus's book therefore, and a bolder design has seldom entered into the mind of man, is to turn the exception into the rule, and the whole stream of examples in every other case, into exceptions, that are to be accounted for without detracting from the authority of the rule.
The Essay on Population is the most oddly constructed, of any book, pretending to the character of science, that was perhaps ever given to the world. The first chapter, containing sixteen pages, comprises the whole doctrine upon which the work is founded. He that should read the first chapter, and no more, would be in possession of every thing in the book, that is solid and compressed, and bears so much as the air of science.
The next pages, f the most considerable portion of the work, are wholly employed in assigning causes why every region of the globe, in every period of its history, part of the United States of America for the last one hundred and fifty years excepted, appears to contradict the positions of Mr. Malthus's theory. This is done by exhibiting certain checks on population, the whole of which, as will more fully appear hereafter, falls under the two heads of vice and misery.
The remainder of the work treats of the different systems or expedients which have been proposed or have prevailed, as they affect the evils which arise out of the author's principle of population g , and of our future prospects respecting the removal or mitigation of these evils h. Now upon this shewing, I affirm that Mr. Edition: current; Page: [ 27 ] Malthus is the most fortunate man that ever lived, Sterne's king of Bohemia himself not being excepted i. Notwithstanding this glaring rottenness and fallacy in the first concoction of his work, the author has carried the whole world before him; no other system of thinking on the subject is admitted into the company of the great; hundreds of men who were heretofore earnest champions of the happiness of mankind have become his converts; and though, I believe, from thirty to forty answers have been written to the Essay on Population, not one of them, so far as I know, has undertaken to controvert the main principle and corner-stone of his system.
The strength of Mr. Malthus's writing wholly depends upon his intrenching himself in general statements. If we hope for any victory over him, it must be by drawing him out of his strong hold, and meeting him upon the fair ground of realities. The hypothesis of the Essay on Population is this. The human species doubles itself in the United States of America every twenty-five years: therefore it must have an inherent tendency so to double itself: therefore it would so double itself in the Old World, were not the Edition: current; Page: [ 28 ] increase intercepted by causes which have not yet sufficiently engaged the attention of political enquirers.
To clear up this point let us consider how many children may be allowed to a marriage, upon the supposition that the object is barely to keep the numbers of the human species up to their present standard. In the first place it is clear, that every married pair may be allowed two upon an average, without any increase to the population, nay, with the certainty of diminution if they fall short of this, In the next place it is unquestionable, that every child that is born, does not live to years of maturity, so as to be able to propagate the.
I should have thought therefore, that we might safely allow of three children to every marriage, without danger of overstocking the community. It will hereafter appear that all political economists allow four, it being the result of various censuses and tables of population, that one-half of the born die under years of maturity k. To this number of children to be allowed to every marriage upon an average, the purpose being barely to keep up the numbers of our species to the present standard, something must be added, Edition: current; Page: [ 29 ] in consideration of the known fact, that every man and woman do not marry, and thus put themselves in the road for continuing their species.
When Mr. Malthus therefore requires us to believe in the geometrical ratio, or that the human species has a natural tendency to double itself every twenty-five years, he does nothing less in other words, than require us to believe that every marriage among human creatures produces upon an average, including the prolific marriages, those in which the husband or wife die in the vigour of their age or in the early years of their union, those in which the prolific power seems particularly limited, and the marriages that are totally barren, eight children. All this Mr.
Malthus requires us to believe, because he wills it. Let it never again be made one of the reproaches of the present day, that we are fallen upon an age of incredulity. I am sure no false prophet, in the darkest ages of ignorance, could ever boast of a greater number of hoodwinked and implicit disciples, than Mr.
Malthus in this enlightened period. How comes it, that neither this author, nor any one for him, has looked into this view of the question? There are such things as registers of marriages and births. To these it was natural Edition: current; Page: [ 30 ] for Mr. Malthus to have recourse for a correlative argument to support his hypothesis. For the difference between the United States and the Old World does not, I presume, lie in the superior fecundity of their women, but that a greater number of children are cut off in the Old World in years of nonage, by vice and misery.
We double very successfully if they double in the first period; but we do not, like them, rear our children, to double over again in the second. Naturally therefore he would have produced a strong confirmation of his hypothesis, by shewing from the registers of different parts of the world, or of different countries of Europe, that every marriage does upon an average produce eight children: and if he had done this, I think he would have saved me the trouble of writing this volume.
Something however has been done in the way of collating the registers of marriages and births; and of this I shall make full use in my Second Book. It may however be objected, that there are Edition: current; Page: [ 31 ] two ways in which an increase of population may be intercepted; either by the number of children who shall perish in their nonage, through the powerful agency, as Mr. Malthus informs us, of vice and misery; or by certain circumstances which shall, cause a smaller number to be born: it may not therefore be merely by the ravages of an extensive mortality, that population in the Old World is kept down to its level.
Malthus himself has furnished me with a complete answer to this objection. Malthus has retained to the last all the conclusions Edition: current; Page: [ 32 ] drawn from these postulata , and as his argument respecting the impracticability of a permanent state of equality among human beings, founded upon the parity of these two propositions, stands in the Fifth Edition verbatim as it stood in the first p , I cannot myself consent to his withdrawing his premises, at the same time that he retains the inferences built upon them.
Malthus has added in his subsequent editions, to the two checks upon population, viz. It is clearly therefore Mr.
Malthus's doctrine, that population is kept down in the Old World, not by a smaller number of children being born among us, but by the excessive number of children that perish in their nonage Edition: current; Page: [ 33 ] through the instrumentality of vice and misery. Let us then proceed to illustrate this proposition, in its application to our own beloved country of England. We will take its present population at ten millions.
Of this population we will suppose five millions to be adults. There must then, according to the statement of Dr. Franklin and other calculators, be ten millions of children, born and to be born from these five millions of adults, to give us a chance of keeping up the race of Englishmen. Of these ten millions five millions must be expected to die in their nonage, according to the constitution and course of nature.
Malthus demands from us, by virtue of his geometrical ratio, ten millions of children more than our unsuspecting ancestors ever dreamed of, that is, eight children for every pair of adults. I say eight, because, if in countries where they have room and every facility for rearing their children, two perish in their nonage out of the first four, there can be no reason that I can apprehend, why as many should not perish out of the second four.
Thus it appears that, for every five millions that grow up to the estate Edition: current; Page: [ 34 ] of man and woman, twenty millions of children are born, of which fifteen millions, every where in the Old World, perish in their infancy. The first five millions of those who die in this manner, constitute a mortality that we must be contented to witness, since such, it seems, is the condition of our existence. But the next ten millions I should call a sort of superfetation of alternate births and deaths, purely for the benefit of the geometrical ratio. But where is the record of all this?
In most civilized countries some sort of register is kept of births, marriages, and deaths. I believe no trace of these additional births which Mr. Malthus has introduced to our acquaintance, is any where to be found. Were all these children sent out of the world, without so much as the ceremonies of baptism? Were they exposed among the wilds of Mount Taygetus, or cast into the Barathrum, or hurled from the Tarpeian rock, or carelessly thrown forth, as Mr.
Malthus says the Chinese infants are in the streets of Pekin? For my own part, I am disposed to require some further evidence on the subject, than merely to be told they must have been born and have died, in defiance of all received evidence on the subject, because such is the inference that follows from the principles of the Essay on Population. In reality, if I had not taken up the pen with the express purpose of confuting all the errors of Mr. Malthus's book, and of endeavouring to introduce Edition: current; Page: [ 35 ] other principles, more cheering, more favourable to the best interests of mankind, and better prepared to resist the inroads of vice and misery, I might close my argument here, and lay down the pen with this brief remark, that, when this author shall have produced from any country, the United States of North America not excepted, a register of marriages and births, from which it shall appear that there are on an average eight births to a marriage, then, and not till then, can I have any just reason to admit his doctrine of the geometrical ratio.
Les hommes ne multiplient pas aussi aistment qu'on le pense. IT is not a little singular, and is proper to be commemorated here, that a controversy existed in the early part of the last century, as to the comparative populousness of ancient nations, or the contrary. One of the leaders in this debate was the celebrated Montesquieu; and what he says on the subject is so much to the purpose, that I shall translate the passage.
How happens it that the world is so thinly peopled in comparison with what it was formerly? How is it that nature has wholly lost that prodigious fecundity which she boasted in earlier times? Is it that she is in her decrepitude, and is hastening to her final extinction? Though its present population is confined to the towns, they are themselves mere vacancy and a desart: it seems as if they subsisted for no other purpose, than to mark the spot where those magnificent cities formerly stood, with whose policy and whose wars history is filled.
There were single Roman citizens, who possessed ten, and even twenty thousand slaves, without including those they used for rustic employments: and as the numbers of the citizens alone amounted to 4 or ,, we cannot calculate the entire population of this great city, without reaching to a number at which the imagination revolts. The times are no more, when she was obliged to separate her population into portions, and to send forth, as in swarms, colonies and whole nations, to seek some new spot where they might dwell at large.
That Asia Minor, which boasted so many powerful monarchies, and so prodigious a number of great cities, has now but two or three cities within her limits. As to the Greater Asia, that part which is subject to the Turk is in no better condition, and for the part over which our monarch reigns [Persia], if we compare it with its former flourishing condition, we shall see that it contains but a very small residue of the population which anciently furnished the innumerable hosts of Xerxes and Darius.
All these princes, with the extent of country over which they preside, have scarcely in their subjection so many as fifty thousand human beings. I seem to see a race of beings, just escaped from the ravages of an universal plague, or an universal famine. Its princes are now so feeble, that they are strictly the smallest powers in existence. What is most astonishing is, that its population everyday grows thinner; and if it goes on at the same rate, in one Edition: current; Page: [ 40 ] thousand years more, the race of man will be extinct.
Yet it is hardly attended to, because it proceeds by insensible degrees, and spreads itself over such a series of ages. But that very thing proves incontestibly, that there is an innate vice, a concealed and inaccessible poison, a wasting disease, which clings to our nature, and cannot be removed a. It is surprising, if the Persian Letters ever fell in the way of Mr. Malthus's juvenile reading, that this impressive representation should not a little have startled him, amidst his. It would seem to require considerable strength of nerve, in the face of such a picture, to preach his doctrine of depopulation; for such in the sequel it will be discovered to be.
I know that this representation of Montesquieu has been controverted, and that among others it has fallen under the acute examination of Hume. But the most I think that Hume has effected, is to throw some portion of uncertainty on the subject. It may be worth while to remark how gross and obvious are the mistakes into which a careless observer inevitably falls upon this question of population.
He goes into a village or a little town, and he is struck with the number of children he sees, playing, skipping, laughing, crying, paddling in the dirt, and almost running under his horse's feet, as he passes along. If he made an enumeration of the inhabitants of the village, would he find that the number of children taken together exceeded the number of inhabitants arrived at years of maturity? The result of the American census, as we shall presently see, is that half the inhabitants are under, and half above sixteen years of age.
But, it has appeared from all the Tables, that if the present race of grown men and women did not produce children to the amount of double their own number, the race of mankind could not be kept up, consequently, if at any given period, as in America, the children only equal the adults in number, we must depend upon the recruits to be added every year, for the preservation of our species. If those that have already become mothers universally ceased to become mothers in future, and devolved the task wholly upon their offspring, and this were repeated from period to period, it would be a matter of no difficult calculation Edition: current; Page: [ 42 ] to determine the precise era at which the human race would be extinct.
And what is the ground of this general mistake? Simply that we see those who are born, hut do not see those who die. They are consigned to the silent grave, and we soon learn almost to forget that, they ever existed. Hence Mr. Malthus and others would terrify us with the spectre of an imaginary overpopulation.
Xerxes, I suspect, understood this matter much better, when he wept to think that, of the millions of men that passed in review before him in his march into Greece, not one would bt alive at the end of one hundred years. Every old man is accustomed to the remark, that he sees ail his contemporaries dying from around him, and that he is left in a manner alone in a new world. We depend entirely and exclusively upon the rising generation for the future population of the earth. In a few years I and my present readers of the year will have all left the stage, and the children that live under our roofs, or that we see in the streets, will be the only men and women, to conduct the affairs, and continue the race, of human kind.
1Night Stand Series by Valerie Mann
Mr Malthus, and men like Mr. Malthus, who have been accustomed to look with a jealous eye, and with certain feelings of terror and alarm, upon the number of little children they meet with, would, if they maturely considered this, contemplate the spectacle with a very different sentiment. Nothing can be more ludicrous than that part of Mr. Malthus's book, in which, for successive pages, he professes to treat of the checks by which population has actually been kept down to the level of the means of subsistence, whether in ancient or modern times. He acknowledges that in most countries population is at a stand.
He takes little notice of the many instances, both in ancient and modern times, in. And he affirms, upon what evidence it is one of the special objects of this book to examine, that population, if unchecked, would go on, doubling itself every twenty-five years, or in a much shorter period, for ever.
Now, if Mr. Malthus had intended a fair and full examination of this question, he should have set down, in the first place, in each country how many children, in the natural order of things, would be born, and then have proceeded, in the second place, to show how they were cut off. This would have been to have reasoned like a mathematician, like a genuine political economist, and like a philosopher. But the first of these points Mr. Malthus has uniformly omitted. Since the author of the Essay on Population has omitted this essential part of the consideration, I will endeavour to supply the defect.
The fairest instance on many accounts to begin with, is that of China. In Mr. China is a country that is supposed to be more fully peopled than any other country in the world. According to Mr. Malthus the population of that empire has been wholly at a stand for the last hundred years: for he quotes Du Halde in the beginning of the last century, to confirm the enumeration of Sir George Staunton at the end of it, and concludes that these two Edition: current; Page: [ 45 ] authorities substantially agree with each other.
Now China is a country of so uniform a tenour, its manners, its customs, its laws, its division of property, and its policy continuing substantially the same, that, if the population has been at a stand during the last century, there is every reason to suppose it has been at a stand, perhaps for ten centuries. China therefore is the most desirable instance that can be taken, of any old country, upon which to try the doctrine of the geometrical ratio. China has other advantages of no mean importance to the application of our argument.
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When they're assigned to the same project, she's shocked at how much she actually likes about him Before long Audrey is seriously falling for Zach-and indulging in an affair that's against company policy. And the stakes rise when it's clear only one of them can get ahead.
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COMING SOON - SPRING 2015
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