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to HE checks to population, T which are constantly operating with more or less force in every society, and keep down the number to the level of the means of stubsistence, may be classed under two general heads—the preventive, and the positive checks. “The preventive check, is peculiar to man, and arises from that distinctive superiority in his reason‘ing faculties, which enables him to calculate distant consequences.— Plants and animals have apparently no doubts about the future support of their offspring. The checks to their indefinite increase, therefore, are all positive. But man cannot look around him, and see the distress which frequently presses upon those who have large families—he Cannot ği. present possessions or earnings, which he now nearly consumes himself, and calculate the amount of each share, when with very little addition they 1803.
must be divided, perhaps, among
'seven or eight, without feeling a
doubt, whether if he follow the bent of his inclinations, he may be able to support the offspring which he will probably bring into the world. In a state of equality, if such can exist, this would be the simple question. In the present state of society other considerations occur. Will he not lower his rank in life, and be obliged to give up in great measure his former society Does any mode of employment present itself by which he may reasonably hope to maintain a family Will he not at any rate subject himself to greater difficulties, and more severe labour than in his single state Will he not be unable to transmit to his children the same advantages of education and improvement which he had himself ossessed ? Does he even feel secure that, should he have a large family, his utmost exertions can save them - from
rags, and squalid poverty, and their consequent degradation in the community? And may he not be reduced to the grating necessity of forfeiting his ... and of being obliged to the sparing hand of charity for support 2 “These considerations are calculated to prevent, and certainly do prevent, a great number of persons in all civilised nations from pursuing the dictate of nature in an early attachment to one woman. “If this restraint do not produce vice, as in many instances is the case, and very generally so among the middle and higher classes of women, it is undoubtedly the least evil that can arise from the principle of population. Considered as a restraint on an inclination, otherwise innocent, and always natural, it must be allowed to produce a certain degree of temporary unhappiness; but evidently slight, compared with the evils which result from any of the other checks to population. “When this restraint produces vice, as it does most frequently among men, and among a numerous class of females, the evils which follow are but too conspicuous. A promiscuous intercourse to such a degree as to prevent the birth of children, seems to lower in the most marked manner the dignity of human nature. It cannot be without its effect on men, and nothing can be more obvious than its tendency to degrade the female character, and to destroy all its most amiable and distinguishing characteristics. Add to which, that among those unfortunate females with which all great towns abound, more real distress and aggravated misery are perhaps to be found, than in any other department of human life.
“When a general c ion of morals, with regard to Sex, pervades all the classes of society, its effects must necessarily be, to poison the springs of domestic happiness, to weaken conjugal and parental affection, and to lessen the united exertions and ardour of parents in the care and education of their children; effects, which cannot take place without a decided diminution of the general happiness and virtue of the society; particularly, as the necessity of art in the accomplishment and conduct of intrigues, and in the concealment of their consequences, necessarily leads to many other vices. “The positive checks to population are extremely various, and include every cause, whether arising from vice or misery, which in any degree contributes to shorten the natural duration of human life. Under this head, therefore, may be enumerated, all unwholesome occupations, severe labour and exposure to the seasons, extreme poverty. bad nursing of children, great towns, excesses of all kinds, the whole train of common diseases and epidemics, wars, pestilence, plague, and famine. * On examining these obstacles to the increase of population, which I have classed under the heads of preventive and positive checks, it will appear that they are all resolvable into moral restraint, vice. and misery, “Of the preventive checks, that which is not followed by irregular gratifications, may properly be termed moral restraint. “Promiscuous intercourse, unnatural passions, violations of the marriage bed, and improper arts to conceal the consequences of irregular connexions, clearly come “Of the positive checks, those which appear to arise unavoidably from the laws of nature may be called exclusively misery; and those which we obviously bring upon ourselves, such as wars, excesses, and many others which it would be in our power to avoid, are of a mixed nature. They are brought upon us by vice, and their consequences are misery. “In every country, some of these checks are, with more or less force, in constant operation; yet notwithstanding their general prevalence, there are few states in which there is not a constant effort in the population to increase beyond the means of subsistence. This constant effort as constantly tends to subject the lower classes of society to distress, and to prevent any great permanent amelioration of their condition. “These effects, in the present state of society, seem to be produced in the following manner:— We will suppose the means of subsistence in any country, just equal to the easy support of its inhabitants. The constant effort towards population, which is found to act even in the most vicious societies, increases the number of people before the means of subsistence are increased. The food, therefore, which before supported eleven millions, must now be divided among eleven millions and a half. The poor consequently must live much worse, and many of them be reduced to severe distress. The number of labourers, also, being above the proportion of work in the market, the price of labour must tend to fall; while the price of provisions would at the same time tend to rise. The labourer, therefore, must do more work, to earn the same as he did before. During this
under the head of vice.
season of distress, the discouragements to marriage, and the difficulty of rearing a family are so great, that population is nearly at a stand. In the mean time the cheapness of labour, the plenty of labourers, and the necessity of an increased industry among them, encourage cultivators to employ more labour upon their land; to turn up fresh soil, and to manure and improve more completely what is already in tillage; till ultimately the means of subsistence may become in the same proportion to the population, as at the period from which we set out. The situation of the labourer being then again tolerably comfortable, the restraints to † are in some degree loosened; and, after a short period, the same retrograde and progressive movements, with respect to happiness, are repeated. “ This sort of oscillation will not, probably, be obvious to common view ; and it may be difficult even for the most attentive observer to calculate its periods. Yet that, in the generality of old states, some such vibration does exist, though in a much less marked and in a much more irregular manner than I have described it, no reflecting man who considers the subject deeply, can well doubt. “One principal reason why this oscillation has been less remarked, and less decidedly confirmed by experience than might naturally be expected, is, that the histories of mankind which we possess, are, in general, histories only of the higher classes. We have not many accounts that can be depended upon, of the manners and customs of that part of mankind where these retrograde and progressive movements chiefly take place. A satisfactory history of this kind, of one N 2 . people people and of one period, would 1cquire the constant and minute attention of many observing minds in local and general remarks on the state of the lower classes of society, and the causes that influenced it; and to draw accurate inferences upon this subject, a succession of such historians for some centuries would be necessary. This branch of statistical knowledge has of late years been attended to in some countries, and we may promise ourselves a clearer insight into the internal structure of human society from the o of these inquiries. But the science may be said yet to beinits infancy, and many of the objects, on which it would be desirable to have information, have been eitheromitted or not stated with sufficient accuracy. Among these perhaps may be reckoned, the proportion of the number of adults to the number of marriages; the extent to which vicious customs have prevailed in consequence of the restraints upon matrimony; the comparative mortality amon the children of the most distresse part of the community, and of those who live rather more at their ease; the variations in the real price of labour; the observable differences in the state of the lower classes of society with respect to ease and happiness, at different times during a certain period; and very accurate registers of births, deaths, and marriages, which are of the utmost importance in this subject. “A o history, including such particulars, would tend greatly to elucidate the manner in which the constant check upon population
acts; and would probably prove
the existence of the retrograde and progressive movements that have been mentioned; though the times of their vibration must necessarily
be rendered irregular from the operation of many interrupting causes, such as the introduction of or failure of certain manufactures, a greater or less prevalent spirit of agricultural enterprise : years of plenty, or years of scarcity; wars, sickly seasons, poor laws, emigration, and other causes of a similar nature. “A circumstance which has, perhaps, more than any other contributed to conceal this oscillation from common view is, the difference between the nominal and real rice of labour. It very rarely appens that the nominal price of labour universally falls; but we well know that it frequently remains the same, while the nominal price of provisions has been gradually rising. This is, in effect, a real fall in the price of labour; and, during this period, the condition of the lower classes of the community must be gradually growing worse. But the farmers and capitalists are growing, rich from the real cheapness of labour. Their increasing capitals enable them to employ a greater number of men; and, as the population had probably suffered some check from the greater difficulty of supporting a family, the demand for labour, after a certain period, would be great in proportion to the supply, . price would of course rise, if left to find its natural level; and thus the wages of labour, and consequently the condition of the lower classes of society, might have progressive and retrogrademovements, though the price of labour might never nominally fall. “In savage life, where there is no regular price of labour, it is little to be doubted that similar oscilla
limits of the food, all the preventive and the positive checks will maturally operate with increased force. Vicious habits with respect to the sex will be more general, the exposing of children more frequent, and both the probability, and fatality, of wars and epidemics, will be considerably greater; and these causes will probably continue their operation till the population is sunk below the level of the food ; and then the return to comparative plenty, will again produce an increase, and after a certain period, its further progress will again be checked by the same causes. “But without attempting to establish in all cases these proressive and retrograde movements in different countries, which would evidently require more minute histories than we possess, the follow
ing propositions are proposed to be proved : . “l. Population is necessarily limited by the means of subsistence. “ 2. Population invariably increases, where the means of subsistence increase, unless prevented by some very powerful and obvious checks. “ 3. These checks, and the checks which repress the superior power of population, and keep its effects on a level with the rneans of subsistence, are all resolvable into moral restraint, vice, and misery. “ The first of these propositions scarcely needs illustration. The second and third will be sufficiently established by a review of the past and present state of society, “ This review will be the subject of the following chapters.”
Useful and ENTERTAINING Proble Ms in MEcHAN ics.
[From Dr. Hutton’s TRANslation of OzANAM’s RecREAtions.]
blown bladders below their arms. But these methods are attended with inconveniences, which may be remedied in the following man
ner. “ Between the cloth and lining of a jacket, without arms, place small pieces of cork, an inch and a half square, and about half or three quarters of an inch in thickness. They must be arranged very near to each other, that as little space as possible may be lost; but yet not so close as to affect, in any degree, the ‘flexibility of the jacket, which must be quilted to prevent their moving from their places. The jacket must be made to button round the body, by means of strong buttons, well N 3 sewed