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faint and delusive as it may appear, is, in fact, the greatest blessing that man is capable of enjoying. There is no feeling that cheers a man in his journey through life like the consciousness that he is rising in the world. Every trifling advance, that brings him nearer to the object of his wishes, is a source of joy and exultation ; while all the labour and time it has cost him is at once and for ever forgotten.
Let us for a moment suppose the reverse of this to be the fact, and the rich to be the redundant classes, from which the deficiencies among the poor are to be supplied. Observe the result. Instead of this world being a world of hope, it would become one of despondency; instead of a man striving to raise himself in it by his industry, he would live only fearful of falling lower ; and fancy, which paints the stations of wealth and authority that lie above us of too bright a hue, exaggerates in like manner the miseries of poverty. The necessary business of this world would be gone through in the languor of despondency, if not in the bitterness of disappointment. Children nursed in luxury would live to
labour, while those born to labour would live to beg, to seek charity from others whose means were found insufficient for the support of their own families. Wretched indeed would be the existence of those who found themselves driven back, step by step, from every object of their hope, love, or ambition.
The advance of civilization, therefore, diminishes the chance of sickness, and extends the average duration of life, and occasions the amount of population to be more and more regulated and restrained within the limits of its means of subsistence, by the diffusion of wealth and comforts, and less by misery, privation, and disease, among the poor.
HOW THE AMOUNT OF POPULATION IS ADAPTED
TO THE VARIATIONS IN THE FUND FOR THEIR
“ Why, let the strucken deer go weep,
The hart ungalled play:
HAMLET, Act III., Scene II.
It has been before shewn how, in the ordinary progress of society, with every advance of population, the unprolific classes gradually include a larger portion of the community; and thus the rate of increase is retarded, as the funds for their support becomes straightened.
But the extent of the wealthier classes is regulated solely by the state of civilization, while the amount of population is necessarily limited by the supply of available food. Now
there being no immediate connexion between the state of civilization and the supply of available food, it is evident that any temporary change in either must derange their mutual relation.
Take the case in which one-fifth of a civilized nation is destroyed by a pestilence. Here the amount of wealth in the country continues the same, while only four-fifths of the population remain to enjoy it. The various articles of luxury and comfort to be distributed to each of the survivors will be augmented one-fifth. Jackson, in his account of Morocco, describing the effect of the plague, observes, that “men who before the pestilence were common labourers, immediately after it found themselves possessed of thousands, keeping horses without knowing how to ride them.” Just after the great pestilence in the reign of Edward the Third, a day's labour would purchase a bushel of wheat, while just before, it would hardly have purchased a peck. Thus, by such a sudden reduction in the numbers of the population the proportion of those living in ease and plenty would be greater : and if the increase of mankind were solely regulated by the state of civilization, the following results might be expected :-namely; after the thinning of the population by the pestilence, the proportion of the unprolific classes would be augmented, and instead of an accelerated rate of increase to fill up the void, a further diminution would be induced; which effect, in like manner, becoming a cause, might again reduce the population, and thus the numbers of the people might continue to fall off, until they became extinct, or reduced to a few individuals.
The reverse of this is, however, known to take place, a very rapid increase universally following a great mortality.
Some other cause must therefore exist, which more immediately adapts the amount of population to its means of subsistence.
In every country at all advanced in civilization, there are two distinct causes of unprolificness, (understanding by the word prolificness the power of rearing children so as to increase the numbers of the population.) The first is found in the small proportion of births. This cause of un