« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
0 0 NT ENTS,
DEDICATION, . . . . . . . .
ADVERTISEMENT, . . . . . .
Award, . . . . . . . . .
“In the adoption of the system of Education, I foresee an enlightened peasantry, frugal, industrious, sober, orderly, and contented, because they are acquainted with the true value of fru. gality, sobriety, industry, and order; crimes diminishing, because the enlightened understanding abhors crime; the practice of Chris. tianity prevailing, because the mass of your population can read, comprehend, and feel its divine origin, and the beauty of the doc. trines which it inculcates; your kingdom safe from the insult of the enemy, because every man knows the worth of that which he is called upon to defend.”
Speech of the late Samuel Whitbread, Esq., M. P.
THE Philosophy of Population, though it has recently excited much attention and produced ample discussion, does not seem even now to have obtained that place in Human Studies which it so well deserves. It is strange that it should bear this modern date. Since in every country the questions it embraces must have been of almost equal importance,—the failure threatening the industrial resources, as the excess does the subsisting means, of every community,+it is a ground of surprise that we can find scarcely any notice of it, any reference to it, in the writings of antiquity. It was, doubtless, a subject of anxious thought to many who lived in the remotest periods of the earth. B
The sage in his contemplations, the statesman in his projects, could not utterly neglect or slight it. With a terrible earnestness it demanded the attention of both. Plato, indeed, in his ideal of a State, has not wholly overlooked it. Speaking on certain regulations of marriage, he causes his great interlocutor, Socrates, to state the alternatives, “That as far as possible our city may be neither too full nor too empty.” The void exhausted by frequent famines, the waste left by exterminating wars, would sometimes peril the being of peoples and the identity of nations. Grave was the problem, how these devastations might be repaired. Redundance was not, on the other hand, unattended by difficulties. Though the world may not have been filled with its present number of inhabitants, some parts of it were densely thronged. The swarm gathered in the fruitful vale. Wherever, too, the limit of a country was narrow, not lying in the depth of a continent but shut in by shores,-not spreading over a champagne but imprisoned by mountains,—increase would become more likely, from the higher cultivation of the soil, from the demand of domestic manufacture, and from the prevention of any outgrowth of itself beyond the bounds which local necessity had set. Scarcely less grave was the problem, how these augmented wants might be supplied. The records have not been kept, but it cannot be doubted, that profound musings, that
sagacious conjectures, that comprehensive schemes,