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« Ει αρα τον πρωθον λογον διασωσομεν, τους Φυλακας ημίν των αλλων πασών δημιουργιων αφειμενους, δειν ειναι δημιουργους ελευθερίας της πολεως πανυ ακριβεις, και μηδεν αλλο επίτηδευειν ό, τι μη εις τούτο φερει ουδεν δη δεοι αν αυτους αλλο πραττειν ουδε μιμεισθαι· εαν δε μιμων/αι, μιμεισθαι ........ ανδρειους, σωφρονας, οσιους, ελευθερους, και τα τοιαυτα παντα τα δ' ανελευθερα μητε ποιειν, μήτε δεινους ειναι μιμησασθαι.”
Plato.-De Republica, Lib. iii. “If, therefore, we are to hold to our first reasoning, that our Governors, without interfering in any other Manufacture whatsoever, ought to be the most accurate Manufacturers of the Liberty of the State, and to mind nothing but what has some reference to it,-it were surely proper that they neither did, nor imitated, any thing else. But if they should so far exceed their province as to affect such imitation, let them emulate models which are manly, wise, pure, and free, and all the kindred virtues. In no possible case can it be their duty to follow Slavish measures.”
“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 frugality, sobriety, industry, and order; crimes diminishing, because the enlightened understanding abhors crime; the practice of Christianity prevailing, because the mass of your population can read, comprehend, and feel its divine origin, and the beauty of the doctrines 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. 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, have always more or less agitated the mind of the wise and the good, touching their species in this particular view of it,-its repression or its multiplication. Philanthropy, of no degree or direction, could overlook that which involved its every exercise. A hoary dignity, unquestionably, rests upon the science, however its discoveries lie buried with the fathers of the world.
The Sacred Volume has gathered up certain notations of this great study of our nature, which are worthy of their register. It points us to Him who “enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them.”* It assures us that it must be on account of His anger against our wickedness, if he “multiply the nation," and withhold the proper consequence by not "increasing the joy." + The greatest proportion of human beings to their earthly dwelling-place is always assumed by it to be a good, a thing to be desired. God, it assures us, “made it to be inhabited.” “He hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.” Is the Parent described ? “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.” Is the might of Thebes, with its hundred gates, proclaimed ? It is “populous No.” The highest blessing takes this form, as if there could not be excess : “For thy waste and thy
* Job xii. 23. + Isa. ix. 3.
desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants.”* Guarding with holy jealousy and fearful judgment every violation of purity, consecrating marriage as “the true source of human offspring,” no man can be an intruder in the world. His birth gives right of place and provision in it. Parental sin may, in the opinion of society, throw a shame around him. It may be the wisdom of society to treat him differently from the home-born child. But what if no inheritance greet him? What if yearning and high anticipation have not hailed him ? The genial fount of maternal nourishment was not denied the babe; and the joyless mother, in the sense of its undeserved wrong, has sometimes entwined it in only a fonder embrace. We need not fret ourselves with fears of too many guests for the banquet of nature. The prolificness of our kind has its own limits, and wants not our checks. He, who bids the poorest, has spread the board. He has established the proportion between the numbers and the viands. There is bread enough and to spare. Want may exist in the destitution of the means by which a share of that provision can only be obtained. That is not the enquiry. Is there necessity for that privation ? Except in the arid or frozen wastes, there is not local dearth: even their rigours may be overcome. Cultivation finds new powers in the most unyielding soil: ocean has scarcely been skimmed for
* Isa. xlix. 19.