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POSTSCRIPT. - William Godwin, Of Population. An Enquiry concerning the Power of Increase in the Numbers of Mankind 
Of Population. An Enquiry concerning the Power of Increase in the Numbers of Mankind, being an Answer to Mr. Malthus’s Essay on that Subject (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1820).
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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.
“You guess rightly, in supposing that I should hear with pleasure of your intending to controvert Mr. 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 political economy. If you are victorious, you will deserve a civic crown.”
A zealous friend from the North writes to me in these terms:
“I have now to report the opinion of a good friend of yours and of mankind, to whom I communicated the great object that at present employs your pen. ‘Implore Mr. Godwin,’ he exclaimed, ‘not to be in a hurry in publishing, and not to dispute with Malthus the prolific principle of population in new countries. The great and conclusive argument against Malthus, is the increase of refinement, luxury, dissipation, debauchery, and great cities, in old countries.’ [This appears to me to be Mr. Malthus's own statement, and not an argument against him.] I add further, several of your friends here are of the same opinion, and feel considerable solicitude about the view you seem to be taking of the question.”
A gentleman of the most eminent literary attainments writes to me thus:
“Though I have a great esteem for Malthus, I shall certainly read your work with the most respectful attention, and I shall open it with the assurance that, if it does not altermy opinion, it will exercise and delight my mind.”
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.
“I wish your work on population success; the views of Mr. 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 in the House of Commons, delivered December 16, 1819- See the Morning Chronicle.
“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, the worst expedients were used to calumniate the writers by whom that principle was mainly supportedf , 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 directedg .”
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. two years, occupied my almost undivided attention, I should have suppressed my work.—There is certainly a wide difference between, the being seduced (as so many men have been), by; the, specious simplicity of Mr. Mal-thus's system, and the case of him who is, “fully prepared” to maintain its tenets.
“Russia being mentioned as likely to become a great empire by the rapid increase of population:—Johnson. 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. Boswell. But have not nations been more populous at one period than another? Johnson. 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.”