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CHAPTER I.: of the present state of the globe as it relates to human subsistence. - 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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of the present state of the globe as it relates to human subsistence.
the pith of all Mr. Malthus's speculations lies in establishing a geometrical ratio for the power of increase in the human species, and an arithmetical ratio for the power of increase in the means of subsistence: and his capital inference is, that, at least in all old settled countries, or rather in all countries, except those where land is to be had freely, or at a very low rate, and agriculture is understood, the population is continually limited and kept down by the limits of the means of subsistence, and there is always a somewhat greater number of inhabitants, than the food of the country will fully and wholsomely nourish.
We have already enquired into the solidity of the doctrine of the Essay on Population, respecting that excessive tendency of the human species to increase, which it represents as “a source of mischief to mankind, in comparison with which all the evils entailed upon us by human institutions, however erroneous or oppressive, are in reality light and superficial,” and scarcely deserve the name of calamity. We have seen, that it is at least problematical, whether there is a tendency in the human species to increase, and that, for any thing that appears from the enumerations and documents hitherto collected, it may be one of the first duties incumbent on the true statesman and friend of human kind, to prevent that diminution in the numbers of his fellow-men, which has been thought, by some of the profoundest enquirers, ultimately to threaten the extinction of our species.
It is proper that we should now proceed to examine the other branch of Mr. Malthus's doctrine, that which relates to the means of subsistence; concerning which he will be seen to have fallen into errors not less ill-founded and pernicious, than those which concern the possible numbers of mankind.
I might indeed content myself to dismiss this part of my subject with all possible brevity. Having, I trust, for ever put to rest Mr. Malthus's geometrical ratio for the increase ot mankind, I might rest satisfied with his arithmetical ratio for the increase of the means of subsistence, as abundantly sufficient to satisfy all the demands which the human species are ever likely to make upon it. But there are many reasons why I do not think proper to stop here.—To proceed then.
The first thing perhaps that would arrest the observation of an enlightened enquirer, who should set himself down to survey the globe we inhabit according to the latest authorities, is the scanty and sparing way in which man, of whose nature we are, and in many respects with good reason, so proud, is scattered over the face of the earth. What immense deserts, what vast tracts of yet unconquered forests, the asylum only of wild beasts, or of the most pernicious and contemptible animals, have we occasion to observe! When I travel even through many parts of England, it seems to me that I pass through a country, which has but just begun to be reclaimed from the tyranny of savage nature. I believe I may venture to affirm that there is one third of the island which does not yet feel the hands of the cultivator; not to mention the very imperfect and inadequate manner in which the other two-thirds are turned to use. Man seems formed to subdue all these, to chase the wild beasts and either to tame or destroy their species, to fell the forests, and to render the most ungrateful soil productive. If indeed we are qualified to “increase, and multiply, and replenish the earth,” it might be hoped that, at a period however distant, the whole surface of all lands might be “cultivated like a garden.” But, for some reason or other, the very reverse of this is glaringly and deplorably the case.
And it is in a world, thus cheerless and melancholy in the point of view in which we are considering it, that Mr. Malthus has thought it opportune to blow the trumpet of desolation. He tells us, that the chief evil we have to fear is from the too great increase of population, and that this evil not only threatens to fall upon us, when the whole earth shall be subdued and turned to use, but that, “at every period during the progress of cultivation, from the present moment to the time when the whole shall become like a garden, the distress for the want of food will be, more or less, constantly pressing on mankinda .”
[a]Vol. II, p. 220,