- Book I.: Of the Population of Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America, In Ancient and Modern Times.
- Chapter I.: Introduction.
- Chapter II.: Survey of the Creation From Natural History.
- Chapter III.: General Views As to the Alleged Increase of Mankind.
- Chapter IV.: General View of the Arguments Against the Increase of Mankind.
- Chapter V.: Numbers of Mankind In Ancient and Modern Times.
- Chapter VI.: Illustrations From the History of China
- Chapter VII.: India.
- Chapter VIII.: South America.
- Chapter IX.: Paraguay.
- Chapter X.: Sparta.
- Chapter XI.: Rome.
- Chapter XII: Miscellaneous Observations.
- Chapter XIII.: Views of Man and Society Which Result From the Preceding Facts.
- Book II.: Of the Power of Increase In the Numbers of the Human Species, and the Limitations of That Power.
- Chapter I.: Proofs and Authorities For the Doctrine of the Essay of Population.
- Chapter II.: Animadversions On Mr. Malthus'ss, Authorities.
- Chapter III.: Principles Respecting the Increase Or Decrease of the Numbers of Mankind.
- Chapter IV.: Accounts Which Are Given of the Population of Sweden.
- Chapter V.: Inferences Suggestd By the Accounts of Sweden.
- Chapter VI.: Observations On the Swedish Tables Continued.
- Chapter VII.: Recapitulation of the Evidence of the Swedish Tables.
- Appendix to Chapters Iv, V, & VI.
- Chapter VIII.: Population of Other, Countries In Europe Considered
- Chapter IX.: Principles Respecting the Increase Or Decrease of the Numbers of Mankind Resumed.
- Chapter X.: Of the Population of England and Wales.
- Chapter XI.: Proofs of the Geometrical Ratio From the Phenomenon of a Pestilence.
- Dissertation On the Ratios of Increase In Population , and In the Means of Subsistence. By Mr. David Booth.
- Book III.: Of the Causes By Which the Amount of the Numbers of Mankind Is Reduced Or Restrained.
- Chapter I.: Futility of Mr. Malthus's Doctrine Respecting the Checks On Population.
- Chapter II.: Of Deaths and the Rate of Human Mortality.
- Chapter III.: Attempt Towards a Rational Theory of the Checks On Population.
- Chapter IV.: Attempt Towards a Rational Theory of the Checks On Population Continued.
- Chapter V.: Mr. Malthus's Eleven Heads of the Causes Which Keep Down Population Considered.
- Chapter VI.: Observations On the Countries In the Neighbourhood of the River Missouri.
- Book IV.: Of the Population of the United States of North America.
- Chapter I.: Introduction.
- Chapter II.: Of the Topography and Political Condition of the United States.
- Chapter III.: History of Emigration From Europe to North America In the Seventeenth Century.
- Chapter IV.: History of Emigration to North America From the Year 1700 to the Present Time .
- Chapter V.: Retrospect of the History of Population In the United States.
- Chapter VI.: Of the Amount of Births In the United States.
- Chapter VII.: Of the Period At Which Marriages Are Formed..
- Chapter VIII.: Diseases In the Territory of the United States.
- Chapter IX.: Reports of the Population of the United States Analysed and Examined.
- Book V.: Of the Means Which the Earth Affords For the Subsistence of Man.
- Chapter I.: Of the Present State of the Globe As It Relates to Human Subsistence.
- Chapter II.: Of the Number of Human Beings Which the Globe Is Capable of Maintaining On Our Present Systems of Husbandry and Cultivation.
- Chapter III.: Calculation of the Productive Powers of the Soil of England and Wales.
- Chapter IV.: Causes of the Scarcity of the Means of Human Subsistence.
- Chapter V.: Causes of the Scarcity of the Means of Human Subsistence Continued.
- Chapter VI.: Of the Improvements of Which the Productiveness of the Globe For the Purposes of Human Subsistence Is Capable
- Chapter VII.: Of the Principles of a Sound Policy On the Subject of Population.
- Book VI.: Of the Moral and Political Maxims Inculcated In the Essay On Population.
- Chapter I.: Character and Spirit of the Essay On Population Delineated.
- Chapter II.: Of the Positions Respecting the Nature of Man Upon Which the Essay On Population Is Constructed.
- Chapter III.: Of the Doctrines of the Essay On Population As They Affect the Principles of Morality.
- Chapter IV.: Of the Doctrines of the Essay On Population As They Affect the Condition of the Poor.
- Chapter V.: Of the Doctrines of the Essay On Population As They Affect the Condition of the Rich.
- Chapter VI.: Of Marriage, and the Persons Who May Justifiably Enter Into That State.
- Chapter VII.: A Few Contradictions In the Essay On Population Stated.
- Chapter VIII.: Of Wages.
- Chapter IX.: Conclusion.
of the doctrines of the essay on population
as they affect the principles of
The proper tendency of Mr. Malthus's system, is to persuade us to sit still, or rather to deliver ourselves bound hand and foot, into the hands of the awful and mysterious power, that presides over “those deeper-seated causes of evil,” in comparison with which human institutions are “mere feathers that float on the surface.” For, as I have already observed, and this I apprehend none of Mr. Malthus's disciples will be disposed to contend with me, if human institutions can do comparatively no harm, it must, in fairness, and consistency of reasoning, be admitted that they can do as little good.
To this doctrine of quietism there can properly, upon our author's principles, be but one limitation; and that is from the consideration of the mischiefs to be apprehended from all attempts at improvement. As the elder Cato concluded all his speeches upon whatever subject in the Roman senate, with, Remember Carthage! so Mr. Malthus is bound upon every occasion to lift his warning voice, and exclaim, Remember Utopia! Reject every measure, however specious in its appearances, that looks that way! The proper question upon every new legislative proceeding that is suggested, is, Does it not interfere with “those causes, which contribute in whatever degree to shorten the natural duration of human life?”
When he had done all this however, and properly completed the mighty web of his theory, there was a latent sentiment remaining in the author's mind that all was not right. This doctrine of quietism, and of negatively presenting a front of resistance against all improvements, hardly amounted to his idea of a Treatise upon Political Economy. He was accordingly seized with the ordinary passion, that in ancient times modified the obsolete systems of Plato and Aristotle, and became desirous to be doing. Strangely therefore, and with an inconsistency hardly to be accounted for, but from the original infirmity of our nature,
- —— veleres avias tibi de pulmone revello,
towards the conclusion of his book he proposes to enquire respecting “our rational expectations with regard to the future improvement of society .” The checks for which he has pleaded through three ample volumes, strike him as somewhat too horrible, and he proposes certain restrictions to counteract these checks.
The general head under which Mr. Malthus classes his restrictions, is not the least extraordinary part of his work. It stands thus: “In every point of view, a decrease of mortality at all ages is what we ought to aim at .” This, for an author who sets out with telling us that the human species, in all past ages, and in all ages to come, would have gone, and will go, on to double their numbers every twenty-five years, were it not for those checks, “whether arising from vice or misery, which in various degrees contribute to shorten the natural duration of human life,” must be acknowledged to be pretty well. It is the increase of mortality, or of deaths, by which we are to be saved. It is the “decrease of mortality” that the Essay on Population now turns round to recommend. Mr. Malthus knows that moral restraint is a very feeble resource, that men will go on to marry and have children, notwithstanding all he can do to prevent them, and that death, the grand agent and first minister to the geometrical ratio, is all we have to rely on to keep down the numbers of mankind. On this occasion however he is desirous “to soften down some of the harsher conclusions of his first Essay.”
Well then: in what manner is it that our author enters upon his new project of diminishing the mortality of mankind?
He has several very different ways, which he proposes for this end. They may all however be reduced to two: 1, the securing that no child, and no human creature, in the lower walks of society, should be subsisted, but by his own labour, or that of his parents; and 2. the providing that the reward of labour, and consequently the power of every man to subsist either himself or his children, should to the operating hand be reduced within the narrowest bounds.
These are the restrictions that Mr. Malthus proposes, to check the excessive inroads of vice and misery upon mankind: and it may therefore reasonably be remarked, that the author of the Essay on Population has the talent, to render his benefits no less odious than his injuries.—Of each of these restrictions in its turn.
The first thing that Mr. Malthus attacks under this branch of his subject, is the poor-laws of England, upon which he pronounces the sweeping censure, that they are “an evil, in comparison of which the national debt, with all its magnitude of terror, is of little moment .” The national debt is in its capital amount eight hundred and fifty millions, and the interest forty-seven millions per annum: the poor-rates are put down by Mr. Malthus at three millions .
Since however this tremendous evil of a legal provision for the necessitous poor of England is in existence, Mr. Malthus is by all means for its “very gradual abolition .”
“As a previous step to any considerable alteration in the present system,” it appears to our author, that “we are bound in justice and honour formally to disclaim the right of the poor to support .”
And why have they no right?
There was an old maxim, the repetition of which has been attended with some compunction in the minds of the tender-hearted and humane, “He that will not work, neither shall he eat.”
But Mr. Malthus's proscription is of a very different sort, and includes, 1. man in his infancy and childhood, whose little hands are yet incapable of the labour that should procure him the necessaries of life: 2. the aged, whom length of years, and the hardships they have endured, have finally rendered as feeble as helpless infancy: 3. the sick, the cripple, the maimed, and those who labour under one or other of those diseases, which make the most fearful part of the picture of human life: 4. those who, being both able and willing to work, are yet, by the ill constitution of the society of which they are members, or by some of those revolutions to which perhaps all societies are liable, unable to procure employment. These are the persons, whom “in justice and honour” we are bound to inform, that they have no claim of right to the assistance of their prosperous neighbours.
There is no need of informing them, that they have no right, founded in political law, to assistance, except in those countries, and to that extent, where and to which a provision is made for that purpose, as by the poor-laws of England.
But Mr. Malthus's appeal is to a very different jurisdiction. He denies that they have any right in morality to the assistance of their neighbours.
There are two heads and springs of moral duty, as far as this country of England is concerned; the first of which is to be found in the records of the Christian religion, and the other in the instructions we derive from the light of nature. I should not think myself justifiable on the present occasion in over-looking the first.
The lessons of Christianity on this subject are plain and incontrovertible. We are there taught to “love our neighbours as ourselves,” and to “do unto others as we would they should do unto us.” When an ingenuous young man came to Jesus Christ, desirous to be instructed in his duties, he was referred to the commandments; and, having answered, “All these have I kept from my youth up; what lack I yet?” Christ bade him, “Go, sell all that he had, and give to the poor:” upon which “the young man went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.”
There is a kind of Oriental boldness in this, at least considered as a general exposition of the moral law: for it would be reasonable to answer, If it is my duty to render the greatest benefit to my fellow-creatures, and if my mind is well prepared to discharge this duty, it will probably be better done, by my devoting my income to this purpose, than by at once divesting myself ot the principal.
But nothing can be more clear than the general tenour of revelation in this question. By it we are instructed that we are stewards, not proprietors, of the good things of this life, we are forbidden to pamper our appetites or our vanity, we are commanded to be fellow-workers with and impartial ministers of the bountiful principle of nature, and we are told that, when we have done all, we have done nothing of which we have any right to boast.
Such are the dictates of the Christian revelation in this particular: and in all this there is nothing new, nothing that the light of nature did not as clearly and imperiously prescribe, to every one who was willing conscientiously to enquire into the law of morality.
We are here then furnished with a complete answer to what Mr. Malthus says in another place, that “every man has a right to do what he will with his own .”
Indeed I was beyond measure astonished to find such a sentence as this, in a book professing itself to be a book of science, and in a part of that book treating of the rights of human creatures.
Mr. Malthus could scarcely intend by this any thing so futile, as to inform his readers, that the laws of all civilised countries protect a man, and justly, in the exercise of his own discretion as to the disposal of his property.
Did the author purpose then to be understood as speaking either as a moralist or a divine, when he said; “Every man has a right to do what he will with his own?”
The “right divine of doing wrong,” was formerly confined to kings, the anointed representatives of the author of the universe: but Mr. Malthus extends it to every one who has the power.
In every moral question, or in other words, in every question where the pleasure or pain, the happiness or unhappiness of others is concerned, there is one thing that it is a man's duty to do, and he has no right to do otherwise.
The rich man therefore has no right to with-hold his assistance from his brother-man in distress, except in the sense that he cannot reasonably be brought under the jurisdiction of a court of justice, for his breach of the moral law in this respect.
The rights of any man as to his treatment of his fellow-man, are rights of discretion merely: in other words, that no man must attempt to compel him to do, that which it is his duty to do. The appeal is exclusively to the judgment of him who is to act; but he is bound to inform his judgment to the utmost of his power, and rigorously to adhere to the unbiased decisions of that judgment. So far is it from being true, that “every man has a right to do what he will with his own.”
These are the fundamental principles of moral law; and, though they are so plain, that the most uninstructed man may comprehend them as soon as they are announced, they cannot be repeated too often.
Thus stood the principles of morality, before Mr. Malthus wrote his Essay on Population.
The rich man believed in these principles; and, though he perpetually offended against them by the sums he wantonly expended upon his appetites and his vanity, his conscience always reproached him. This was still something.
The poor man believed in these principles; and, though he saw how little they prevailed in the world at large, yet he had the consolation to know what ought to be, and to compare it with what was. No man had yet approached him, perishing with cold and hunger under a shed, and taunted him with, This is exactly as it should be. The poor man is not a perfectly sound judge in his own case: he could not affirm, This is the very man, possessed of opulence, by whom I ought to be relieved; for he could not tell what claims that man had upon his power of affording assistance to others. But he could tell, when “lewdly-pampered luxury” consumed its heaps in “vast excess,” that this was not well; and that “every man had not a right to do what he would with his own.” He knew that he could not, in law or morality, compel the rich to part with their superfluity; but he did not less know that the poor, that is, the infant, the helpless old, the sick, and the man who cannot procure employment, has “a right to support.”
In this belief he was borne out by the light of nature, and by the gospel. Neither the evangelists, nor apostles, nor the Holy Spirit that inspired them, were aware that all these maxims were subverted by the “principle of population.”
Mr. Malthus indeed, as far as he has succeeded in his Essay, has changed the situation of the rich and the poor.
To the poor he has taught, that if they receive any relief, they owe it, not to any claim they had to relief, but to what he sometimes calls the spontaneous charity and pure benevolence of the rich; though, since, as he tells us, “private charity almost invariably leads to pernicious consequences g,” he [should have said they owe it, to the want of fortitude and firmness in the rich, and to their vices.
To the rich also he has read an important lesson. A great portion of this class of society are sufficiently indisposed to acts of charity, and eminently prone to the indulgence of their appetites and their vanity. But hitherto they had secretly reproached themselves with this, as an offence against God and man. Mr. Malthus has been the first man to perform the grateful task of reconciling their conduct and their consciences, and to shew them that, when they thought they were allowing themselves in vice, they were in reality conferring a most eminent and praiseworthy benefit upon the community.