Gustave de Molinari, Les Soirées de la rue Saint-Lazare: entretiens
sur les lois économiques et défense de la propriété (Evenings on Saint
Lazarus Street: Discussions on Economic Laws and the Defence of Property)
[A Draft of Liberty Fund's new translation]
[May 17, 2012]
[SUMMARY: On state charity and its influence on
population. – The
law of Malthus.
– Defence of Malthus. – On the population of Ireland. – How
to put an end to Ireland’s woes. – Why state charity creates an artificial
growth in population. – On its moral influence on the working class. – That
state charity discourages private charity. – On the quality of the population. – Ways
of improving the population. –
The mixing of races. – Marriage. – Successful marriages. –
Ill-matched marriages. – Their influence on race. – In what situation,
under what regime would the population most easily maintain itself at the level
of its means of existence.]
Title Page of the original 1849 edition
The photo of Molinari (1819-1912) which accompanied
his obituary in the Journal des économistes
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Molinari's book Les Soirées de la rue Saint-Lazare; entretiens sur les
lois économiques et défense de la propriété. (Paris: Guillaumin, 1849)
is being translated by Liberty Fund. The translation was done by Dennis O'Keeffe
and it is being edited by David M. Hart. The critical apparatus of foontnotes
and glossary entries, and introduction are being provided by David Hart.
We welcome feedback from Molinari scholars to ensure that this edition will
be a great one and thus befitting Molinari in his centennial year.
page has a detailed Table of Contents and links to other Chapters.
The Tenth Evening
SUMMARY: On state charity and its influence on population. – The
law of Malthus.
– Defence of Malthus. – On the population of Ireland. – How
to put an end to Ireland’s woes. – Why state charity creates an artificial
growth in population. – On its moral influence on the working class. – That
state charity discourages private charity. – On the quality of the population. – Ways
of improving the population. –
The mixing of races. – Marriage. – Successful marriages. –
Ill-matched marriages. – Their influence on race. – In what situation,
under what regime would the population most easily maintain itself at the level
of its means of existence.
I will speak to you today about the disruption and disasters caused by state
the welfare institutions maintained , organized and financed at the government’s
expense and that of the regional départéments and communes. These institutions,
whose costs are met by all taxpayers without distinction, constitute one of
the most harmful of the attacks on property. From the point of view of the
Here we go. Ecce iterum Crispinus. Here is Crispinus again. The
Malthusian returns. I wager you are going to call for the abolition of welfare
offices in the interests of the poor [p277]; but you will not be listened to
I warn you. The 1848 Constitution imposed on society the obligation to provide
And society will be well able to fulfill this duty.
Then so much the worse. How can a government help the poor? By giving them
money or help in kind. Where can this money and this help be found? In the
taxpayers’ pockets. You see the government forced therefore to resort to the
Poor Rate, that
is to say to the most frightful engine of war which has ever been directed
against the poor.
Certainly, that is an insult which honors me . I am a Malthusian when it comes
to the population, I
am a Newtonian when it comes to gravity, and a Smithian when we are talking
about the division of labor.
We are definitely going to fall out. I began, if I have to confess it to you,
by letting myself be shaken by your doctrines. I was surprised to find myself
praising property and admiring its very fertile results...but, it would be
impossible for me to admire Malthus and even more impossible to praise him.
What! You would actually dare to undertake the justification of that blasphemer
who himself dared to say that “a man arriving without means of existence on
land already occupied, will have to leave”, of that heartless economist [p278]
who was the apologist of infanticide, plague and famine! You could as well
defend Attila or Mandrin.
You will bear witness that we detest Malthus as much as you yourselves do.
Le Constitutionnel recently displayed its disregard for this deplorable fetish
of English political economy.
Have you read Malthus?
I have read the passages quoted by Le Constitutionnel.
And I have read the passages quoted by M. Proudhon.
These are the same, or rather it is the same, for it is that passage alone
they quote. Moreover, however barbaric this passage seems, it is for all that
the expression of the truth.
What an abomination!
And yet they contain an essential human truth, as I will prove to you.
Tell me, then, do you think that the earth can provide all the raw materials
necessary for the maintenance of a limitless number of human beings?
Definitely not! The earth can never feed more than a limited number of inhabitants.
Fourier reckoned this number at [p279] three to five billion. The population today, however,
numbers scarcely a billion.
You accept that there is a limit, and indeed it would be absurd to maintain
that the world could feed two, three, four or five hundred billion people.
Do you believe that the reproductive power of the human race is limited?
I could not say.
Look at everything which lives or grows and you will find that nature has
been immensely generous with the seeds it supplies. Each kind of vegetable
spreads a thousand times more seeds than the land makes fertile. Animal species
are likewise provided with a superabundance of seed.
Could things be arranged differently? If animal life and vegetable life possessed
only limited reproductive power, would not the slightest catastrophe be sufficient
to annihilate their species? Could the organizer of everything have managed
without providing them with almost unlimited reproductive power?
Vegetable and animal species, however, never exceed certain limits, either
because not all the seeds are fertilized, or because some of them which have
been fertilized, die. It is thanks to the non-fertilization of seeds or to
the swift destruction of fertilized ones, that they balance themselves with
the amount of food which nature offers them.
Why should man be shielded from this law which regulates all animal and vegetable
Imagine that man’s reproductive power had been limited, imagine that any union
could produce only two individuals; would humanity then, I will not say have
multiplied, but simply maintained itself? Instead of propagating themselves
in such a way as to people the earth, would not the different races of mankind
have been successively extinguished, through the contingency of sickness, war,
accident etc.? Was it not necessary for man, like the animals and plants, to
be provided with superabundant reproductive power?
If man possesses, like other animal and vegetable species, superabundant powers
of reproduction, what must he do? Must his kind proliferate as they do, leaving
to nature the task of destroying their surplus? Must man reproduce without
worrying about the fate of his offspring any more than animals or plants do?
No, being equipped with reason and foresight, man naturally acts in accord
with Providence to maintain his kind within proper limits; he likewise refrains
from giving birth to beings doomed in advance to destruction.
Doomed to destruction...
Let us see. If man used all his reproductive power as he is only too disposed
to; if the number of men as a consequence were one day to pass the limit of
the means of subsistence, what would happen to the individuals produced in
excess of that limit? What happens to the plants which multiply beyond the
nutritive potential of the soil?[p281]
And can nothing save them?
The productive power of the land could be increased.
Up to a certain limit. That limit reached, however, imagine that the plants
multiplied in such a way as to exceed it. What would be bound to happen?
Obviously in that case the surplus will die.
And can nothing save it?
Nothing can save it.
Well what happens to plants happens also to men, when the limit of their means
of existence is exceeded. That is the law which Malthus recognized and confirmed; there
we find the explanation of this famous passage for which you and yours condemn
him: ‘A man who arrives in a world already occupied, etc’. And how did Malthus
recognize this law? By looking at the facts! By establishing that in all the
countries where population has passed the means of subsistence, the surplus
has perished through famine, illness, infanticide, etc., and that the destruction
has not ceased to carry out its funereal function until the point where population
has been pulled back to its necessary equilibrium.
To its necessary equilibrium...So you think that the countries where Malthus
investigated his law would not have been able to feed their excess population;
you think that our beautiful France, where harsh circumstances decimate generations
of poor people, could not feed those who die prematurely.
I am convinced that France could feed more people and feed them better if
the multitude of economic abuses which I have drawn to your attention had ceased
to exist. While we are waiting, however, for light to be shone upon these abuses,
while we wait for them to disappear, it is wise not to go beyond the present
means of subsistence. Therefore let us demand, vigorously, the reforms necessary
to push back the limits of the means of subsistence, and also let us recommend
with Malthus, until that is achieved, prudence, abstinence and moral restraint. Later,
when the complete emancipation of property has rendered production more abundant
and distribution more just, abstinence will become less rigorous, without,
however, ceasing to be necessary.
Does not this abstinence, this moral restraint, hide a gross immorality?
What immorality? Malthus thought that people were rendering themselves guilty
of a real crime by bringing into the world beings destined inevitably to perish.
He advised, consequently, [p285] that we abstain doing so. What do you find
immoral in this advice?
Nothing, but you know very well that complete abstinence is not possible in
practice, and God knows what immoral compromise you have conjured up.
I beg you to believe that we have conjured up nothing at all. The compromise
of which you speak was being practiced long before Malthus was busy working
on the laws of population. Political economy never recommended it, speaking
only of moral restraint.....As for deciding whether this compromise is immoral
or not, this is not a matter for us economists; consult in this connection
the Academy of Moral and Political Science (moral science section).
I will, without fail.
I understand very well that the population can exceed the limits set by the
means of subsistence; but is it easy to establish that limit? Can we say, for
example, that the population has gone beyond the subsistence limit in Ireland?
Yes, and the proof of it is that every year a part of the Irish population
dies from hunger and poverty.
While the rich and powerful aristocracy which exploits Ireland has a splendid
existence in London and Paris.
If you looked closely at the causes of this monstrous inequality, you would
locate them once again in the attacks made against property. For several centuries
confiscation was the order of the day in Ireland. Not only did the Saxon conquerors confiscate
the land-holdings of the Irish people, but they also destroyed Irish productive
output, by burdening it with hugely damaging restrictions. These barbarities
came to an end but the social conditions they established were maintained and
aggravated, to England’s great shame.
Add it was to England’s profit too.
No, because today Irish poverty is maintained and increased on the one hand
by the special taxes which England imposes on herself to feed the poor of Ireland,
and on the other by the routine taxes she raises to protect the persons and
property of the Irish aristocracy.
What, are you saying you would like England to let the Irish poor perish without
What, do you want England to permit the murder of Irish property owners and
the pillaging of their property?
I would like to see England to say to the aristocratic proprietors in Ireland:
“You possess the greater part of Irish capital and land; well, defend your
property yourselves. I no longer wish to devote a single man or a single shilling
to this venture. Nor do I [p285] want to continue any more to maintain the
poor souls you have allowed to multiply on the soil of Ireland. If the wretched
Irish peasants unite to burn your country houses and share out your estates
between them, so much the worse for you. I do not wish to concern myself any
longer with Ireland”.
Ireland would ask for nothing better, as you know. “Be so kind”, said the
elderly O’Connell to
the members of the British Parliament, “as to take your hands off us. Leave
us to our own destiny. Allow us to govern ourselves”!
If England complied with this constant request from the champions of Irish
independence, what would happen to Ireland? Do you think the aristocracy would
abandon its rich estates to the mercy of starving bands of white boys? Most certainly
not! It would swiftly abandon its splendid houses in the West End of London
and the Faubourg Saint Honoré in Paris, to
go to the defence of its threatened properties. It would then understand the
need to heal Ireland’s terrible wounds. It would use its capital to develop
and improve agriculture. It would begin to produce food for those it has reduced
to the last extremities of poverty. If it did not take this course, if it continued
in the idle spending of its income abroad, while famine did its evil work in
Ireland, would it manage without outside help, to hold on to its land and property
for very long? Would it not soon be dispossessed of its holdings, by the legions
of the poor who are everywhere in Ireland?
If England withdrew the support of its land and sea forces, [p286] this would
change the situation very markedly; nothing could be surer. Would the Irish
not, however, have an interest in the pure and straightforward confiscation
of the property of this heartless aristocracy?
This would be a very strict application of the idea of retaliation. I do not
know how far it is just, how far it is moral, to punish one generation for
the crimes committed by earlier ones. I do not know if the descendants of the
victims of Drogheda and Wexford have the right to make the present landowners
of Ireland expiate the crimes of brigands in the pay of Henry VIII, Elizabeth
and Cromwell. But
to conceive the problem from the simple point of view of utility, the Irish
would be wrong to confiscate the wealth of their aristocracy. What would they
do with it? They would have to share it between a vast number of peasants,
who would end up exhausting the soil, for lack of the capital to apply to it.
On the contrary, by respecting the aristocratic holdings, they would allow
this rich, powerful and enlightened class to take care of the transformation
of the land and thus contribute its proper share in the elimination of Irish
poverty. The Irish poor would be the principal beneficiaries.
As long as English taxpayers, however, bear the costs of supplying security
to the landowners, and food to Ireland’s poor, you may be sure that the former
will continue with the idle spending of their wealth abroad and the latter
with their rapidly increasing numbers in the midst context of a dreadful poverty.
You may also be quite sure that the Irish situation will go from bad to worse.
That English taxpayers should cease paying the costs of the government of
Ireland seems entirely proper to me; but would it not be inhuman to abandon
the Irish poor to their fate?
The Irish landowners should be left to struggle with them. Left to themselves
the Irish aristocrats will impose on their own class the harshest sacrifices
to maintain their poor. This is what their interest will require, since charity,
all things considered, is less expensive than repression. They will, however,
measure the help they give precisely in relation to the real needs of the population.
To the extent that the development of production will increase the employment
of labor, it will diminish the total of almsgiving. The day when output is
sufficient to feed the population, the aristocracy will cease its regular contributions
to poverty relief. In this new circumstance, no artificial causes will be such
as to promote excessive population growth in Ireland.
So you believe that state charity causes an artificial and abnormal growth
This fact has been clearly established, following the inquiries relating to
the Poor Rate in England. This
fact is effortlessly self-explanatory. What do the institutions known as relief
agencies do? They distribute the means of subsistence to the poor, gratis.
If these institutions are established by law, if they introduce an assured
source of income, if they constitute a patrimony for the poor, people will
always be found people to devour [p288] that income, to enjoy that patrimony;
we will encounter them all the more, as charitable institutions become more
numerous, richer and more accessible.
You will then see a slackening in the powerful motivation which impels a man
to work so as to feed himself and his family. If the Parish or Commune grants
the worker a wage supplement, he will reduce proportionately the length of
his working day and the sum total of his efforts; if people open crèches
and shelters for children, he will have more of them. If hospices are
founded and retirement pensions established for the elderly, he will cease
worrying about the fate of his parents and about his own old age; if, finally,
hospitals are opened for impoverished sick people, he will stop saving up against
the days of illness. Soon you will see this man whom you have freed from the
obligation to fulfill most of his duties towards his own and towards himself,
devoting himself like a brute to his vilest instincts. The more charitable
institutions are opened, the more you will see taverns and brothels opening
too... Ah, well-meaning philanthropists, socialists of almsgiving, you take
it upon yourselves to provide for the needs of the poor, as the shepherd undertakes
to provide for those of his flock, you substitute your own responsibility for
individual responsibility and you think the worker will continue to prove hardworking
and farsighted! You think he will still work for his children when you have
arranged for the cheap raising of this human livestock in your crèches;
you think that when, at his expense, you have opened free hospices, he will
continue looking after his old father; you think he will still save against
the [p289] bad times when your welfare agencies and hospitals have been made
available to him. You had better think again! In eliminating responsibility
you have eliminated foresight too. Where nature has put men, your communistic
philanthropy will soon leave only beasts.
And these brutes whom you have created, these brutes deprived of all moral
sense, will proliferate in numbers to the point where you will be quite incapable
of feeding them. Then you will utter cries of distress, in which you will condemn
the evil leanings of the human heart and the doctrines which overheat them.
You will cast anathema on sensual indulgence, you will denounce the incitements
of the daily newspapers and I do not know what else. Unhappy people!
The abuse of charitable institutions can without doubt cause grave disorder
in economy and society; but is it possible to dispense entirely with these
institutions? Can we leave the multitudinous poor to die without help?
Who is talking to you of leaving them to die without help? Let private charity
freely go about its business and
it will help them more than your official institutions do! It will help them
without breaking family links, without taking the old man away from his son,
without depriving the sick husband of the care his wife and daughters will
provide. Private charity springs from the heart and respects the heart’s attachments.
State charity does not impede private charity.
You are wrong. State charity discourages private charity, or causes it to
dry up. The state charity budget in France reaches a hundred million. That sum is levied
on the income of all taxpayers. Now private charity is not drawn from some
alternative source. When the state charity budget is increased, the private
one is therefore necessarily decreased. And the diminution on one side exceeds
the increase on the other. When society takes care of the maintenance of the
poor, are we not naturally inclined to leave their care to society? We have
paid a contribution towards the state charity agency, so that is where we send
the poor. This is how the heart becomes closed to charity.
Another even more efficacious means has been employed, however, to root out
from our souls, the most noble and generous feeling that the Creator has planted
there. We may not have dared to forbid the rich to engage in charity but we
have certainly forbidden the poor to ask for it. French law regards begging as a crime and
it punishes the beggar as though he were a thief. Begging is strictly forbidden
in most of our provinces. Well, if the poor man commits a crime by accepting
alms, does not the rich man become an accomplice by giving it to him? Charity
has become criminal by virtue of the law. How can you want that noble plant
to remain sturdy, when everything you do serves to wither and destroy it?
It could indeed be the case that state enforced charity has diminished voluntary
giving. According to your own doctrines, however, is [p291] this a social ill?
If charity provokes the artificial growth of the population, if as a consequence
it engenders more ills than it cures, is it not desirable that we reduce it
to its minimum, nay that we even abolish it entirely?
I have said to you that state charity necessarily results in the artificial
development of the population, I did not speak to you about private charity.
I beg you not to confuse them. However developed private charity is, it remains
essentially precarious, it does not supply a stable and regular provision to
a specific segment of the population; nor, moreover, does it change any of
the moral motivation of the human soul.
He who receives material aid from an office of state welfare, or goes into
a hospital where he is coldly received, where he sometimes even serves as a
guinea pig for experiments, neither feels nor could feel any gratitude for
the service rendered to him. Moreover, to whom would he address his gratitude?
To government or to the taxpayers? But the government is represented by cold
accountants and the taxpayers pay their dues most reluctantly. The man whom
society helps could not possibly feel gratitude towards a cold abstraction.
He will be more inclined to think that society is acquitting itself of its
debt to him and reproach it for not doing so more amply.
By contrast, a person whose poverty is relieved by an active and sensitive
charity, almost always keeps alive the memory of this kindness. By receiving
help, he contracts a moral obligation. Well, rich or poor, the average man
[p292] does not like to contract more obligations than he can repay, morally
or materially. He will accept a kindness graciously, but he will not agree
to live on kindness. He would resign himself to the hardest sacrifices, he
would load himself with the most repugnant tasks, rather than remain forever
dependent on his benefactor. He would die of shame if he were to increase further
the burden of his indebtedness through a culpable lack of foresight. Rather
than destroying the moral motivation of the human heart, private charity strengthens
and sometimes develops it. It raises man up rather than degrading him.
Therefore there is no way in which private charity could promote population
growth. It would tend on the contrary to slow it down.
No more could it become, as does state welfare, a dangerous source of divisions
and hatreds. Increase the numbers of so-called philanthropic institutions in
France, continue the state regulation of charity, complete your work by forbidding
him who engages in charity from doing so, as you already forbid him who receives
it from taking it and you will soon see the results.
On the one hand you will find an enormous herd-like group of men, receiving
as though it were so much debt, the harsh and stinting charity of the Treasury.
These men will bitterly resent the wealthy classes for the stinginess of their
charity, in the context of a poverty which that very charity has caused to
On the other hand you will find taxpayers weighed down with taxation and who
shy away from making a heavy burden even heavier, by adding voluntary charity
to the kind already imposed by the state.
In such a situation can public order be maintained for long? Can such a divided
society, one in which no moral link now holds the rich and the poor together,
avoid being torn apart? England was nearly destroyed by the destitution caused
by the Poor Rate. Let us be very fearful of following the same path. Let us
give to charity individually; let us no longer engage in communal philanthropy!...
Yes, I understand clearly the difference between these two forms of charity;
but ought not private charity to be directed and organised?
Leave it alone. It
is sufficiently active and ingenious to distribute its goods in the most functional
way. Its instincts serve it better than your directives ever could.
I agree with you that private charity is preferable to state charity. I even
agree that the latter results in proliferation of poverty. What, though, if
the population increases in such a way as to exceed the number of jobs supplied
by production and by the private charity budget? What should we do then? Would
we have to let the excess population perish?
We would have to get private charity to double its zeal, and above all take
care not to engage in state welfare, for the latter having the inevitable effect
both of reducing the [p294] total funds available to poverty relief and of
increasing the numbers of the poor, would aggravate the ill rather than assuaging
I say, however, that in a society in which the property of all was respected,
under one in which the economic laws which govern society would cease to be
misunderstood and violated, that surplus population would never come about.
Let me first tell you a few words about the factors which depress the quality
of the population, which reduce the numbers of men fit for labor whilst increasing
those of the invalids, idiots and cretins, blind people and deaf-mutes, whom
society must feed.
That is a side to the question which is not without interest.
And one far too neglected.
Man is a combination of diverse possibilities and powers. These possibilities
or powers – of instinct, feeling and intelligence – assume different
proportions as between individuals. The most complete man is the one whose
faculties have the most energy; the most perfect man is the one whose faculties
are at once the most energetic and the most harmoniously balanced.
I can more or less see what you wish to assert here; [p295] but do you therefore
think we can act on the breeding of humans as we do on that of animals?
The English have managed to improve their sheep and cattle in an almost miraculous
way; they manufacture sheep – literally – of a certain size, of
a certain weight, and even of a certain colour. How have they obtained these
results? By crossing certain breeds and by choosing among these breeds, those
individuals which will mate the most usefully.
Is it not plausible that the laws which govern the reproduction of animal
species also govern that of man?  Notice that
the numerous races or varieties which humanity comprises, are very diversely
endowed. Among the inferior races, the
moral and intellectual faculties exist only in the embryonic state. Certain
races have some faculties particularly well developed, while the rest of their
organization is backward or feeble. The Chinese, for example, have a highly
developed sense of color; on the other hand they are almost entirely lacking
in the instinct for struggle, or combativeness. The Indians of North America,
by contrast, are distinguished by their instinctual aggressiveness and cunning,
and also by a harmonious ear for sounds.  The
distinctive abilities of races are transmitted without significant modification,
as long as the races do not mix. The Chinese have always been colourists; they
have never been distinguished by their bravery. The Indians [p296] have always
been brave and cunning and spoken in harmonious dialects.
That would lead us to set up stud-farms for the improvement of the human race.
Not at all. It suggests we should get rid of the artificial obstacles which
prevent the different races of humanity from drawing closer.
But this coming together must be directed and controlled.
It will direct and control itself all on its own. The various forces whose
lodgement is the human brain, obey, it would seem, the same law of gravitation
which governs matter. The most forceful faculties attract the weakest ones
of the same species. It is commonly observed, for example, that the gentlest
and least egocentric characters are irresistibly drawn to the most arrogant
and aggressive ones. Large forces attract small ones, the result being an average
closer to the ideal equilibrium of human organisation.
This equilibrium tends to set itself up through the natural and spontaneous
manifestation of individual fellow feeling and affinities. And since all physical
organisation depends on the orderly management of physical, moral and intellectual
faculties, the body improves itself in tandem with the mind.
If you accept this theoretical approach, you have to accept [p297] also that
out of the immense diversity of types and individuals, there must be a coming
together of two beings attracted to each other with the greatest intensity,
whose union yields, consequently, the most workable average. Between these
two beings the union is necessary and eternal. It is called marriage.
Ah! So you support marriage.
I think that marriage is a natural institution. Unfortunately, look what has
happened. Owing to the immense moral and material upheavals society has endured,
very many people have ceased to contract unions based purely on mutual sympathy.
Racial prejudice or financial interest have been preferred as determining criteria,
in the great issue of marriage, to natural affinities. Thus we have seen badly
matched couples, and as a result of these unions, a degeneration, both of individuals
and of the nation. Badly matched unions being liable to break up, those who
make the laws have proclaimed the indissolubility of marriage and prescribed
harsh penalties for adulterers. Despite this law, however, nature has never
ceased to take its course and, in the event, bad marriages have been no less
likely to dissolution.
When a union is badly matched, when two incompatible persons are brought together,
the outcome of this monstrous coupling could scarcely be anything other than
Everybody knows that the superior races who have governed Europe since the
fall of the Roman Empire, have mostly been of bastard stock. Why? Because natural,
mutual attractions, rarely determined their [p298] unions. Royal families in
particular rarely formed alliances other than in the light of political interests.
So they degenerated more swiftly and completely than the others. What would
have happened to the French Bourbons after the reign of the imbecile Louis
XIII, if it had not regained energy from the vigorous blood of the Buckinghams? What
happened to the Bourbons of Spain and Sicily, the Habsburgs and the offspring
of the House of Hanover? What other families have produced so many cretins,
idiots, monomaniacs and scrofulous offspring?
Let us look at the history of the French nobility in this light. In the Middle
Ages, purely material considerations seem to have exerted only a feeble influence
on aristocratic marriages, as the history and literature of the time reveal.
So this stratum maintained itself healthy and vigorous. Later, marriages became
mere associations of lands and names. Marriages were negotiated between families
rather than being arranged between the truly interested parties. People who
did not know each other got married. What was the result? That proper marriage
became a mere fiction and that adulterous relationships proliferated, to the
point of becoming the norm. An unhealthy promiscuity ended up by penetrating
the French aristocracy and corrupting it to its very marrow.
The same abuses are reborn in our times. The inflated fortunes that monopolies
and privileges have given birth to, tend to link up, despite natural propriety.
Civil law, by establishing the right to an inheritance, has contributed
further to making marriage a matter purely of material interests. Finally,
the instability which menaces all our lives under the present economic regime,
has brought about [p299] an avid search for those sordid pairings which it
is conventional to call good marriages.
Those imperfect and depraved souls who spring from badly matched unions and
clandestine liaisons, being able neither to manage their wealth, or earn their
living, rely on the support of their families or on public largesse. In Sparta,
they were drowned in the river Eurotas. Our customs are gentler. We leave
these semblances of humanity, fruits of greed or carnal licence, to vegetate.
If it would be a sin to destroy them, however, is it not an even greater sin
to give birth to them?
If you make short work of bad laws and prejudices which prevent the useful
coming together of different human types, or which encourage the sordid pairing
of material interest to the detriment of marriages based on mutual attraction,
you can significantly improve the quality of the population, and by the same
token you relieve charity of a substantial part of its burden.
All things returning to their natural order, an excess population would never
then be anything we need fear.
I define as excess any level exceeding both the jobs made available by production
and the ordinary resources of charity.
Do you think then that we will always have to have recourse to charity?
I do not know. It will depend absolutely on the education and foresight of
individuals. If we assume a society where property is fully respected, where
the openings for [p300] labor will always be at their maximum, where at the
same time the distribution of information on labor transactions will always
enable us to know whether there is an excess supply of labor or a shortage, it is obvious
that in that society the employable proportion of the population will be kept
in work without difficulty.
When the supply of labor exceeds the demand, as I have said to you, the price
of labor falls with such rapidity, that the workers, like all other buyers
and sellers, have an interest in withdrawing part of their commodity from the
market. If they do not withdraw it, if at the same time charitable activity
does work sufficiently to come to the aid of those thrown out of the workshop
and onto the street, the market price of labor can fall far below its costs
What do you mean by the production costs of labor?
I mean the expenditures incurred in order for labor to be produced and to
renew itself. These costs vary, essentially, according to the type of labor.
A man who uses only his physical powers, can, at a pinch, restrict his consumption
to purely physical things; a man who brings into play moral and intellectual
resources, cannot conserve and perpetuate them if he does not look after them
like his physical powers. The production costs of labor are all the higher
when that labor demands the contribution of a larger number of faculties. To
put it in a nutshell, the production costs of labor are proportionate to the
extent and intensity of the efforts involved.
If the remuneration of a particular type of labor ceases to cover its costs
of production, the workers will immediately [p301] direct themselves to branches
of production which demand less effort for the same pay. In this case the price
of labor will immediately rise in the abandoned industry, and equilibrium will
soon be re-established. It is in this fashion that the vast scale of earned
incomes naturally arranges itself, from the remuneration of the monarch to
the pay of the humblest wage-laborer. Unfortunately, privileges and monopolies
often shatter this natural harmony, by setting up excessive levels of pay to
the advantage of certain occupations and certain industries. Freedom alone
establishes a fair pattern of remuneration.
To the extent that the worker uses more of his intellectual and moral faculties
at work, the costs of the production of labor rise. Now in all branches of
production, the progress of machinery has the effect of making labor less physical
and more intellectual. The more such progress proceeds, the more we find the
costs of production of labor rising accordingly. At the same time, the growth
of output, the fruits of progress, permits these augmented costs to be covered.
In an era of barbarism, purely physical labor asks for little and receives
less; in a civilised era, labor demands much and can obtain even more.
This, however, is on condition that the number of workers does not exceed
the number of available jobs, otherwise the market price of labor will fall
irresistibly below its costs of production.
Unless the workers remove the excess supply from the market.
Which they will not fail to do in a completely free society. Surplus workers
could be fed by employed ones, with the help of voluntary charity. In such
circumstances would not the population tend to diminish spontaneously? Insofar
as subsidies by workers and charitable almsgiving extended to more and more
souls, would not the ever growing difficulty of placing their children induce
people to raise fewer of them? In such circumstances moral restraint would
be operative and the natural equilibrium of population effortlessly re-established.
The opposite circumstance would occur if there were insufficient workers for
the available jobs. Quite sure of being able both to feed and find work for
their children, the heads of families would raise more of them. Marriage would
become more popular and children more numerous, until equilibrium had been
restored between population and the means of existence.
This is how the problem of population would be resolved in a regime of full
economic liberty. This is the way, moreover, that it always resolves itself
eventually. In the meantime, however, how much suffering is caused, sometimes
by the artificial and unforeseen contractions in demand for labor, sometimes
by the insufficiency of state charity or the stimulus the latter gives to the
growth of population! These sufferings would be, if not entirely eliminated
in a system where the number of jobs available to labor and the gifts of voluntary
charity were taken to their maximum, at least reduced to the lowest possible
 Cherbuliez makes a distinction between the following forms of charity
which Molinari would have shared: "bienfaisance publique” (public
welfare) which is welfare provided by or with the assistance of any government
body (such as the central State or a Commune), "charité légale” (state
charity) which is a government guaranteed right to charity of all or some
group of citizens, "charité officielle” (official charity) where a
government body assists in the distribution of charity, and "charité
privée” (private charity) which was charity funded and distributed by private
groups voluntarily. Molinari and the economists were especially interested
"charité légale” which became an issue with the promulgation of the
constitution of the Second Republic on 4 November 1848 which stated that
all citizens had a right to government supplied (i.e. taxpayer funded) welfare
(see the Preamble, section VII and Article XIII). It was closely tied in
their minds to the idea of the "droit au travail” (right to a job) which
was another policy pursued by the socialists in the Second Republic. [See,
"Bienfaisance publique,” DEP,
vol. 1, pp. 163-77.]
 Crispinus is a character from Juvenal’s Fourth satire, a man seemingly
with no good features, greedy, merciless and self-indulgent. Decimus
Iunius Iuvenalis, (Juvenal) was a Roman poet who wrote in the late 1st
and early 2nd century AD, most notably his Satires. The reference is to the opening four lines of the 4th Satire which
states (in Latin): Ecce iterum Crispinus, et est mihi saepe uocandus ad
partes, monstrum nulla uirtute redemptum a uitiis, aegrae solaque libidine
fortes deliciae, uiduas tantum aspernatus adulter. In the G.G. Ramsay translation
1918 (Loeb Classical Library): Crispinus once again! a man whom I shall
often have to call on to the scene, a prodigy of wickedness without one
redeeming virtue; a sickly libertine, strong only in his lusts, which scorn
none save the unwedded.
 "Taxe des pauvres” (the poor tax or the Poor Rate, to give it its
English name). The model for a dedicated tax to fund welfare for the poor
was the English Poor Rate which had been created during the Tudor period.
The Act for the Relief of the Poor of 1601 created a system of poor relief
in England and Wales which was administered by local parishes. Those who
were unable to work were cared for "indoors” in an alms house; those
who could work were forced to work "outdoors” in a house of industry;
while vagrants and idlers were sent to a house of correction or prison.
It was funded by the collection of "poor rates” on local property
owners and tenants. A Royal Commission was set up in 1832 to inquire into
reforming the Poor Laws which resulted in the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834.
The official Report was written by the economist Nassau Senior and Edwin
Chadwick: Poor Law Commissioners’
Report of 1834 </title/1461>.
A version of the Poor Laws was enacted for Ireland in July 1838.
 Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1858) is best known for his writings on population,
in which he asserted that population growth (increasing at a geometric
rate) would outstrip the growth in food production (growing at a slower
arithmetic rate). Malthus studied at Jesus College, Cambridge, before becoming
Anglican minister and then a professor of political economy at the East
India Company College (Haileybury). His ideas were very influential among
nineteenth-century political economists. His principal works were An Essay
on the Principle of Population (1st ed., 1798;
2nd revised and enlarged ed. 1803; 6th ed., 1826); Principles of Political
Economy (1820); Definitions in Political
Economy (1827). [See, the list of his works online </person/209>].
Around the time of the publication of the Soirées there were 4 French language editions of Malthus' Principles
of Population translated by P. Prevost: Geneva
1809, Geneva 1824, Guillaumin in Paris 1845 with editorial matter by Rossi,
Charles Comte and Joseph Garnier, and a second Guillaumin edition of 1852
with additional editorial matter by Garnier in defense of Malthus against
 The most outspoken defender of orthodox Malthusianism in France was Joseph
Garnier (1813-1881) who was editor of the JDE from 1845 to 1855. He edited and annotated the Guillaumin edition
of Malthus's book which appeared in 1845 as well as a second edition in
1852 with a long Foreword defending Malthus against his critics. Garnier
wrote the biographical article on "Malthus” and a long entry on "Population”
(which was an extended defense of Malthusianism) for the DEP (1852-53). He also published a condensed version of Malthus' On the
Principle of Population called Du Principe
de population (Paris : Garnier frères, 1857) with
copious commentaries and many appendices. A second edition of Garnier's
epitome was published and edited by Molinari in 1885 following shortly
after Garnier's death in 1881: Du
principe de population (2e éd. augm. de nouvelles notes contenant les faits
statistiques les plus récents et les débats relatifs à la question de la
population), précédé d'une introduction et d'une notice, par M. G. de Molinari (Paris:
 Molinari was a less ardent Malthusian than Garnier as he realized Malthus
had underestimated the ability of the free market, free trade, and industrialization
to increase output at a faster pace than population growth. Nevertheless,
he was an admirer of Malthus for having raised the problem and agreed that
all individuals had to exercise "moral restraint” and foresight, and
responsibly live within their means without being a burden on taxpayers
for support. In his treatise on political economy published shortly after Les
Soirées he was still a fairly strong Malthusian
[see, Cours d'économie politique,
professé au Musée royal de l'industrie belge, 2 vols. (Bruxelles: Librairie polytechnique d'Aug. Decq, 1855).
Vol. 1. La Production et la distribution des richesses. 5e Leçon "La
Population,” pp. 375-425.] but by the time the second revised and enlarged
edition appeared in 1864 he had moderated his views considerably as a result
of a critical review by Charles Dunoyer. He now supported what he called "self-government”
by individuals who would exercise moral restraint "sainement appliquée”
(soundly applied). By this he meant that individuals should enjoy "la
liberté de la reproduction” (the freedom to reproduce) and that any restraint
to be exercised would be "la contrainte libre” (restraint exercised
voluntarily by individuals) and not "la contrainte imposée” (constraint
imposed by the government). [See, Cours
d'Économie politique. 2nd revised and enlarged
edition (Bruxelles et Leipzig: A Lacroix, Verbroeckoven; Paris: Guillaumin,
1863). Tome I: La production et la distribution des richesses. 5e et 6e
Leçons "Théorie de la population,” pp. 391-418, 419-460.] He was still
enough of a Malthusian in the 1880s to edit the second edition of Garnier's
epitome of Malthus' Principle
of Population (1885) and published his own condensed
edition for Guillaumin's "Petite Bibliothèque Économique” (Small Library
of Economics) with a long introduction defending as well as criticizing
Malthus' views: Malthus:
Essai sur le principe de population, ed. G. de
Molinari (Paris: Guillaumin, 1889).
 The infamous passage from Malthus' Principle of Population which
so incensed socialists like Proudhon and our Socialist here only appeared
in the 2nd revised edition of 1803. It was removed in later editions. The
passage comes from Book IV, Chapter VI "Effects of the Knowledge of
the Principal Cause of Poverty On Civil Liberty”: "A man who is born
into a world already possessed, if he cannot get subsistence from his parents
on whom he has a just demand, and if the society do not want his labour,
has no claim of right to the smallest portion of food, and, in fact, has
no business to be where he is. At nature's mighty feast there is no vacant
cover for him. She tells him to be gone, and will quickly execute her own
orders, if he does not work upon the compassion of some of her guests.”
Thomas Robert Malthus, An essay on the principle
of population: or, a view of its past and present effects on human happiness (London:
J. Johnson, 1803), p. 531. The Economists like Garnier explained this away
as a piece of unfortunately chosen rhetoric on Malthus’ part and the idea
that the poor had no just claim to the property of others, but could appeal
to their good nature and sense of charity, voluntarily given. [See the
glossary entry on Malthus???.]
 Louis Mandrin (1725-55) was a famous 18th century brigand and highwayman
who challenged the privileges of the Farm General (la Ferme générale -
"Tax Farmers") by smuggling goods across the French border which
were the monopoly of the Farm General. [See the glossary entry on Mandrin].
 Le Constitutionnel was
the main liberal opposition newspaper during the Restoration period. By
the 1840s it was a shell of its former self, rarely criticizing the establishment.
It was revived in 1847 by Louis-Desire Véron who then sold it for a large
sum in 1849. The paper supported the election of Louis Napoleon in 1848
and when he became Emperor in 1852 it became one of the main supporters
of his government.
 Proudhon quotes this infamous passage from Malthus in Système
des contradictions économiques, ou philosophy de la misère (Paris: Guillaumin, 1846), vol. 1, chap. 1, p. 24. It is interesting
and curious that Proudhon's book was published by Guillaumin the publisher
of most of the books written by the Economists.
 The socialist Charles Fourier (1772-1837) believed that in the new socialist
world the world's population level would stabilize at about 5 billion people
(p. 160). He believed the population crisis would be reached in 150 years
time and this gave the socialists time to put their two part solution into
practice. First, he had a scheme to melt the polar ice caps in order to
provide the water required to expand agricultural output (he does not go
into details in this part of the book). Secondly, the creation of a society
based upon socialist theory ("la théorie sociétaire") would lead
to lower levels of fertility among the female population ("les stériles")
for the following reasons: the increased physical strength or "vigor”
of socialist women; a strict vegetarian diet; the practice of free love;
and the practice of a comprehensive physical exercise program which would
delay the onset of puberty. The net result of these four things would be
a decline in total world population to the desired and sustainable level.
"Complément: L'équilibre de population,” in Le Nouveau monde industriel (Bruxelles:
Société belge de librairie, Hauman et cie, 1841), vol. II, pp. 158-67.
 Molinari uses the phrase “l’ordonnateur des choses” (the organizer of
things) without using any capital letters so we have translated it as “the
organizer of everything” rather than “the Creator” which has a religious
sense which Molinari does not intend here. Elsewhere in the book he does
use the word “Créateur” with this religious sense (3 times) as well as
the more more frequently used word “Providence.”. The phrase “le grand
ordonnateur” was also used by Louis Reybaud in a critical review of Pellegrino
Rossi’s Cours d’économie
politique which Reybaud thought was excessively
Malthusian [see, Louis Reybaud, “Coup d’oeil sur le Cours d’économie
politique,” JDE, vol. 1, 1842, p. 191.
question whether mankind's reproductive behavior was like that of a plant
or an animal was crucial in Bastiat's rethinking of Malthus's theory in
the period between 1846, when he wrote an article on "Population”
for the JDE, vol. 15, October 1846, pp. 217-34, and 1850 when the Economic
Harmonies appeared. Bastiat came to believe that,
unlike plants and animals, humans were thinking and reasoning creatures
who could change their behavior according to circumstances: “Thus, for
both plants and animals, the limiting force seems to take only one form,
that of destruction. But man is endowed with reason, with foresight; and this new factor
alters the manner in which this force affects him” [FEE translation, p.
426]. He also came to the conclusion that there was a significant difference
between the "means of subsistence” and the "means of existence”
- the former being fixed physiologically speaking (either one had sufficient
food to live or one did not) and the latter being an infinitely flexible
and expanding notion which depended upon the level of technology and the
extent of the free market [see FEE trans., pp. 431 ff.]. Malthus focused
on the former, whilst Bastiat (and Say) and later Molinari were focused
on the latter. See, the Bastiat's Chapter 16 on Population in the 1851
edition of Economic
Harmonies and the editor Roger de Fontenay’s Addendum,
pp. 454-64. Under the influence of Bastiat and Dunoyer (see his review
of the 1st edition of Molinari's Cours
d'ec. pol. (1855) reprinted in the 2nd ed of 1864,
pp. ???) Molinari gradually came around to this way of thinking.
 Malthus’s Law states: “I said that population, when unchecked, increased
in a geometrical ratio; and subsistence for man in an arithmetical ratio...
This ratio of increase, though short of the utmost power of population,
yet as the result of actual experience, we will take as our rule; and say,
That population, when unchecked, goes on doubling itself every twenty-five
years or increases in a geometrical ratio… It may be fairly said, therefore,
that the means of subsistence increase in an arithmetical ratio. Let us
now bring the effects of these two ratios together… No limits whatever
are placed to the productions of the earth; they may increase for ever
and be greater than any assignable quantity; yet still the power of population
being a power of a superior order, the increase of the human species can
only be kept commensurate to the increase of the means of subsistence,
by the constant operation of the strong law of necessity acting as a check
upon the greater power.” [Malthus, An Essay
on the Principle of Population, "Chapter II.
The Different Ratios In Which Population and Food Increase", (1st
ed. 1798) </title/311/8824>.
 “Moral restraint”is in English in the original.
- I am borrowing this part of my argument from the learned and wise
author of Notes on Malthus. M. Joseph Garnier. [See, Essai
sur le principe de population, traduit de l'anglais par P. et G. Prevost,
précédé d'une introduction par M. Rossi, et d'une notice sur l'auteur par
Charles Comte, avec les notes des traducteurs et de nouvelles notes par
Joseph Garnier (Paris: Guillaumin, 1845).]
 The charge of "immorality” against Malthusian thought was a common
one, on the grounds that "moral restraint” exercised in order not
to have children in marriage was counter to the teachings of the Church.
Some of the more extreme Malthusians went so far as to suggest that population
could only be limited by measures such as abortion, infanticide (asphyxiation,
exposure of new borns), sterilization (castration, hysterectomies), prostitution,
or polygamy. [See, J. Garnier, "Population,” DEP, vol. 2, pp. 382-402.] There is little mention at this time in France
of contraception which some liberals and radicals in England had promoted.
One should note that a young John Stuart Mill very much influenced by the
Benthamite school was arrested and spent 3 nights in jail in 1823 for handing
out leaflets on the street with information about contraceptive methods.
[See also, Patricia James, Population
Malthus: His Life and Times (London: Routledge
and megan Paul, 1979), pp. 386-87.]
Some utopian socialists like Fourier
(see footnote above) believed in less extreme but still rather strange
schemes to limit population growth by means of vegetarian diet or strenuous
exercise. Some more liberal minded Malthusians like John Stuart Mill some
36 years after his arrest even contemplated state regulation of marriage
to ensure that couples could not marry unless they had the means to support
"And in a country either overpeopled, or threatened with being so, to
produce children, beyond a very small number, with the effect of reducing
the reward of labour by their competition, is a serious offence against all
who live by the remuneration of their labour. The laws which, in many countries
on the Continent, forbid marriage unless the parties can show that they have
the means of supporting a family, do not exceed the legitimate powers of
the State…” [On
Liberty (1859), chap. 5 </title/233/16560/799862>].
However, these more radical ideas were
rejected by the mainstream Malthusians like J. Garnier who thought Malthus'
ideas were in keeping with Church doctrine so long as they were confined
to such practices as delaying getting married and using “foresight” and
"restraint” within marriage to limit the number of births. Yet
this did not stop the Catholic Church from regarding the Economists and their Dictionary (1852-53) as grossly immoral and having it listed on the Index of
Banned Books on 12 June 1856 for "religious
reasons.” Molinari comments wryly on this in his fortnightly newsletter L'Économiste
belge, Supplément to
the edition of 20 November, 1856, p. 5, where he notes that a local Brussels
newspaper, the Journal
de Bruxelles, called the DEP a
"tissue d'immoralités” (a tissue of immorality) and even used the criticisms
of the Economists in the writings of the socialist anarchist Proudhon as
part of their attack on the DEP. Molinari amusingly points out that this was odd for Catholics to
do as Proudhon was famous for coining the slogans "la propriété c'est
le vol” (property is theft) and "Dieu c'est le mal” (God is evil). They
probably didn't know that the Church had already put the collected works
of Proudhon on the Index in 1852. [See, the Beacon for Freedom of Expression
database of banned books and the entry for the DEP <<http://search.beaconforfreedom.org/search/censored_publications/publication.html?id=9709582>.]
 The Académie des sciences morales et politiques (the Academy of Moral
and Political Sciences) is one of the 5 academies of the Institute of France.
It was founded in 1795 to promote the study of the humanities, was shut
down by Napoleon in 1803, and revived by François Guizot in 1832. There
are 50 members of the Academy who are elected by their peers. There are
"corresponding” members. In 1832 there were 5 sections: philosophy,
moral science, law and jurisprudence, political economy, and history. Many
of the Economists and other classical liberals were members of the Academy,
such as the following (year they were elected): Charles Dunoyer (1832); Joseph
Droz (1832); Charles Comte (1832); Pellegrino Rossi (1836); Alexis de Tocqueville
(1838); Hippolyte Passy (1838); Adolphe Blanqui (1838); Gustave de Beaumont
(1841); Léon Faucher (1849); Louis Reybaud (1850); Michel Chevalier (1851);
Louis Wolowski (1855); Horace Say (1857); Augustin-Charles Renouard (1861);
Henri Baudrillart (1866); Joseph Garnier (1873); Frédéric Passy (1877); Léon
Say (1881). [See, the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences website <http://www.asmp.fr/sommaire.htm>.]
 The Great Irish Famine of 1845-1852 was caused by a disease which affected
the potato crop (potato blight) and resulted in the deaths of 1 to 1.5
million people from famine and the emigration of a further million people
out of a population of around 7 million. In addition to the failure of
the potato crop there were other serious problems which were of concern,
including the situation of tenant farmers unable to pay their rents, the
continued export of food from Ireland during the famine, and restrictions
on the free import of food from elsewhere in Europe. The latter issue was
taken up by members of the Anti-Corn Law League in England when campaigning
for the abolition of tariff restrictions on grain, which they achieved
in 1846. When revolution swept Europe in 1848 Ireland was not unaffected.
In July 1848 the Young Irelander Rebellion broke out in County Tipperary
but was soon suppressed by the police.
 In 1839 Gustave de Beaumont, the travelling companion of Alexis de Tocqueville,
published an analysis of the poverty in Ireland and blamed the rapacious
Irish aristocracy, calling for its abolition: Gustave de Beaumont, L'Irlande
sociale, politique et religieuse (Paris: C. Gosselin,
1839). 2 vols.
 This is a factual error on Molinari’s part: the conquerors were not Saxon
 A Royal Commission was set up in 1832 to inquire into reforming the Poor
Laws and this resulted in the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834. A version of
the Poor Laws was then enacted for Ireland in July 1838.
 Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847) was a liberal Irish politician who campaigned
for Catholic Emancipation and independence from Britain. A French language
edition of O'Connell's Mémoire
sur l'Irlande indigène et saxonne (C. Warée, 1843),
2 vols. appeared in 1843 so Molinari was probably aware of his thoughts
on Irish independence. The Act of Union creating the "United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland” was passed in 1800 and it is to this
legislation they he is referring. Molinari is possibly referring to a speech
O'Connell gave in Dublin in 1843 on "The Repeal of the Union” where
O'Connell quotes at length what the Irish Lord Chancellor and Member of
Parliament William Conyngham Plunket, 1st Baron Plunket (1764-1854) said
in the House of Commons: "I, in the most express terms, deny the competence
of Parliament to do this Act. I warn you, do not dare to lay your hands
upon the constitution. I tell you that if, circumstanced as you are, you
pass this Act it will be a nullity, and no man in Ireland will be bound
to obey it. I make this assertion deliberately, and call on any man who
hears me to take down my words. You have not been elected for this purpose.
You have been appointed to make laws, not legislatures. You are appointed
to act under the constitution, not to destroy it. You are appointed to
exercise the functions of legislators, not to transfer them; and, if you
do so, your Act is a dissolution to the Government, and no man in the land
is bound to obey you.” After quoting this passage O'Connell states categorically "The
eloquence of that passage is only equalled by its truth.” Early in this
same speech O'Connell states
"I feel, I trust, not an ungenerous pity for those who are to be this
day the advocates of the degradation and provincialism of their native land.
I unfeignedly pity those who are this day to tell me that the irish Irish,
of all the people of the earth, are unfair for self-government; or to tell
me that there is something so mean, low, despicable in the Irish character
that we are unfit to do what every other nation on the face of the earth
is fit to do - namely to govern themselves.” [See, A
full and revised report of the three days' discussion in the Corporation
of Dublin on the repeal of the Union, with dedication to Cornelius Mac Loghlin,
Esq., and An Address tot he People of Ireland by Daniel O'Connell, M.P.,
ed. John Levy (Dublin: James Duffy, 1843), pp. 11, 36.]
 The Whiteboys (Irish: Buachaillí Bána) were a secret Irish agrarian organization
in 18th century Ireland which used violent tactics to defend tenant farmer
land rights for subsistence farming. Molinari uses the English term
in the original.
 The Faubourg Saint-Honoré in the VIIIth arrondissement in Paris is one
of the most exclusive suburbs in the city. Today it is the location of
the Élysée Palace (the official residence of the president of the Republic)
and many embassies and luxury shops. The West End of London is located
in the City of Westminster, near the House of Parliament, and was (and
remains) one of the most desirable places to live and work in the city
 Drogheda is a port town north of Dublin on the east coast of Ireland.
In 1649 it was taken by Cromwell's forces as part of his invasion of Ireland.
The resisters were massacred by Cromwell's troops. Wexford is at the south
eastern tip of Ireland and was also sacked during Cromwell's invasion.
It also had the dubious honor of being a center of the 1798 uprising against
English rule, for which many rebels were hanged on the main bridge in the
 A Royal Commission was set up in 1832 to inquire into reforming the Poor
Laws which resulted in the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834. The official Report
was written by the economist Nassau Senior and Edwin Chadwick: Poor Law
Commissioners’ Report of 1834 </title/1461>.
 One particular kind of hospital or hospice was known as a “lazaret” (or
“lazaretto” in Italian) which is a hospital or hospice for people with
communicable diseases, such as leprosy, or a quarantine station for sailors
who also might bring diseases back from their travels. It got its name
from the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem which
established a leprosy hospital for its members during the Crusades in the
mid-12th century. The Order built a leprosy hospital in Paris in the 18th
century where the Saint Lazarus Street is located and where the railway
station bearing that name was also built. Molinari would obviously have
known this and his choice of the title of the book, “Les Soirée de la Rue
Saint-Lazare” is therefore interesting. In Molinari's mind, the Order is
a very good example of the voluntary provision of medical services to a
severely disadvantaged group of people. [See the glossary entry on "Saint
Lazarus Street” and the article by "Vée” on "Hospitaux, Hospices”
in DEP, vol. 2, pp. 864-78.]
 Molinari uses the expression “laissez faire”. [See the glossary entry
on “Laissez-faire” and Molinari’s use of this expression throughout Les Soirées.]
 State charity was part of the expenditure of the Ministry of the
Interior. In the 1849 Budget 129 million Francs were set aside for its
use. The expenditure is not itemised. In the Budget for 1848 the expenditure
is itemised and its total is 117 million. [See the Appendix on the Budgets
for 1848 and 1849.]
 A. Clément argues that during the Revolution "mendicité” (begging)
was harshly dealt with, even criminalized in France. The law of May 1790
insisted that beggars strong enough to work should be made to work and
those too weak to work would be sent to a hospice and foreign born beggars
should be expelled from the country. The criminalization of begging went
further during the 1790s with some hard core beggars being condemned to
transportation. During the Empire (decree of July 1808) is was recognized
that the government should provide beggars with offers of work before punishment
was imposed. Each department was ordered to establish a work house ("dépots
de mendicité") to be funded by local tax payers, but the cost of this
became prohibitive and the work houses were either closed down or farmed
out to contractors. Clément concludes that, like prostitution, the problem
of begging could not be solved by coercive government action but by the
gradual improvement in general prosperity brought about by the free market
and industrialization. He notes that a new kind of begging had appeared
in recent years in France with "the tendency for one person to live
at the expense of another as a result of government jobs, privileges, favors
which were extracted by intrigue or by soliciting the government and which
constituted a kind of begging just as shameful and far more damaging than
begging in the streets.” [See A. Clément, “Mendicité,” DEP, vol. 2, pp. 153-54.]
 Molinari says here “laissez-la faire!” (which might also be translated
as “let it be!”) [See the glossary entry on “Laissez-faire” and Molinari’s
use of this expression throughout Les
 In 1893 Molinari coined the term "viriculture” (the cultivation
of men) to describe how the quality of the human population might be improved
by the operation of a number of processes: a modified and corrected understanding
of Malthus' laws of population, the impact of technology and industrial
production on improving the quality of life of ordinary people, a growing
sense of individual responsibility which would make individual "self-government”
work, and international competition between different cultures and civilizations.
He also took an idea he had developed in 1863 in his Cours d'économie
politique, namely "la liberté de la reproduction”
(the freedom of reproducing), and added the new idea that families were
like freely contracted unions or "des enterprises de reproduction”
(enterprises for reproduction). [See, La Viriculture. Ralentissemnt
du movement de la population. Dégénérescence - Causes et remèdes (Paris:
 Molinari here slips into the racial stereotyping which was all too common
in the mid-19th century, although he stresses racial differences rather
than racial hierarchies in this passage. In the early 19th century efforts
were being made to make the study of the different races a more "scientific”
one with a comparative study of aspects such as skin color, facial features,
the shape of the skull, and social theorists of both a liberal and socialist
bent seized upon these theories in their writings. For example, Augustin
Thierry drew upon a race-based theory of conquest in order to explain the
class structure of post-Norman society in England; Charles Dunoyer thought
that racial differences explained the varying levels of civilization achieved
by different societies and that this could be used to predict how different
cultures would evolve towards a state of liberty in the future; Molinari
in his sociological writings in the 1880s would base his ideas on the necessity
"tutelage” by the more advanced civilizations over the less developed
ones in order to assist them in the transition towards full liberty. Saint-Simonians
were also susceptible to this perspective as the work of Victor Courtet de
l'Isle shows: La
Science politique fondée sur la science de l'homme, ou étude des races humanines
sous le rapport philosophique, historique et social (Paris:
Arthus bertrand, 1838) and Tableau
ethnolographique du genre humain (Paris: Arthus Bertrand, 1849). The Science politique (1838)
has an interesting analysis of the racial ideas of Benjamin Constant, Charles
Dunoyer, and Charles Comte (Pt. I, chap. VIII, pp. 102ff.)
- See Cours
de Phrénologie by Dr Ch. Place. Phrenology was a pseudoscience which was popular
in the first half of the 19th century. Phrenologists believed that mental
faculties resided in different parts of the brain and that the shape of
the skull above those regions gave a physical clue to the strength or power
of that particular faculty. Thus phrenologist were notorious for feeling
the bumps on people's head into to understand their character or mental
capacity. Proudhon was reported to have rejected Fourier’s socialist ideas
partly on the grounds that the bumps on his head suggested that his analysis
could not be trusted. We have not been able to locate Molinari's reference
to Charles Place's Cours.
There is a Dr. Charles Place who wrote a couple of short pamphlets in the
prononcé sur la tombe de Casimir Broussais, ancien secrétaire général,
vice-président et président de la Société phrénologique de Paris, au nom
de cette société, par Ch. Place, (7 juillet 1847) (Galban,
l'Art dramatique au point de vue de la phrénologie, appréciation de M.
Kemble, de Mmes Adélaïde et Fanny Kemble, tragédiens anglais, sur les bustes
de M. Dantan jeune, par M. Charles Place, (Hennuyer et Turpin, 1843). During the 1820s the German phrenologist
Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828) had among his clientele a number of liberals
such as Benjamin Constant and Stendhal as well as Saint-Simon. [See, William
B. Cohen, Français
et Africains: Les Noirs dans le regard des Blancs 1530-1880 (Paris:
Gallimard, 1980), “Le racisme scientifique”, p. 311.
 George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham (1592–1628) became a favorite
of King James I (possibly also his lover) who bestowed on him an enormous
rank and fortune. After 1616 he began to exert a large influence in Irish
affairs, becoming the leading tax farmer in 1618, profiting from the sale
of irish titles, and the acquisition of large tracts of land for himself
and his family. In the 1620s Buckingham accompanied the King (Charles I)
to Spain to negotiate a marriage contract and became involved in a failed
scheme to burn the Spanish fleet harbored at Cadiz. Buckingham also was
involved in French affairs in negotiating with Prime Minister Cardinal
Richelieu for British naval assistance in suppressing French protestants.
He died at the hands of an assassin in 1628. What might have brought him
to Molinari's attention was the fact the Buckingham was a character in
Alexandre Dumas novel Les Trois
Mousquetaires (The Three Musketeers) which was
serialized in a French newspaper Le
Siècle (March-July 1844). In Dumas's novel Buckingham is depicted as the
Queen's lover and as somewhat of a rake. [See, Alexandre Dumas, Les Trois
mousquetaires (Paris: J.-B. Fellens et L.-P. Dufour,
 See Molinari’s discussion of the right to inheritance in Soirée 4.
 Eurotas was the mythical king of southern Greece whose daughter, Sparta,
gave her name to the city which was founded there. Eurotas drained the
surrounding swamp land by cutting a channel to the sea. The river which
formed there was called the Eurotas after him. Molinari is referring here
to the practice of infanticide in ancient Sparta either by drowning or
 See Molinari’s extracts from essays he wrote on Labour Exchanges in Soirée
6 as well as the glossary entry on “Labour Exchanges”.