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Émilie du Châtelet

AndLisbon and Lima are now, probably, nearly in the same state withregard to population as they were before the last earthquakes. Or, A View of Its Past and Present Effects on Human Happiness with an Inquiry Into Our Prospects Respecting the Future Removal Or Mitigation of the Evils which it Occasions. The effects of this check remain now to be considered. We have sufficient reason to thinkthat this natural propensity exists still in undiminished vigour.Why then do not its effects appear in a rapid increase of thehuman species? A probable cause of epidemics--Extracts from Mr Suessmilch'stables--Periodical returns of sickly seasons to be expected incertain cases--Proportion of births to burials for short periodsin any country an inadequate criterion of the real averageincrease of population--Best criterion of a permanent increaseof population--Great frugality of living one of the causes ofthe famines of China and Indostan--Evil tendency of one of theclauses in Mr Pitt's Poor Bill--Only one proper way ofencouraging population--Causes of the Happiness of nations--Famine, the last and most dreadful mode by which nature repressesa redundant population--The three propositions considered asestablished. It has been particularlyremarked that the two Spanish provinces from which the greatestnumber of people emigrated to America, became in consequence morepopulous. (1,805 × 3,209 pixels, file size: 16.61 MB, MIME type: https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/, Biblioteca Europea di Informazione e Cultura. These facts seem to shew that population increases exactly inthe proportion that the two great checks to it, misery and vice,are removed, and that there is not a truer criterion of thehappiness and innocence of a people than the rapidity of theirincrease. Thereare individual exceptions now as there always have been. Of the manners and habits that prevail among nations ofshepherds, the next state of mankind, we are even more ignorantthan of the savage state. These difficulties it is my present purpose to state,declaring, at the same time, that so far from exulting in them,as a cause of triumph over the friends of innovation, nothingwould give me greater pleasure than to see them completelyremoved. If I sawa glass of wine repeatedly presented to a man, and he took nonotice of it, I should be apt to think that he was blind oruncivil. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. Exorbitant taxes wereexacted by the Crown. Ifthe rich were to subscribe and give five shillings a day to fivehundred thousand men without retrenching their own tables, nodoubt can exist, that as these men would naturally live more attheir ease and consume a greater quantity of provisions, therewould be less food remaining to divide among the rest, andconsequently each man's patent would be diminished in value orthe same number of pieces of silver would purchase a smallerquantity of subsistence. They are then for a short time placed alittle in the situation of new states, and the effect is alwaysanswerable to what might be expected. It may be remarked, that the greatest proportion of births toburials, was in the five years after the great pestilence. The unwholesomeness of towns, to which some persons arenecessarily driven from the nature of their trades, must beconsidered as a species of misery, and every the slightest checkto marriage, from a prospect of the difficulty of maintaining afamily, may be fairly classed under the same head. (I say 'caeterisparibus', because the increase of the produce of any country willalways very greatly depend on the spirit of industry thatprevails, and the way in which it is directed. In the first twenty-five years thepopulation would be fourteen millions, and the food being alsodoubled, the means of subsistence would be equal to thisincrease. The effects of this check on man are more complicated.Impelled to the increase of his species by an equally powerfulinstinct, reason interrupts his career and asks him whether hemay not bring beings into the world for whom he cannot providethe means of subsistence. The Dutch and French colonies, though under the government ofexclusive companies of merchants, which, as Dr Adam Smith saysvery justly, is the worst of all possible governments, stillpersisted in thriving under every disadvantage. I should expect,therefore, that those countries where subsistence was increasingsufficiency at times to encourage population but not to answerall its demands, would be more subject to periodical epidemicsthan those where the population could more completely accommodateitself to the average produce. Yet this ratio of increase is evidently arithmetical. The absolute population at any one period, in proportion tothe extent of territory, could never be great, on account of theunproductive nature of some of the regions occupied; but thereappears to have been a most rapid succession of human beings, andas fast as some were mowed down by the scythe of war or offamine, others rose in increased numbers to supply their place.Among these bold and improvident Barbarians, population wasprobably but little checked, as in modern states, from a fear offuture difficulties. 0000021969 00000 n Lastly, for cases of extreme distress, county workhousesmight be established, supported by rates upon the whole kingdom,and free for persons of all counties, and indeed of all nations.The fare should be hard, and those that were able obliged towork. Theyperform their part of the contract, but we do not, nay cannot,perform ours, and thus the poor sacrifice the valuable blessingof liberty and receive nothing that can be called an equivalentin return. But I fear it mustbe owned that the more general consequences of such marriages arerather calculated to justify than to repress the forebodings ofthe prudent. But if I only give him money,supposing the produce of the country to remain the same, I givehim a title to a larger share of that produce than formerly,which share he cannot receive without diminishing the shares ofothers. The preventive check appears to operate in some degreethrough all the ranks of society in England. A man of liberal education, but with an income only justsufficient to enable him to associate in the rank of gentlemen,must feel absolutely certain that if he marries and has a familyhe shall be obliged, if he mixes at all in society, to rankhimself with moderate farmers and the lower class of tradesmen.The woman that a man of education would naturally make the objectof his choice would be one brought up in the same tastes andsentiments with himself and used to the familiar intercourse of asociety totally different from that to which she must be reducedby marriage. thomas malthus an essay on the principle of population 1798. an essay on the principle of population, as it affects the future improvement of society with remarks on the speculations of mr. godwin, m. condorcet, and other writers. Theprodigious waste of human life occasioned by this perpetualstruggle for room and food was more than supplied by the mightypower of population, acting, in some degree, unshackled from theconsent habit of emigration. Among plants and animals the view of the subject is simple.They are all impelled by a powerful instinct to the increase oftheir species, and this instinct is interrupted by no reasoningor doubts about providing for their offspring. What would then be theconsequence? He professes to have readsome of the speculations on the future improvement of society ina temper very different from a wish to find them visionary, buthe has not acquired that command over his understanding whichwould enable him to believe what he wishes, without evidence, orto refuse his assent to what might be unpleasing, whenaccompanied with evidence. The labourer therefore must work harder to earn thesame as he did before. On the contrary,a certain degree of emigration is known to be favourable to thepopulation of the mother country.

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