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ployment to the cotton manufacture, for all the great branches of manufactures have increased the number of hands in proportion to the improvement of machinery, and the quantity used in each of these manufactories, and yet, in every one of them there is a redundancy of work-people. 'Is not this a demonstration, that “ machinery is the means of employing a greater number of hands, than could otherwise be employed," and also, that the great increase in the number of the people beyond the number which can be employed, is the cause that wages are so low, that vast numa bers of the industrious, pains-taking, worthy people, are halfstarved even while fully employed : and that when any of those Auctuations to which trade is and always must be liable happens, horrid misery falls upon nearly the whole of them?
If the population were not redundant, it would be impossible for wages to be low, and it is equally impossible that with a redundant population wages can be high. Had do more hands been produced than the fair demand for labour required, had there been, say a million, instead of twelve or thirteen bandred thousand in the cotton manufacture. If, instead of doubling the number of hands in the silk manufacture, within the last ten years, only a few hands had been added, it is quite clear that the immense stocks of cotton and silk goods could not have been produced; that there would have been a steady demand for all that was produced, and that the whole of the persons employed in the silk and cotton manufactures, would have had constant employtent, at good wages.
In those trades where stocks could not be thus accumulated, no such want of employment has been experienced. It is true, that from other causes, all trades have suffered some depression, and it may safely be affirmed, that all trades will, at no very dis, tant period, again flourish; but it does not follow, that in those branches which are greatly overhanded, wages will rise, or that the whole of the hands will be employed. I have, I think, fairly shews that -machinery produces employment for multitudes of persons, who, but for machinery, never could be employed ; and that if in the race between machinery and population, machinery had beaten population, instead of population beating machinery, the working-people would, as a body, have been in a much better situation than they ever were at any former period since the crea: tion. If the working people generally bad good wages, they would be expended so much more usefully than formerly, and the progress of information, and good habits, would be so rapidly accelerated, as to place the working people in a situation, which but few of them can appreciate.
If they who believe that machinery is injurious to the working people, will push their enquiries into other branches of business, they will find that in every one of them, machinery has increased the quantity of hapd-labour, and this, too, in spite of the mono.
polies and impolitic taxes which press heavily upon thein. It may, perhaps, be found in some cases, machinery has reduced the number of hands in a particular department of a business, but it will also be found to have increased the number of hands in a much greater amount in other departments. :: It is worse than useless to refrain from pushing our enquiries on these important subjects to their conclusions, however much these conclusions may be at variance with our preconceived opinions. The consequences to which any enquiry may lead, cannot be changed by our shutting our eyes and refusing to see them. The consequences which necessarily result from any course of actions, cannot be set aside by our obstinacy and ignorance; but the greatest evils may be produced by that miserable self-deception, so generally practised, which induces most men to hug their prejudices instead of pushing their enquiries to the utmost, without fear of ascertaining the truth, however inimical that truth may be to their wishes.
PART II. It would have been more logical to have proved first that population could be redundant, and second that it was redundant, before shewing that it was this redundant population which prevented the working people benefitting by the use of machinery to the extent which they might be thereby benefitted; but the two subjects could not be treated of separately, without making this essay much longer.
The notion expressed in the third paragraph is so common, so erroneous, and so mischievous, as to deserve a separate elucidation.
The assertion copied literally is, that “ the increase of population cannot be the cause of any distress, so long as the great Creator of all things continues to send an adequate supply of every necessary of life.”
The writer means, although his mode of expressing his meaning is somewhat obscure, that “ the great Creator" does at all times send an adequate supply of every necessary of life for all the human beings which are born or which could be born. This is an error, The Creator does not send an adequate supply of every necessary, or of any necessary of life for all the people which either are born or which might be born, any more than he sends land on which all the seeds of a tree, say all the beech mast, which is produced might be planted and reared without end, or any more than that all the millions of eggs in the roe of every cod-fish might be vivified and continue to propagate without end. The Creator has given the earth to mankind, has endowed them with the power to cultivate it, and has told them plainly that un
less they so cultivate it, it shall produce nothing: “ In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread-cursed is the ground for thy sake, in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.” Such is the denunciation of the Creator, such are the terms on which alone mankind are permitted to exist; and nothing could be well more absurd than the assertion, that “ the great Creator sends an adequate supply of every necessary of life.” With the earth; as the means of procuring sustenance, the Creator has given reason to man as his guide, as the means of procuring him such portion of happiness as by his nature he is able to enjoy in this world. But the Creator has also given to man the power to abuse and misuse his reason, telling him that this abuse and misuse of so important a gift shall meet its due reward in the punishments which must follow the abuse, and these are unhappiness, misery, and premature death. The Creator has given to every human being the capability of using every one of his powers in excess, and has bestowed reason upon him to restrain him from using any one of his powers in excess. The Creator has given means to end only in a limited way as to the production of food ; and these are very different indeed from the common fallacy, expressed by the words, “ an adequate supply of every necessary of life,” or “ that God never sends mouths but he sends meat."
For the purpose of a clearer elucidation, let us take as an example our own country, and thus show- 1st. that population can be excessive, and 2d. that the consequences of excessive population must inevitably be, poverty, misery, vice, crime, disease and premature death, to a vast portion of the people,
England was once in a state similar to that of New Holland now. In New Holland the natives are so ignorant as neither to plant nor sow, nor build huts, nor to have forecast to enable them to provide in any way against future want, and the consequence is that they are very miserable and very few in number; there not being one human being where a hundred thousand might be, and probably will be within the next 200 years. That the inhabitants of this island were once in the state of the New Hollanders there can be no doubt. As they gradually emerged from this savage state, and took to rearing of cattle, their number increased as the means of subsistence increased; still the number which could exist in the pastoral state must have been small. As knowledge increased, they by degrees took to a rude mode of agri-. culture, and as by these means the quantity of subsistence increased, so did their number increase, but all along up to the present time and now, no more people could or can exist than the number which the knowledge and habits of the people can provide for; all that are born beyond this number must die, and so long as the custom of producing more children than the knowledge and habits of the country.supplies with food in abundance, so long will there be a vast number of people in a dreadful state of irre.
mediable misery, and all that are born beyond a certain number will inevitably perish. It matters not what may be the form of government, or how well disposed every person may be to assist every other person, only a certain number can remain alive, and if
any considerable number beyond this is produced, nothing can save the great body of the people from abject poverty and all its attendant evils. This is the principle of population which has at all times and in all places been, and is now and must continue its operation.
Is it not then evident that people cannot increase faster than knowledge and the accumulation of capital will enable them to increase the quantity of the necessaries of life?
We have now in Great Britain fifteen millions of people, and had the knowledge we now possess, and the capital we now possess, existed two thousar
ne same number of people would then have existed, instead of there being as probably there then was, not one person for every ten thousand Great Britain now contains. More knowledge, better machinery, and better modes of agriculture, will in time enable the people of this country to double their present number, and this under similar circumstances might have happened two thousand years ago; the capability of producing human beings was no doubt the same at all times. Why then were there not thirty millions of people in this country two thousand years ago? Why were there not thirty millions of people at any period since that time? Why are there not thirty millions of people now? The answer to these questions is short, clear, and conclusive-the number bas all along been limited by the quantity of food produced, and the quantity of food has been limited by the knowledge and capital the people possessed.
Let us take another mode of illustrating this important subject, the power of mankind to increase, supposing that power to be used as it might be used if the Creator did really send food for all that could be brought into existence. A boy and girl at a very early age could produce children, and under the circumstances supposed, every woman, one with another, might have twelve or fourteen children, and the period in which the whole people might be doubled would be very short. I will not, however, push the hypothesis to a conclusion, but will take a particular and practical example within our own cognizance. In the United States of North America, the number of people has been doubled six times in less than 150 years, and thus it is proved that so long as food can be produced and capital accumulated sufficiently fast, the number of people may be doubled every twenty-five years. Let us then suppose, that a thousand years ago the number of people in Great Britain was one million, and that they double their number every twenty-five years, the account would stand thus :
Here we see that at the end of two hundred years the number of people would be 256,000,000, and if any one will take the trouble to carry out the table to the year 1825, he will find the number to be 1,099,511,627,776,000,000 ---that is, 73,300,775,185 times the number of people now in Great Britain.
England, Scotland, and Wales contain 75,000,000 of acres, and thus there would be no less than 14,660,155,037 persons to every acre, and as an acre contains 4840 square yards, there would be 3,028,957 persons to every 'square yard; and as every square yard contains 9 square feet, there would be 336,550 persons to every square foot. These inferences seem ridiculous, but they are the fair results to which the assertion leads, that “God never sends mouths but he sends meat," or that “ the great Creator of all things sends an adequate supply of every necessary of life:” To those who cannot reason on general principles, as well as to those who have not been accustomed to reason on general principles, matters must be made plain practically, or they will never be understood at all, and it frequently happens, that prejudices can be exposed in no other way than by pushing them to the absurd conclusion to which they lead.
Not only bave I shewn that "the great Creator" bes not send “ an adequate supply of every necessary of life," but I have furnished matter for reflection and curious calculation, which can scarcely fail to be both amusing and instructing to many.
F. P. London, August 1st, 1826.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE REPUBLICAN,
Sir, When I addressed you, a few days since, it was far from my intention (as it is now) to enter into a controversy upon the subject of machinery. I then told you that I lacked ability and in