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It is thus as plain as modern political arithmetic can make it, that our Sovereign Lord Henry the Sixth had only 457 subjects; and if any one will take the trouble to carry out the table, as F. P. has done at the other end of it, he will find that in the year 1250 poor Henry the Third had no more than one man and a fraction! The integer being probably the Earl of Pembroke, who was chosen Protector, and the fraction a poor weaver who could only earn two and sixpence a-week at weaving stuff for his Majesty's breeches.
I can make no better comment upon this curious circumstance than in F. P.'s own words.-" To those who cannot reason on general principles, as well as to those who have not been accustomed to reason npon 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.”.
These “ conclusions,” according to F. P., if I understand him rightly, shew that“ the great Creator does not send an adequate supply of every necessary of life;" and I say, they shew no such thing. It would be no very difficult task to make it appear
that the waste land alone of Great Britain would, under proper regulations, support the whole present population. It would not enable us to pay sixty or seventy millions a-year in taxes, nor ten mil.. lions to the clergy, nor fifty thousand a-year to a Commander-inChief or a German Princeling. I assume that no more should be taken from the fair earnings of industry than would be absolutely necessary for the unavoidable expenses of a well regulated representative government.
According to Lord Middleton's estimate, England, Scotland, and Wales contain 23 millions of acres of waste land; it would be bad management, indeed, if, after all abatements and deductions, these would not produce subsistence for 15 millions of persons: but it has been ascertained that an acre of ground, put in garden cultivation will regularly supply food for three persons. So that, allowing five millions of acres out of the 23 to ve unproductive, there would still be sufficient for the support of 54 millions of people! But this is only the waste land; we have more than 70 millions of acres in all, in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, which, if we deduct ten millions as unproductive, would still yield subsistence for 180 millions of people ! being more than ten times the present population.
“ What !” exclaim my opponents, “ would you have Privy Councillore, and Ladies of the Bedchamber, and Dignitaries of the Church, live upon turnips and cabbages?" No, there is no necessity for such temperance: but I would have the whole Privy Council, the Bench of Bishops, and the head of the Church to boot, so dieted, rather than one poor weaver should perish of hunger.
But is it not passing strange that this redundancy of population should never have been even dreamed of till within these few years? Till a redundancy of debt, and taxes, and luxury, and fanaticism, and machinery, rendered it necessary to throw out a tub to the irritated whale. It is not half a century since Gold.. smith lamented that
" There was a time, ere England's griefs began,
When every rood of ground maintained its man." (which, by the bye, is four to an acre---making the United Kingdom capable of sustaining nearly 300 millions) and in another passage of the same poem he
Where wealth accumulates and men decay.” Now, without attaching any undue importance to the evidence of a poet, in this very unpoetical inquiry, it is plain from the manner in which he makes the observation, that it was a generally received opinion at that time that the population was decreasing. The Malthuseans contend that want of food is one of the grand checks to population ; but will they dare to assert that food was not as plentiful amongst the working people in Goldsmith's time, as it has been within the last five-and-twenty years? And if it was as plentiful, why did not population then increase upon the “ principle” which they so sturdily maintain ? To affirm that it did, would be to give up their famous doubling ratio, as may be seen by the edifying table of which F. P. has constructed one end, and I the other; to say that it did not would be to abandon their grand“ principle," so let them get out of it as they can.
If any of my readers are not convinced of the absurdity of this ratio of increase, viz. that population doubles itself, or has a tendency so to do every twenty-five years, let him attend for a moment to the following statement:
Those who have made themselves acquainted with English history, know, as surely as any past event can be known, that this country had a large population when Julius Cæsar invaded it, 50 years before the Christian era. We will say there were then only one million of inhabitants, though there was unquestionably a much greater number. This million in the year one would be 4 millions; in the year 25, 8 milliors; A. D. 50, 16 millions: A. D. 75, 32 millions; A. D. 100, 64 inillions; and if we were to proceed, we should find that by the year 1825, there would have been more than could have found standing room upon the surface of the globe : Is it necessary to expose the absurdity further? Is it not better to trust to common sense and observation, than to listen to such unnatural and delusive theories ?
I firmly believe what I have asserted--that redundant population is a piece of political twattle : I believe that Government
had sagacity enough to foresee that the profligate expenditure of the last reign would in the end produce terrible distress in this country, and that they have exercised all their ingenuity to turn the attention of the people from the real causes of that distress, and to fix it upon some political bugbear. Tom Paine-burnings, volunteer-playing-at-soldiers, Bible Society speech-making, and other scenes of the farce are over ; population is now the rawhead-and-bloody-bones set up to frighten political babes from the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge. Believe it not, my countrymen; bear your privations as well as you are able ; listen not too “ lo here !” or “ lo there!” but patiently and steadily watch the progress of events. I think the time is not very distant when the evils complained of will work their own cure; and I hope to live to see the day when every really useful member of the community will be able to.“ sit under his own vine and his own fig-tree, and have none to make him afraid."
J. F. Sept. 19.
THE AGE” NEWSPAPER,
I NOTICE “ The Age," because it has noticed my “ Every Man's Book ;” and because I feel obliged by the advertisement. I notice the abusive epithets and the impotent ravings of the editorial preface to the important extracts from my “Every Man's Book ;" because I know there is a man of the name of Mudie, on that paper, who was lately discarded from the office of the "Morning Chronicle,” through the badness of his character, and who has made a ridiculous figure before the public as an “Ass," which died, and as a “ Dog," which every one kicks with contempt. After Mudie has said all to the public that he can say of me, it is not unlikely that I may say, in turn, what I know of the late “ Ass” now Dog" Mudie. These are not names which I confer; but names which Mudie has conferred on himself. I dislike nick names, they are always proof of the badness of the principle and argument of the individual who uses them. To tell a villain that he is a villain, a liar that he is a liar, or a thief that he is a thief, as I have truly told some men, with proofs, is but a moral blasphemy.
TO MR. R. CARLILE.
Bristol, Sept. 1826. I lately requested a friend of mine to send me a few of the books published by you, among which was one entitled, “ Critical Remarks on the Truth and Harmony of the Four Gospels,” &c. . I: was until the age of 45 years as orthodox as most men in this city, (so famed as the hot-bed of superstition and fanaticism;) I am now nearly 58, and the last 13 years of my life is all that I can say was spent in rational investigation. I am within the last 2 years arrived at Materialism, and am convinced that no map of strong mind, who is not afraid of bis own thoughts, will stop satisfactorily at any intermediate stage. I had just finished a manuscript very similar to the above - Critical Řemarks by a Free. thinker,” when I accidentally saw on the cover of one of your publications the advertisement for this, and finding it so similar to my own in title, induced me to send for it. The reading of it convinced me, that it was better than my own, and will save me the trouble and expense of attempting to publish it; more especially, as my education is not calculated for such things, and there is difficulty in getting a printer in this city to accomplish it.
My object in sending this epistle is to request you will send me as many of the books above alluded to as the inclosed 20s. note will pay for, after deducting the expense of postage-that I may. present them to a few of my orthodox friends. I consider it one of the most useful works for that purpose that I have met with; it is a calm and dispassionate work, that will not allow the opponent to retort the charge of abuse, and it meets them on their own ground. Your works are like St. Paul's “ strong meats ;” you are the Goliah, the Champion, and the “ Babes of Grace” require a little previous milk before they can swallow your preparations. They are afraid of them, and their spiritual guides take care to increase their fears.
I have often heard from the pulpit, repeated in prayers, “thy tender mercy and providential care extends to every living creature that breathes." I lately asked one of the liberals of this class, if he thought this assertion true; he answered, yes. I then asked him, “ How comes it that Christianity, which they perpetually represent as the best of all God's gifts to the children of men,' should be for 18 centuries withheld from 9-10ths of the human race, and only given to a few of the 1-10th, as a valuable means of income, which the many of the 1-10th must perpetually pay for? This, a curious gift to the children of men! At best, it is only a gift to a few priests, who alone could duly appreciate the value and meaning of that precept of their Master, care not
for the morrow, sufficient to the day is the evil thereof." It is cruly applicable to them.; but to no other class of men can it be applied.” To this query, I could get no tangible answer, but that " not a sparrow falls to the ground without our heavenly Father's notice."-" Well, then," I asked, " of what advantage is it to a flock of sparrows to be noticed when they are shot?” “ It is an allegory,” said he. Very well,” said I, where is the analogy ?”—“It alludes to his care of man.” Then I replied, “deny the truth of the analogy; for the starving manufacturers of our counties, the cruelties of inquisitors, the sufferings of infants and idiots, the incurable diseases of nature, and the great mass of wretchedness, so evident to our senses, the encouragement afforded to villany and chicane, tyranny and oppression, all demonstrate the fallacy of the assertion; for man perpetually suffers more than any sparrows ever could or did.” Here we closed, and here I close, And remain your sincere well-wisher,
F. G. B.
P. S. Query.—How many parsons would be found to preach, if no salary was annexed to the office ?
Why do the Quakers, who sit in silence to be taught of God, suffer a few in the “ uppermost seat of the synagogue,” to disturb God's teaching ?
Can any one of them give us any tangible evidence of any communication of God to man?
TO MR. CARLILE.
Richmond, Sept. 12, 1826. On the 27th August last, I had the luck to see the boy mentioned at page 557, vol. 8, of. The Republican,' that was said to have his father's name written on the iris of his eyes. He is a cripple, and is carried about the country for the purpose, I suppose, of making money by shewing him as a curiosity, though the man that attends him says it is for the benefit of his health, and by the advice of two physicians. I had a good opportunity of examining his eyes minutely with a magnifying glass. The iris of each eye is beautifully variegated and waved, but to make out “ John Wood” in one eye, and « 1817” in the other, reqnires a much more lively imagination than I possess.
The man that carries him from house to house, shews a printed paper, in which is set forth the marvellous circumstance related by Allen M'Fayden. You know how readily ignorant people are