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dary, already often reached, beyond which the human race, in its pursuit of happiness, could not go; but a deeper investigation has led to a knowledge of the means whereby this imaginary boundary may be past, and the happiness of mankind wrought to an extent of which we can have no conception. Let it then be the aim of 'every lover of mankind to disseminate a knowledge of the principle of population. This is the only means of permanently ameliorating the condition of mankind. The alleviation of present distress may be likened to plucking the head from a weed with the intent of destroying it, but the root being left in the ground gathers strength and shoots forth again with greater vigour: the skilful gardener plucks root and all, and is in this instance a proper teacher for the would be benefactor of mankind.
The utility of disseminating a knowledge of the principle of population has often been set forth in this and other publications; but it is a matter of the first importance, and must be again and again set forth, till men shall be thoroughly acquainted with it, and know and feel its importance to themselves and their posterity.
Some persons seem surprized to find that while the nation is apparently increasing in wealth and splendour, that the majority of the people, the labouring class, are getting less and less of the means of subsistence. But they are both effects of the same cause, and necessarily accounpanying each other. An excessive population is sure to occasion a monopoly of wealth in the hands of a few persons; and hence splendour is to be seen in the palace although poverty surrounds it. A restricted population would do away with both those unnatural states, splendour and poverty, both detrimental to the happiness of man. The conduct that shall procure the labouring class the means of a comfortable subsistence shall as surely deprive the monopolists of the meaus of profusion.
If the principle of population be not acted upon, the mass of the people of this country will sink as low in the scale of human existence as the lowest of the Irish now are. Nothing else can prevent it; it requires but little observation to assure any one that rapid progress is making towards that lowest of all possible states of human, civilized existence- the brink of starvation, over which a slight failure of crop tumbles the redundant miserables. Can men look forward to such a state and not bestir themselves ? Surely they cannot; the thought that a child, or even a child's child, may be one of the starving thousands, must rouse any one to action who possesses a single spark of humanity. Within the last twenty years, the state of the labourers has greatly changed for the worst. Some have said that the English labourer could not descend so low in the scale as the Irish,
because the former would never make potatoes his main support. Let any one who considers this assertion well founded look at the food of the agri.
cultural labourers in most parts of the country. Twenty years since the farm labourer lived principally on good wheaten bread, and a scarcity only drove him to a barley cake; but now he depeuds mostly on his potatoe crop, and obtains wheat or barley only now and then in small quantities, more or less according to the season. Then, too, nine labourers of every ten could fat their own bacon, and keep a stock the year round; now not one in twenty can do this, for after receiving parish relief they can no more have such property to call their own. Six shillings a-week, in some few instances seven or eight, are the wages now paid to a strong, healthy labourer in the counties of Dorset and Somerset, and I suppose they are nearly the saine throughout the kingdom. How can the labourers make bread their main support with such a pittance?
It is in the power of every one to do something towards staying the progress of this evil, by teaching, whenever an opportunity occurs, the caase and the method by which it may be removed; but the matter depends mainly on the labourers themselves, it is they who must be the immediate actors.
It is impossible but that the labourers themselves must see that it is an excess of population which reduces their wages ; but although they see this and are convinced that a restricted popula. tion would greatly mend their condition, as they do find all their brethren juclined to exert themselves to obtain the desired object, each one declines dcing any thing, thinking that what a few may be able to effect would not materially benet the whole. But it is only by a few setting the example that the majority will ever be led to adopt the proposed measures : the greater number of men have not mind sufficient to adopt any thing new, any novelty of importance, until they see it practised by others, and witness its good effects.
All that each labourer has to do is to take care not to let the number of his family be more than he can rear and educate respectably and with ease to himself. Each one that does this does his part towards bettering the condition of his class, and deserves the praise of his fellow-men; but he who does not, he who brings into the world a number of beings beyond his power to support, beings born only to be a burden to themselves and others, is an enemy to the welfare of his species, and, if he knew how to avoid it, deserving severe reprobation. For my owo part, I cannot conceive how any man, who has to depend on his labour for subsistence, can be so blind to his own immediate interests as to have a dumerous family when he can possibly avoid it. pot so much surprized that a man should think but little of the distant benefit he may confer on society by restricting his family; but I am surprized that he should not more readily appreciate the immediate advantages which it would procure for himself.
Does it require an argument to prove that a labouring man is
better off with two children than with eight or ten? I think not, for we can see the proof of it if we look into the labourers' cottages. When acquiring knowledge of any sort, I endeavour, after learning a little of first principles, to procced as much as possible by observation; and this has led me, during a few week's stay in the country, to visit the cottage of the labourer whenever I had an opportunity. The results of my observations were always the same: poor as were those who had but few in family, they uniformly looked better and had more comforts about them than their unfortunate brethren whose mates had been more prolific. In one family I saw ten children, the oldest apparently about fifteen, the youngest in arms. Every face told the tale of want, and the habitation plainly enough bespoke the abode of wretchedness. “A long family," said I, “ Thomas, for these hard times."-" Aye, it is, Master, sure enough. I work hard all the week for seven shillings, my two oldest boys earn five more, and the parish allows my six youngest children each a shilling, a week; and thus eighteen shillings is all the money we have to keep twelve persons. My wife has not been able to earn any thing since her seventh child; she is now so weak that she can scarcely keep about to take care of the children while I am out in field.”_" "Tis bad, Thomas, to have so many mouths to satisfy out of such small means, but you are not quite so badly off as some of your neighbours, have
your own cottage and no rent -“. Ah ! Master, I wish it was my own cottage. Shortly after poor father's death my wife lay in with her seventh child, and was ill so long that I was forced to sell the house over my head, and have now to pay a shilling a week for the rent." Poor Thomas's case is not a singular one; few persons who know much of agricultural labourers but must have witnessed its parallel. Had Thomas, when young, been taught to restrict the number of his family, he might now, even in these hard times, have been tolerably comfortable. Had his wife borne him but two chil. dren, she would most probably have still been strong and able to join him in the labours of the field; and theirs and their children's earnings would, at least, have provided the necessaries of life, besides keeping him from the degrading parish relief and the necessity of selling his home.
Philauthropists ! let the case of poor Thomas stimulate you to prevent others sharing the same fate. Fellow-labourers! You who are not yet encumbered with long families, let me persuade you to take warning: it is your own faults if you do not know how to restrict your families; and should you ever suffer like poor Thomas, it will be deservedly.
TO MR. R. CARLILE, 62, FLEET STREET.
July 24, 1826. In reading the last Number but one of “ The Republican,” the account you therein have given of your various conflicts with corruption, your firm and fearless conduct, reminded me of some lines addressed to the Nettle :
“ Vile weed, irascible! whene'er I view
Thy horrent leaves in circling points arise,
And know that underneath each fibre lies
I touch thy power, it punishes my dread;
grasp thee full and firm—that power is dead.
Terrific to the coward wretch alone,
Much do I meditate on Grandeur's throne,
Like thee, they punish those whom they appal;
I CONTINUE to receive daily notes in exposition of this strange character; but the entire absence of all defence on his part requires
that I should not farther notice his mere use of foul epithets. They make no impression on me; for I hold it to be a sound conclusion, that the abuse of a bad man is equal to the praise of one that is good. If a man is to be known by his company, I have nothing to fear from the foul epithets applied to me by Mr. Cobbelt. That I have not been ashamed of them but for his sake, my past acknowledgments of their appearance will prove; but my present disposition is not to notice them for the future. Upon the general principles of our late warfare, Mr. Cobbett has ceased to be worth my notice. He has not given a sentence in way of rejoinder; though he promised further critical notice of what, as a publisher, I was doing. It has ever been his rule to abuse a person or system, and then to come round in praise of that person or system, even if he fly off again; and it is not unlikely but that he may in a few months be singing out lustily, not the “ beastly atheist;" but“ God bless Carlile, and his Every Woman's Book.” It is scarcely possible, and analogically impossible, that Mr. Cobbett can refrain long from an approba
tion of what I have done in this case. They are but few who see the matter correctly and in all its bearings at first sight; but many curious conversions on this ground have come to my knowledge. Many country gentlemen, who feel pain from the distresses which they behold amorg the labouring people with large families, bave carefully given the recommendation their unqualified approbation. Most medical men acquainted with the evils which the want of the anti-conception scheme has produced in families, give to the recommendation their professional and benevolent approbation.
Mr. Cobbett promises a book to be called “ The Poor Man's Friend,” which is to teach the poor how to avoid suffering of hunger. I shall be glad to see his scheme, if it be any thing more than to send the unemployed people to the poor's rate. But how much better is it to have no children than for tender parents to have an insufficiency of food and raiment for them? The poor's rate never did, never will furnish a sufficiency: uor will any thing that Mr. Cobbett is likely to recommend teach the unemployed labouring man how to avoid the suffering of hunger.
That my war with Mr. Cobbett has not been without its effect, the Preston election has afforded a great proof, and I now introduce a small one. The following letter is printed as it was received. The name of the writer, if the circumstances be true, would have been desirable, as it could have added but little to the publicity or notoriety of the matter. The promised newspaper will reach these news-rooms with more facility.
Without some new provocative step on the part of Mr. Cobbett, I feel disposed to exclude his name from “The Republican;" though I must still read his Register.
R. C. ;
TO MR, RICHARD CARLILE.
Shrewsbury, July 21, 1826. In this town there has been established a News Room for a period of twenty years, and which is supported by annual subscription :- There are now eighty-nine subscribers. I, and a subscriber now deceased, were the original promoters of it.
În addition to taking most of the London papers, a motion was made by a subscriber about nine years ago, that Mr. Cobbett's Register should be taken, which was carried. About four years afterwards, I, (in justice to the respect, as I conceived, was due to a body of respectable subscribers) introduced a motion that the further taking of the Register, on account of its drivelling and puerile style of composition, excessive egotism. and gross personal abuse, should be discontinued—this was negatived by a majority of one, upon the ground of there being no other work that the subscribers would like to supply its place.
Last week 1 again revived my motion, with the addition that you'r Repnblican (which I have for many years felt pleasure in reading) shorild