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current in society, respecting the effects of private expenditure on the employment of labour and on the interests of the working-classes, are such as not only must offend those who have any regard for economical truth, but are practically mischievous and demoralising in their tendency. The revolting doctrine that "private vices are public benefits," is involved in the apology, constantly urged on behalf of others, and no doubt frequently applied to their own consciences by the parties themselves, that extravagance and prodigality furnish employment for labour, encourage trade, and benefit the community, by putting money into active circulation. In attempting the exposure of a fallacy so plausible and inveterate as this, I conceived that I should discharge no superfluous task, and might render an acceptable service to the cause of truth and morals.
The remainder of the Lectures, nine in number, are devoted mainly to the subject of Population. My attempt has been to discriminate between the truth and the errors contained in Mr. Malthus' celebrated Essay. Giving credit to that eminent person for much that is valuable and sound in his researches and reasonings, I have endeavoured to demonstrate the fallacy of his cardinal maxim, that "population has everywhere a tendency to increase in a greater ratio than subsistence," and that the greater part
of the sufferings endured in all societies is attributable to this tendency. Nothing that is said in these Lectures will, I hope, be deemed inconsistent with the respect which I unfeignedly entertain for the talents, the integrity of purpose, and the manifest philanthropy of this writer. But I am bound to express my conviction, that the doctrine which he laboured to inculcate, of the constant tendency of all societies to over-population, is untenable in principle, irreconcileable with facts, and, I must add, while fully acquitting Mr. Malthus himself of any approach to impiety or presumption, derogatory to the Author of those laws by which the economy of society is regulated. If the conclusion of the Essay on Population be true, it seems to me to involve this inevitable consequence has been a miscalculation of means to arrangements of the universe- either been made too prolific, or the earth too sterile. In discussing and illustrating the various branches of this subject, I have freely availed myself of the labours of other well-known writers on population, particularly M. Say, M. Bastiat, Mr. Senior, Mr. Mc Culloch, Sir Archibald Alison, Mr. Sadler, Mr. Carey, the American economist, and Mr. W. E. Hickson.* To Sir A. Alison's work,
ends in the
* Author of an able article on Population, in No. 102. of the Westminster Review.
entitled "Principles of Population," I am indebted for many of the observations drawn from the present condition of various countries in the world, which will be found in my Sixth and Seventh Lectures. To Mr. Sadler's work I am bound to acknowledge a still greater obligation in respect to the facts and arguments made use of in my Fourth Lecture. Indeed, I should scarcely over-state the truth in describing that Lecture as little more than an abridgment of the "Essay upon the Balance of Food and Numbers of Animated Nature," contained in the appendix to Mr. Sadler's book. The matter of that essay appeared to me so interesting in itself, and so valuable a contribution to the argument, that I did not scruple to avail myself of it, subject to such alteration of shape and such additions and modifications as my own judgment or information derived from other sources induced me to adopt. Nor, with this full acknowledgment of Mr. Sadler's literary rights, have I thought it incumbent upon me to omit the Lecture, of which the credit, if any, is due to him, from this publication. It may be proper, in order to prevent misconception, to add, that I do not at all concur in the theory of population propounded by Mr. Sadler as his own; but for which, in my opinion, he failed to adduce any substantial grounds. In assailing the theory of Mr. Malthus, indeed, he appears to me to have been far more successful; and,
but for the warmth of temper and asperity of tone which disfigure his work, I believe that the controversial ability it displays would have received much greater credit, and have told with far more damaging effect upon his opponent.
While admitting my obligations to other writers for the aid thus derived from them, I must not forbear at the same time to assert the claim on my own behalf, without which the present publication would be without excuse. Had I been aware of any other work which places the laws that regulate the increase of mankind in the same point of view, and offers the same solution for the difficulties which have given rise to the controversy about population, I should certainly have abstained from entering on the subject. But I was not acquainted when I undertook these Lectures with any other treatise, among the many written by persons opposed to Mr. Malthus, in which a sound or satisfactory exposition of the laws of population was offered in substitution for the theory of that writer. It was not until I had virtually completed my Lectures, that I met with a small tract by Mr. Alexander Everett, the distinguished diplomatist of the United States, published in London in 1823, and entitled "New Ideas on Population, with Remarks on the Theories of Malthus and Godwin." This publication, small in bulk and modest in pretension, does not appear to
have met with the attention or produced the effect which the candour, ability, and judgment displayed in its few pages deserved. It may be, that the concurrence of the writer's views with my own has biassed me in its favour; but I cannot refrain from expressing my opinion, whatever it may be worth, that in no treatise which has come under my notice have the laws of population been so unexceptionably laid down, or so successfully harmonised with the recognised principles of political economy. So far as my acquaintance with American economists extends, I believe that the theories of Malthus and Ricardo, which have for some time reigned paramount in the English school of political economy, have not generally found acceptance in the United States. There is an obvious explanation of this circumstance which I am inclined to regard as the true one-the theories in question are not found to square with the facts presented by the new world; - they are founded mainly upon certain phenomena of society occasionally observed in old countries; but they are entirely out of place in a community in which both production and population are yet in the infancy of their growth, and seem to admit of an almost boundless expansion and development. In the Third Lecture of this
* I cannot refrain here from expressing my opinion as to the great advantage to be derived by the English student from the writings of the American economists, as well on account of