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among the "boisterous doubts and sturdy objections, wherewith in philosophy, as well as in divinity, the unhappiness of our knowledge too nearly acquaints us."* They have considered it as an anomaly in the system of divine administration; a provision for entailing upon mankind much laborious poverty, and some painful indigence. The antidote, however, is commonly found to grow within reach of the poison. The instinctive principle by which every country in the world is replenished with inhabitants as fast as its fertility allows, when more generally understood, and more fully reflected upon, will be appealed to as a proof that, as our knowledge and researches extend, they discover to us, in the moral as well as in the natural world, new proofs of most comprehensive wisdom in the Creator. It is, in fact, the mighty engine which, operating constantly and uniformly, keeps our world in that state which is most agreeable to the design of the creation, and renders mankind the spontaneous instruments of their Maker, in filiing and civilizing the habitable globe. We may not, perhaps, be able to discover all the bearings, or follow all the consequences, of a principle which is undoubtedly the primary, though secret agent, in producing all the boundless varieties of the human condition. It ought, however, to satisfy us, if, as our inquiries penetrate farther into the general laws of the animate and inanimate creation, we clearly discover a wonderful subserviency of appointed means to the accomplishment of some uniform design; affording, even where the design is but partially understood, such testimony of wisdom in the means, as obliges us to rely in humble acquiescence upon the Supreme Disposer of both.'—(vol. ii. pp. 173-175.)
The title of the THIRD PART of the Essay is On the Goodness of the Creator;'-a subject essentially involved in most of the discussions contained in the preceding parts. It is obvious that the permission of moral evil in a world from which it might have been excluded, can only be reconciled with the goodness of God upon the supposition that it was intended as a place of moral trial for its inhabitants, where, by struggling against evil, and exercising their faculties in discovering the means whereby they may rise superior to it, they may be fitted for a state of happiness in another and a better world. This approaches so nearly to some of the arguments in the preceding chapters, that we cannot be surprized at meeting with a few instances of repetition. In this part of the work, however, the author, in conformity with the terms of his contract, proceeds to fortify his moral reasoning with the authority of Scripture, and we have an observation, or two to make upon the nature and terms of the argument used respecting the trials to which the holy men of the Old Testament were ex
*Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici. 'More of these,' continues the excellent author, no man has known than myself; which I confess I conquered, not in a mar. tial posture, but on my knees.'
posed. The faith of Abraham, for example, was tried in various ways. 'His first call,' says Mr. Sumner, was attended with a command "to leave his country, and his kindred, and his father's house." This call he immediately obeyed; and it is remarked, as a proof of his merit, that when he was summoned into a country which he should afterwards receive as his inheritance, he went out not knowing whither. Now we are aware that we are here treading on delicate ground; but we apprehend that it would be to desert every principle of right faith, to suppose that Abraham, or any other man, could by any act proceeding from his faith or belief, which is the gift of God, establish any merit in the sight of God. He was pleased to ordain, for purposes not very difficult to be understood, that Abraham and every sound believer should give evidence of the reality of his faith by action: but that this should have any meritorious value in His sight, is certainly inconsistent with Scripture, and, as we believe, with the settled opinions of Mr. Sumner himself. Nor can we bring ourselves to think that Mr. Sumner intends to convey to his readers that God favoured Abraham because he displayed the outward act of preparing to sacrifice his son, but rather because his heart was in such a state as to prevent him from hesitating an instant to give a simple and implicit obedience to the commands of God against his natural reason and inclinations.
We have ventured upon these observations in the hope that Mr. Sumner may be induced, in a subsequent edition, to omit entirely, or very much to qualify, these and a few other expressions of simi lar import, which might give rise to misconceptions such as we have reason to think him the last man who would wish to encourage. For the rest, we think it has been sufficiently proved in the former parts of the Essay that this world is constituted as a place of moral discipline for the hearts and conduct of men :—and that all the natural evils, and those of civil life which man is heir to, the loss of friends, the sufferings of pain, &c. are, when converted to their proper uses, so many benevolent provisions for withdrawing the heart and affections from the world, and for fixing them upon the Creator,-which is the first effectual step in the way to heaven.
Of the assistance afforded to us by the revelation of the Lord Jesus' in the pursuit of this exalted object, and of the Goodness of God displayed in the Christian Dispensation,' we are almost glad to perceive that we have not space to treat upon the present occasion. Mr. Sumner's observations upon them are confined to about twenty pages; and the statement appears to us to be neither so full, so distinct, nor so satisfactory as we are persuaded he would be disposed to make it in a subsequent edition. We abstain, therefore,
therefore, the more readily from any remarks upon this chapter of the work, as we feel it absolutely necessary still to trespass upon our readers' patience by a brief investigation of the two which follow, upon the Evils and Advantages of Civilized and Uncivilized Life.
There is no one point which the advocate for the Wisdom and Goodness of the Creator is bound more clearly to make out, than that the progress of society brings no necessary addition of vice and misery to any rank of the community;-and truly there is no circumstance under which we contemplate the advocates for Mr. Malthus's principles with more pity, than when they undertake to make out this proposition with respect to the lower orders of society. It is not very difficult to shew under almost any system, that a principle of fair compensation pervades all the changes that are wrought in the habits, manners, and arrangements of the higher and middle classes;-that the freedom from restraint, the rude plenty, the early marriages incident to the earlier stages, for example, are fully compensated to those classes by the regular industry, the growing comfort and accommodation, and the increased facilities of improving their condition, which commerce, manufactures, and civilization bring in their train. But we have always observed a sad perplexity about those who are bound to deprecate the early marriages of the labouring classes, and the exercise of all those charities towards them which have a tendency directly or indirectly to prolong or enlarge the stream of human life,' already, it is said, in danger of overflowing ;-we have always, we say, observed these reasoners sadly perplexed when they have thought themselves bound to make out, consistently with this theory and its conse quences, that Providence brings no necessary increase of moral and political evil upon the lower classes as society advances. We firmly believe, indeed, that such is the fact; but as we cannot altogether agree that a few free schools constitute a sufficient compensation, moral or political, to the mass of the people for the privation of the social endearments and moral security arising out of the marriage contract and for the relief flowing from active and extensive charity,—we should certainly be disposed to conclude à priori, if we were not already satisfied by inquiry into the principle itself, that Providence has so adapted the progress of population to that of society, as still to leave to the lower orders nearly the same option of early marriage, which they possessed in the less advanced stages of society; and that any little difference which may be found in this respect may fairly be said to be compensated by the liberal exercise of those increased means of charity which civilization and commerce place in the hands of the higher ranks. In arguing these points, Mr. Sumner does not appear to have been able to preserve
his consistency any more than the other advocates of Mr. Malthus's system.-Indeed his practical and benevolent turn of mind, and the compendious manner in which he seems to have adopted the system without mature inquiry, have made him vastly more inconsistent than most of his predecessors. His good sense and the intelligent observation of what he saw around him haye most unceremoniously brought him to the right conclusions on both the fundamental points abovementioned, with a most disloyal contempt of the authority of those principles to the sovereignty of which, in an evil hour, his judgment had somewhat too hastily sworn allegiance.
With respect to the exercise of charity, he fairly gives up the point as far as practice is concerned, and does not pretend to defend the abstract argument by any such subterfuge as we have somewhere seen, that general principles should not be pushed too far; and that cases may occur where the good resulting may more than overbalance the evil to be apprehended.' It is scarcely necessary to observe, that the question in debate is not as to cases of particular exception, but as to the general principles upon which the conduct of states and individuals should be regulated. There are in this part of the Essay many judicious remarks upon the effects of charity upon the lower orders, in which we cordially agree, and which we believe to be quite consistent with the view which we have taken of the principle of population.
With respect to the marriage of the lower orders, the following passage occurs, which we should feel disposed to call a pattern plan for the moral welfare and temporal happiness of the labouring poor in that respect. We are only surprized how an advocate of Mr. Malthus's system could ever have thought of suggesting it as sufficient to ensure their permanent comfort.
The wages of husbandry, including the additions of harvest-time, may be averaged at 12s. per week, from the age of eighteen. Half that sum is amply sufficient for the support of a single man. This would leave an overplus of 6s. per week for seven years: but, to avoid any appearance of overstating the fact, and to allow for lost time, we will only take 4s. or 10l. per annum, which, if regularly laid up, would, with interest, make 801. by the age of twenty-five. Allow the mechanic to work for himself at twenty-one, his higher rate of wages will enable him to save 10s. weekly, or 217. per annum. The careful application of this surplus will also make him worth the same sum at twenty-five:*
'Allow this to be the period of marriage, which is much earlier than
The exertions which the lower classes make, when they see the benefit clearly before them, would surprize the mere calculator of the money which passes through their hands. See Mr. Whitbread's speech on the Poor Laws, and the case of Joseph Austin, (Reports on the Pour, vol. iii.), with many others which occur in that collection.
the average period of those who are brought up to the learned professions. It is probable, that by similar habits the wife may contribute such a share of capital as will supply the cottage with its humble furniture. At all events, they live without difficulty, even if without further saving, for four or five years; the interest of former savings paying the rent, and thus removing the necessity of those extraordinary exertions, which in the way of task-work sometimes undermine the constitutions of the industrious poor. If the family increases after this time, difficulties will increase. This is the period of a labourer's life which it is hardest to encounter, from his thirtieth to his fortieth year : it is the inclement season, which ought to be expected and looked forward to. Before that period, he has only occasion to be frugal; after ît, his children will begin to support themselves but at present, an infant family will prevent the wife from contributing much towards the weekly outgoings; and the children themselves can gain nothing towards them. Former savings, therefore, the harvest of the productive season, must now be drawn upon: but they were laid up for this very purpose, and we can afford it. Let 5s. a week be taken from the four dead months of the year; those who are conversant with the labourer's cottage, will know that 5s. in addition to his usual wages will place him în comparative opulence; and suppose this draft to be continued during ten years, the capital has only lost 40l. From that time the children contribute their share; the family ceases to be a growing burden; and there remains a stock towards setting forward the children in life, or to supply some of the numerous wants of increasing years.'—(pp. 314— 317.)
Now if we do not mistake, there is no period of life at which a healthy couple could come together with greater prospect of rearing a numerous family, than at the age of twenty-five. Suppose then that Mr. Sumner's suggestions were generally carried into effect, we should, according to Mr. Malthus's principles, have in one generation only such overflowing numbers, that it is evident they must either starve, or the period of marriage in the next.generation must be deferred to the age of thirty, forty, or fifty years, to that period of life, in short, which may be assumed upon the same theory to be not more than sufficient to replace the number of the parents. According to our principles, however, the suggestion would be as salutary and permanent in operation as it is wise and benevolent in conception; for the healthy progeny which it would be calculated to produce, would be drawn off spontaneously to supply the deficiencies of those places where the effects of commerce, civilization, and manufactures had either occasioned in other parts of the community a defalcation of numbers, or required an additional supply of hands to take advantage of resources newly opened to the industry of the people.-And let it be observed, the price paid in the remuneration of labour, which is always an index of the extent of these demands, would necessarily regulate in a great degree