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gins to feel that he has wants ungratified, and is capable of exertions by which these wants may be supplied. He enters on a career of which no man has yet seen the termination. He desires to procure more abundant, more permanently secure, and more luxurious food, and he becomes a shepherd and an agriculturist; he has acquired a taste for variety and elegance in his clothing, and he becomes a manufacturer; he feels the comforts and conveniences of a well-constructed habitation, and architecture takes its place among the arts.

This career, though slow in its commencement and in its first stages, accelerates as it proceeds. Man is so constituted that success kindles hope and fires ambition; enjoyment, instead of producing content, excites new desires; exertion, instead of producing fatigue, only creates skill, and opens the way to additional labors. The motion, once commenced, is carried along by its own impetus, and always accumulating, proceeds in a constantly increasing ratio. The objects on which it expends itself are never exhausted. Nature is full of varied riches, and her treasury can never be emptied. In examining her resources, new materials are ever discovered, or new powers are developed, or new uses are invented. The faculties of man keep pace with the bounties of Nature; as her stores multiply, his ingenuity increases along with his desire of possessing; and thus a constant system of action and reaction is kept up, which is powerfully and irresistibly bearing society forward in its course of improvement. The present has been justly said to be the age of velocity, and to its excitement and progress there seems to be no assignable boundary.

Such is the effect produced by the correspondence of the external world, with the powers and faculties of the human mind; and so true it is, that the Creator has most wisely adjusted the one to the other, so as to cultivate the intellect, and give energy and success to the exertions of his rational creatures.

THIRD WEEK—THURSDAY.

HUMAN FOOD. ITS PRINCIPLE.

I HAVE elsewhere adverted to the principle impressed on Nature by an intelligent and benevolent Creator, by which the necessity of laboring for the means of subsistence, is rendered a powerful and constantly-acting stimulus for calling forth and giving a salutary employment to the mental faculties of man ;* and I have also taken occasion incidentally, to show that an immense, and, practically speaking, an almost inexhaustible field for the increase of human food, in proportion to the demands of an increased population, is provided on the surface of our globe ; but this latter subject is of such vast importance in an argument for displaying the Divine perfections, that it requires a more direct and formal discussion; especially, as the true state of the case seems, in the present day, to be very generally misunderstood.

That the Creator could have formed man, without the necessity of sustaining his corporeal powers, by having recourse to food, no one can deny. His body might, doubtless, have been formed, had it so pleased the Divine Wisdom, of as permanent materials as pure gold or crystal rock, or even, with its present construction of flesh and blood, it might have found sufficient nourishment in the atmosphere he breathes. But this was not the scheme of creation, and would have been altogether inconsistent with the welfare of such a being as man, who requires to be roused and excited by some powerful necessity, before he will exercise his mental faculties. The whole process, as it actually exists, is exceedingly striking; and indicates a deeply-contrived and most curiously-adjusted system, which it is impossible to contemplate in any one of its complicated bearings, without admiration; and

* See ‘Spring'—Origin of Agricultural Labor, &c.; and ‘Summer' -Principles of Horticulture, &c.

Summer'-The Banana.-The Coral Insect, et passim.

which, considered as a whole, amazes and confounds the mind, while it unspeakably exalts its conceptions of the unseen Contriver.

The beautiful adjustment of the soil and the elements, to the nature of the seed and the growth of plants, and the reciprocal adjustment of the vegetable functions to inorganic nature; the fine and delicate adaptations of the whole system of organized existence, by which the almost innumerable productions of the vegetable world are so remarkably balanced among themselves, and adapted to their various localities, while they are with matchless wisdom formed so as to afford a grateful subsistence to the equally diversified tribes of living creatures; and especially the peculiar nature of these adaptations with reference to the human race, and the power bestowed upon the latter to modify their relations and regulate their growth,—all these circumstances, and many more, which have already been separately considered, unequivocally exhibit a system of intelligent, comprehensive, and far-seeing arrangement; and lead the mind to the contemplation of those ulterior views of the Supreme Governor, which have not yet been developed in the plan of Nature, but have been not obscurely intimated in the book of revealed truth.

With regard to that part of this wonderful system by which man is invested with the power of interfering with the nicely adjusted balance of Nature, and of subjecting both the vegetable and animal world to such alterations as may promote his own views, and enable him to advance the comfort, and make room for the multiplication of his own species, referring my readers to what has already been said as the occasion occurred, I shall, in the present and some subsequent papers, confine myself to one branch of this wide and most interesting subject,—that which relates to the question of supply and demand.

It has been alleged, by an exceedingly ingenious and well-intentioned writer,* that the supply of human food must necessarily be so disproportioned to the demand, as always to give rise to crime and misery, which are its na

IV.

*Mr. Malthus.

8

X.

tural checks, and that the tendency of the system is such as to induce the speedy arrival of a period in which the world shall become so overstocked as to prevent all further progression, and occasion evils at the bare suggestion of which human nature revolts. His argument is founded on the assumption, that the impulse to propagate the species is such, where there are no counteracting causes, as to occasion an increase of the human population in a geometrical progression, while their food is only made to increase in an arithmetical series; that is to say, that there is no wisely regulated adjustment between the laws of multiplication and those of subsistence, but that these laws are contradictory and hostile to each other.

It may safely be affirmed, a priori, that there must be some fallacy here. Any one who has properly considered the analogy of Nature, will at once pronounce, that, in a system which, with regard to other particulars of inferior importance, displays so manifest and so benevolent an adjustment of the various departments of created things, a similar adjustment must be established in this higher department. Supposing, therefore, the natural fact to be established, that there is a tendency in the human species to increase in a geometrical ratio, we may rest assured, that the checks to this progression are such as to form a wellregulated balance, perfectly consistent with the welfare of society, and the intentions of Divine Goodness.

This conclusion is borne out by the facts of history, and a rational survey of the present condition and future prospects of the world. It is true that crime and misery prevail, and have always prevailed, in every state of the human race; but this is the condition of our fallen nature, and depends altogether on a different principle from that which we are at present considering. At no period of the human history, and under no circumstances of their condition, were crime and misery the necessary result of over-population, or the necessary checks by which it was restrained. The Chinese have been accused of murdering their infants from this cause; but what is the fact, even with regard to that thickly peopled and comparatively wellcultivated country Mr. Sadler has shown, on convinc

ing evidence, that so far from China being yet made to yield its produce to the utmost extent, that country might be so cultivated as to "clothe and feed five times as many human beings as probably inhabit the whole world!" The ground on which he forms this remarkable conclusion, may be stated in very few words. He shows, from official documents, that China contains six hundred and forty millions of acres which might be cultivated, and that an acre of rice would afford a supply of that article sufficient for ten persons during a whole year, in the southern provinces, and for five persons in the northern. It follows, that rice, which is the natural food of the Chinese, might be increased, even by their present mode of cultivation, so as to maintain four or five thousand millions of people living as they do. If we make allowance for the quantity of land which would require to be occupied in raising the materials for clothing, the result will not be materially different, as an acre of cotton will clothe from two to three hundred persons. But the present population of China, does not, according to their own official documents, exceed three hundred and sixty millions, and is probably much less, while the population of the whole earth has never been stated at more than a thousand millions, and there is reason to believe it comes far short of that amount. *

If there be truth in this statement, it cannot be said that any necessity has yet existed, or is likely soon to exist, in China, for the perpetration of the unnatural crime of which they have been accused; and a similar remark may be extended to all the countries of the world. It is true that there has every where, and in all ages, been a pressure of the population against the means of subsist

* Malte Brun states the amount at only six hundred and fifty millions, and the Supplement to the Edinburgh Encyclopedia, says, 66 we think his enumeration for Asia, Africa, and America still rather high, and submit the following estimate as the result of our inquiries :

Europe,

Asia, with Australia and Polynesia,

Africa,
America,

185,000,000
270,000,000

55,000,000
40,000,000

550,000,000

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