Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

Names of Divisions.
Square miles. Population. Persons to each

KINGDOM OF ASTRAKHAN, . 13,823 2,598,700

118 (including) Government of Astrakhan, 3,899 222,700 - of Sawtow, . 4,297 1,333,500

310 - of Orenburgh, 5,626 1,043,500

185 These tables, published under sanc. portant lesson from the same fact; it tion of the Russian Government, are, may thus be taught to appreciate the past doubt, substantially correct. The elements of its wealth and power. contrasts they present are surely ex. Thirteen departments make up the traordinary ; and what is there in the western region; the population relatheory of Malthus to account for these tively to the surface is greater than discrepancies, unless vice, misery, and the last, for 5,428,000 inhabitants are moral restraint can be shown to exist scattered over a surface of 4200 square where animal food is to be had nearly leagues ; consequently, the average gratis, and where population is en- number to every square league excouraged both by the owners of the ceeds 1290. Still the advantages of soil, and the government of the coun- education are little known in the try !

western region ; in that point it is al. Such results, one would imagine, most on a level with the preceding. might have led M. Malte Brun, and How much, then, might the popula. others conversant with such details, to tion and wealth be increased, if ignohave doubted of the soundness of the rance no longer formed a barrier to notion, that mere populousness was a the expansion of industry?"- Malte sign of the prosperity of nations. Brun, Geography, vol. viii. p. 273. Theories, however, are spectacles Let us analyze this passage, strange through which men unhappily look at and self-contradictory as it is. The facts, as the following extract from M. southern departments of France, it Malte Brun's description of France seems, are eminently fruitful. But (for to France I now turn) will evince. then the people are only 934 to the Thus speaks Malte Brun of Southern square league--much below the mean France:

number of other divisions. There“ We have had occasion to observe fore, says he, these districts are comthe mild climate, the romantic sites, paratively poor and ill-peopled, and and the remains of Roman power in places them below the other better the twenty-eight departments that form peopled regions with 1290 to the the southern region of France. The square league, admitting, at the same inhabitants, it has been seen, are fa. time, that, in point of education and voured by nature ; the different pro- science, they are on a par! He, in ductions are admirably suited for their the same breath, blames the Governcountry; with the exception of the ment for this disparity. Now, is not mountains, the soil is every-where this monstrous, my Lord? Here we fruitful. But if the population be com- have a region stigmatized as “poor," pared with the surface, it will be found because it divides greater natural that the result accords ill with the na- wealth amongst fewer inhabitants than tural advantages of the same vast another region. At the same time, region which makes up more than a we have this other region held forth third part of the kingdom. The ex- as comparatively better, because it has tent is equal to 9000 square leagues ; more people, though these people are the population to 8,404,000 indivi. admitted to have no more scientific duals ; thus the number of inhabitants skill than their rivals to do away with to every square league does not amount the effects of the natural sterility of to nine hundred and thirty-four, a their soil, and augment their means result below the mean number in the of living comfortably nearer to their other divisions of the same country. numerical extent. How, too, was a Such facts are not without their value; Government to help this? If the (très veritable, M. Malte Brun /) if really poor country-I mean the pothe best and most fruitful part of pulous one-were to be helped, GoFrance is comparatively poor and ill- vernment might do this, cither by givpeopled, it proves how much the mu- ing them money and provisions, or nificence of nature may be surpassed enabling them to emigrate. But how by the industry and resources of man. is it to help the really rich district ? Government, too, may derive an im, If, in despite of the absence of Mal. thus's check of " misery," they will verty has produced the population ; not produce more children-if, ac- and, in proof of this, I shall cite as cording to Malte Brun, they will not evidence the poorest province of all produce this unerring evidence of “in- France-the province which all traveldustry"_how, in the name of all that lers agree in describing as being the is rational, can “Government" help likest to Ireland-Bretagne or Brit. that? The truth here is, that the po- tany. It is as follows:-BRETAGNE, OR BRITTANY,

including1. Department of Finisterre, . 1376 Population to the square league.

Coté du Nord, 1470
Le Mortchan, 1157
Isle de Vilaine, 1661
Bas de Loire,


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

1414 Average to the square league. And yet this is confessedly the poor country, not excepting even poor and est and most squalid, the least com- miserable Ireland, which is the most fortable and most ragged, of the populous of all. In China, similar French departments : so true is it that causes are known to have produced want and numbers always go on in similar consequences; and frightful * creasing together, and vice versa. scenes of child-murder and child

Let us now look at India, and we abandonment are believed to be of shall find precisely the same results. constant occurrence throughout the In the immense territory of Indostan, Celestial empire. The exact populait is well known that the principal tion can only be guessed at, and the food of the inhabitants is rice. The guesses are various. Allerstein, in Braminical religion forbids the use of 1743, estimated the Chinese people animal food, and this religion is pre. at one hundred and ninety-eight mildominant over the greater portion of lions, which Malte Brun reduces to one this vast region. The consequence of hundred and fifty millions, but which this mode of life is, that the numbers Macartney, in 1795, made to amount of the people so press upon their to three hundred and thirty millions. means of subsistence, that famines Taking the medium of two hundred frequently occur, and the population millions, the result to the square mile is actually thinned, for a brief space, is enormous, the area of China being by death from hunger; soon, however, only one million two hundred and to be replenished by fresh myriads. ninety-seven thousand nine hundred

M. Malte Brun states the area of and ninety-nine square miles, or, in Indostan, including both the British round numbers, one hundred and and native territories, at one million forty-five thousand square leagues tico hundred and eighty thousand whilst Macartney's estimate would square miles English. This broad give two thousand seven hundred expanse is crossed by chains of im. persons to every square league of this mense mountains quite uninhabitable, immense empire ; which, however, and much of the more level parts of over-peopled as it is known to be, is the country is yet forest, swamp, and hardly credible. But what a contrast jungle, the domain of the elephant, here with beef-crammed, gross, swithe tiger, the buffalo, and the rhino. nish Russia ! ceros; and yet the population is esti. It is lamentable to think, my Lord, mated as high as one hundred and that next to these Eastern countries, one thirty-four millions of human beings, of the most populous in the world is being, in round numbers, about eleven poor and squalid Ireland. The entire hundred to the British square league area of Ireland is 31,875 square Engfor the whole, which is far beyond lish miles. The population is now that of the most fertile departments of eight millions, at least ; but if the the beautiful country of France, and rate of increase from 1821 to 1831 be probably, if the space they in fact taken, probably nearer eight millions occupy could be accurately estimated, and a-half, or, in round numbers, two far beyond that of any European thousand five hundred persons to each

square league; and this in a country l st, That where a people are amply from which much of the wheat, and and sufficiently supplied with solid nearly all the live-stock are exported, food, their tendency is upon the whole and where it is known that, out of not to increase. twenty million acres, only fourteen 2d, That in all societies so supmillions are cultivated, or in any way plied, the great bulk of the populaproductive of food for the inhabi- tion are stationary as to number, and tants. In countries where pasturage that any increase at one end amongst and tillage are both pursued, and the the poorest is counteracted by a dimifood of the inhabitants is of ave- nution at the other end amongst the rage goodness, the population is al- luxurious. ways moderate. In highly fertile 3d, That this law generally perItaly, for instance, there are sixteen vades nature, inasmuch as the inmillions of persons upon ten thousand ferior animals, and all vegetable proFrench square leagues, which are its ductions, cease to be productive if area, being 1600 to the league—and the their food or soil be naturally or arti. rate of increase is trifling--the average ficially too abundant or too rich. of births to a marriage being three 4th, That, on the other hand, if the only. In the Netherlands, which is be- species be endangered, by want of yond question the most fertile and most sufficient sustenance, or by other enfeeand best cultivated tract in Europe bling causes, the tendency to increase

-where there are no mountains, and is immediately augmented, and that hardly an impediment to tillage ; in this general law pervades the vegeshort, where every rood of land is pro- table as well as animal kingdom. ductive, and where pasturage and till. 5th, That these laws clearly acage are equally pursued, we have count for the great differences as to similar results, a stationary and not im- increase of population in different moderate population, living well, and countries, and that no other theory their numbers only in accordance has accounted, nor can account, for with their food. In this beautiful these differences. country, which is like one great gar- Such, my Lord, are the effects den, there is not one person for each which the foregoing considerations hectare of land (two and a half acres have produced upon my mind. That English), despite the influx of persons they should produce a similar impresthither since the end of the war in sion upon your Lordship's, it would 1815, and yet these lands are nearly be arrogant in me to hope. If, howall in the highest state of produc- ever, this paper should meet the eye tiveness (a population below that of of your Lordship, and have cogency half-cultivated, half-starved Ireland); enough to induce you to pause and whilst here, instead of families of a reconsider this question, or deem it dozen children being seen, the average worthy of a reconsideration, I shall produce of a marriage is only four be amply repaid by the feeling that children ; and the population remains I have not, at all events, written in nearly stationary, the proportion of vain. Nor do I altogether despair of deaths to births being of course very this ; because I, like your Lordship, high. The increase of population in was at one time wholly subdued by the United States has been much the at once confident and plausible harped upon by Mr Malthus and assertions of Malthus, to which, at others. Of this I have only to say, that period, I had absolutely nothing to that, of all countries, it is the least oppose, but which, I am now convinced, likely for obtaining true results; the are altogether futile, and founded on immigration there of persons, fleeing a total ignorance of physiology and from the wretchedness of Europe, be. existing facts. ing so great and constant as to baffle With every deference for your Lordcalculation.

ship, and a deep respect for your LordHere, my Lord, I conclude, not ship's great and varied acquirements from want of matter, but from a fear and talents, of tedious repetition. The facts I I have the honour to remain, have adduced, however, are enough

My Lord, for me.

Your Lordship's most obedient I conclude from them the following

and humble servant, axioms, as to the truth of which I am

Thomas DOUBLEDAY. confident:


We delight in fiction; forthough per- convince every one of the indestructihaps not so wonderful as truth, it is just ble strength of this all-important as instructive, and far more agreeable. principle. Property has in many But we detest “ Fictitious Votes ;" places resumed, and is every where fast and still more do we detest the sense- resuming its natural and legitimate inless jargon which we have lately heard fluence. Hence the recent triumphs about them. There are, however, of Conservatism ; hence the cheering some considerations which at present prospect of a return to peace, order, almost force the subject upon us; and and good Government; and hence the we hope, therefore, that our readers clamour of the Whigs against what, will bear with us, while, in a very few either with reckless disregard of truth, words, we endeavour to put it in its or in profound ignorance of the subjust light.

ject, they are pleased to term “fictiThe clamour, then, which has re- tious votes." cently been made against these so. No one who considers the subject called fictitious votes, seem to us not for a single moment can doubt that only unreasonable and unmeaning, this is the true and only cause of the but of a tendency the most dangerous; outcry which has lately been raised by tending, we think, to consequences the Whigs on this subject; for in which have probably never been con- every thing that has been said by templated by many even of those who them as to fictitious votes, though the lend to it the sanction of their names. meaning is, in many respects, to the The causes of it can hardly need to be last degree obscure and unintelligible, pointed out to any one who has ob- it is yet quite manifest that there is a served the progress of political events constant reference to those cases gein Scotland (and to Scotland we shall nerally in which the elective franchise confine our present observations) dur- has been obtained with the avowed ing these three or four years past; object of strengthening the Conservathey are to be found in the natural, tive interest. The plain English of though probably to many persons the this, of course, just is—“We feel that unlooked for operation of that great the property of the country is against charter of our rights and liberties, the us; the political power which we have Reform Bill. It was the avowed ob- obtained by means of other influences, ject of the authors of that measure, which are temporary, precarious, and that the elective franchise should be unstable, is thus in a fair way of being based on PROPERTY--the only basis, wrested from us, and this must be surely, on which any sober-minded averted just by the old expedient of man would ever wish to see it rest. rendering one portion of the commuMany, no doubt, were our objections nity hateful to another portion of it." to the mode in which this object It is true that they now find themwas carried into effect in the Reformselves in a position in which they neiact : but let that pass; it is sufficient ther know to what portion of the comfor our present purpose that it is agreed munity the language of discord can on all hands, that property does be addressed, with a due regard to form the foundation of our present their own safety, nor can venture to political rights. Now it is quite clear, explain against what portion of it it is that property has ever been and must directed : for, on the one hand, they ever be Conservative ; and it is equally are well aware that the answer to it clear, that if political influence has any may be the answer of pure Radicalrelation to property at all, it must ism; and, on the other hand, they feel always in process of time come to bear that any attempt at explanation must a tolerably accurate proportion to it. just bring them at once to the ludiWhile the country was yet reeling crous acknowledgment that they obunder the shock which its whole social ject to all political influence whatever fabric received in the enactment of the which is not exercised in their own Reform Bill, this was perhaps less ap- favour. Still, however, this is, and parent; but the experience of more must be, the true meaning of all that recent and tranquil years, and the state has lately been said on this subject of of parties at the present moment, must “fictitious votes;" for if this term be thus applied generally to cases where hesitate in taking all that the law gives votes have been obtained in order to him in establishing his right to the strengthen the adverse political inte. elective franchise, we own that we rest, we would beg to enquire what have not been able to discover ; nor do other ground can be assigned for the we believe that the most stern moralapplication to such cases of any ex- ist would be able to assign a reason pression implying reproach or oblo- for it. quy? No man, surely, will maintain But then we have been asked, how that the motives from which property, can you defend an extension of the or any right with regard to property, right of suffrage, which has the effect may have been obtained, can affect of “swamping the real constituency?" the nature of the right itself; and This is a question to which the Whigs surely no one professing liberal prin- have of late perpetually recurred in ciples will contend that the acquisition this discussion, and with an air of of such a right, with a view to the simplicity and innocence which night elective franchise, and thus, of course, surely touch the most obdurate heart. to the extension of the constituency, We fear, however, that even this quesand the enlargement of the basis of tion—the last refuge of a losing cause our representation, is not rather praise- will also meet with its answer with worthy than blamable. Neither can even the most simple of their auditors. any one contend that the transfer of And that answer will probably sugsuch rights with this view, provided it gest itself in the form of this other be a legal transfer, is not a fair and question, “ What is the real constitulegitimate exercise of the right of pro- ency?" Is it those who support the perty, and a fair and legitimate ex. Whigs? or those who support the tension of political influence. And if Conservatives? or those who support such a question is to be decided, not the Radicals ? This, to be sure, might on its own principles, but by an ap. be a very convenient definition for peal to the practice of our adversaries, any one of these parties; but, unlucki. surely no one will deny that they have ly, it is not the true one. The true been at least as diligent in what has constituency is, of course, just another been termed “the creation of votes name for those to whom the right of for party purposes” as the Conserva suffrage is given by the Reform bill, tives—with this only difference, that and who have availed themselves of as the property of the country is that right; and how it can be said that against them, probably in at least the any one part of them is swamped by any proportion of ten to one, they have, of other part, in the way here stated, is course, found this source of influence quite beyond our comprehension. If limited in a like proportion.

there has been any swamping in the case, We have frequently heard it said, it would be easy to show that it has been that all parties, whether Conserva- of a totally different description ; but tives, Whigs, or Radicals, have, with to assert that any number of ten-pound regard to this matter, been equally voters--say, a hundred of them are “ uuscrupulous ;” and that they all swamped by the addition of another have gone “ to the very verge of the hundred, equally respectable, equally law.” But we confess that we are intelligent, and equally capable in all quite unable to perceive why any one respects to judge of public affairs and should have the slightest “scruple" in public men, seems to be a climax of claiming the elective franchise in any folly such as probably has never before circumstances, or on any species of right been attained out of bedlam_where, which are recognised by the Reform by the by, it seems always to have been act as giving him a just title to it; nor a favourite theory with the inmates that can we understand why any one should the minority have been “ swamped" not go to “ the very verge of the law" by the majority. in such a case. No doubt there may On this part of the question it is be many questions between man and plain that much might be said of the man, where one party could not go to conduct of the Whig party as affordthe very verge of the law without ing a refutation of their own argucommitting gross injustice to the other ment; for if the increase of votes, in party. No honest man, for instance, order to strengthen political influence, would go to the very verge of the law can, by any process of reasoning, be in order to avoid the payment of his represented as “ the swamping of the just debts. But why any one need true constituency," how (we might

« AnteriorContinuar »