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refused to acknowledge a dependent connexion-a connexion of friendship, a brotherly connexion-between himself and his fellow-man—the first denier of social obligation — the first rejector of social law and love, and preferer of selfishness the first man who threw off his brother from him
the first murderer" His hand shall be against every man, and every man's hand against him." This sentence, and its issues, are invoked by all the willing advocates of our modern system of Political Economy, and over their heads the sentence, with all its horrid issues, impends.
Treatment of the moral branch of the subject by Paley. - He is shown to have sacrificed Moral Truth in his endeavour to uphold Material Enjoyment.- View of the moral character of the modern and prevailing system of Political Economy as advocated by Mr. M'Culloch. His view coincident with that of Paley and the general writers of the school. — His course of argument brings him into antagonism with the fundamental principle of revealed religion. Consistently with his bad moral principle, he is shown to have argued that covetousness is the incentive by which the social progress of nations is best He is under the necessity of declaring the Miser to be the noblest character, or the hero of the modern and prevailing system of Political Economy. This conclusion a consistent and true conclusion. — Examination of the system concluded.
ON continuing an examination of the moral characteristic that appertains to the modern system of Political Economy, it was to have been hoped, and it might have been expected, that a writer so richly endowed as Paley, would not have rested in contentment until he had acquired a clear view of the subject, or, failing to attain a clear view, would have avoided the adoption of any positive conclusion. But it has to be lamented, that this eminent writer also fell away from the great feature of moral quality, allowing his spirit and his mind to descend into the low, worldly, and false views and courses, there to be overwhelmed. In his celebrated work on Moral and Political Philosophy, he has entered upon a disquisition of the branch of science now under consideration. The eleventh chapter of the fourth book of this work is devoted to the subjects - Population and Commerce; and the entire matter which it contains, cannot be characterised otherwise than as a series of clever conjectures, for no part of it can be shown to exhibit sound and consecutive reasoning.
It is remarkable that this author, like other writers whose works I have brought under examination, when he arrived at the more complicated and difficult part of the science, where he was imperatively called upon to check the speed of his declamation, and to proceed slowly and cautiously in order to work out a demonstration, has had recourse to an evasion of the truth of the subject. This is shown by the following
"It appears, then, that luxury, considered with a view to population, acts by two opposite effects; and IT SEEMS PROBABLE that there exists a point in the scale, to which luxury may ascend, or to which the wants of mankind may be multiplied with advantage to the community, and beyond which the prejudicial consequences begin to preponderate. The determination of this point, though it assume the form of an arithmetical problem, depends upon circumstances too numerous, intricate, and undefined, to admit of a precise
Again, at page 360, there occurs the following vague and most extraordinary proposition:-"The condition most favourable to population is that of a laborious, frugal people, ministering to the demands of an opulent, luxurious nation; because this situation, whilst it leaves them every advantage of luxury, exempts them from the evils which naturally accompany its admission into any country."
Malthus has adverted to the above passage in the following manner: "Such a form of society has not, it must be confessed, an inviting aspect. Nothing but the conviction of its being absolutely necessary could reconcile us to the idea of ten millions of people condemned to incessant toil, and to
Paley's Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy, book 4, ch. xi.
the privation of everything but absolute necessaries, in order to administer to the excessive luxuries of the other million."*
In the latter part of the first quotation from Paley, we are shown the unsubstantial foundation on which the "absolute necessity" of these writers, as also of so many other writers,
Malthus has added, in a note, that, from a passage in Paley's work on "Natural Theology," he is inclined to think that subsequent reflection induced him to modify some of his former opinions on the subject.
On reverting to the ethical, as connected with the physical, portion of the subject, I find that Mr. M'Culloch has made some advance towards its development; and it is to be observed of the writings of this Economist, that issues are sometimes adhered to with strictness. On such occasions, if he does not define truly, he nevertheless argues logically. Having admitted a principle, he marks well its corollaries, and adopts, without hesitation, its legitimate conclusions, of whatever character they may be.
With regard, then, to the principle of moral action, as called forth by that asserted theory of action upon which the modern system of Political Economy is founded, it has been described in more than one part of the preceding examination. It has its origin in self-will, individual desire, single individual desire. This is declared to be the right source or true principle of volition and action. This being admitted, it follows, that the greater the impulse given by this power of self-will to the numerous divisions and subdivisions of labour or employment, the more ample will be the development of the. material things which have been ordained to conduce to the temporal well-being of mankind. Thus are connected, as cause
Essay on the Principle of Population, by T. R. Malthus, A. M., book 4,
and effect, the selfish and the social, but the introduction of the social into this connexion is merely assumed or forced, for not one writer has been able to introduce and to connect the social element. I beg to direct attention, in the next place, to the issues of this assumed theory. Having shown its first principle or origin, I will now try it by its opposite extremity, or the end to which it has conducted.
Upon this great point Mr. M'Culloch has advanced the following matter :—
"Thus, then, we arrive by a different and more lengthened route, at the same result I have already endeavoured to establish — the inextinguishable passion for gain,- the 'auri sacra fames,'—will always lead capitalists to employ their stocks in such branches of industry as yield, all things considered, the highest rate of profit. And it is clear to demonstration, that those which yield this highest rate, are those in which it is most for the public interest that capital should be invested." ""*
Again, in the same work, there occurs the following passage, which, though brief in words, is boundless in signification :— "There are no limits to the passion for accumulation:
"Nec Crosi fortuna unquam nec Persica regna
The fullest development, however, of the issues of the theory assumed is given thus:
"It was long a prevalent opinion among moralists, that the consumption, and consequently the production, of luxuries, was unprofitable and disadvantageous. If a man wished to get rich, his object, it was said, ought not to be to increase his fortune, but to lessen his wants. quem volueris esse
* Principles of Political Economy, by J. R. M'Culloch, Esq., ch. vi. p. 179.
+ Ibid. ch. vii. p. 191. VOL. I.