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Observations on the reply of Mr. Godwin.

first mentions among the worst forms of vice and misery

In one part of his reply, Mr. Godwin makes a supposition respecting the number of children that might be allowed to each prolific marriage ; but as he has not entered into the detail of the mode by which a greater number might be prevented, I shall not notice it further than merely to observe, that although he professes to acknowledge the geometrical and arithmetical ratios of population and food, yet in this place he appears to think that practically applied, these different ratios of inerease are not of a nature to make the evil resulting

parents. The almost invariable tendency of this custom to increase population, when it depends entirely on the parents, shows the extreme pain which they must feel in making such a sacrifice, even when the distress arising from excessive poverty may be supposed to have deadened in great measure their sensibility. What must his pain be then upon the supposition of the interference of a magistrate or of a positive law, to make parents destroy a child, which they feel the desire and think they possess the power of supporting? The permission of infanticide is bad enough, and cannot but have a bad effect on the moral sensibility of a nation ; but I cannot conceive any thing much more detestable or shocking to the feelings than any direct regulation of this kind, although sanctioned by the names of Plato and Aristotle. vol. ii.

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Observations on the reply of Mr. Godwin.

from them urgent, or alarmingly to confine the natural progress of population. This observation seems to contradict his former acknowledgment.

The last check which Mr. Godwin mentions, and which I am persuaded is the only one which he would seriously recommend is, “ that senti

ment, whether virtue, prudence, or pride, which “continually restrains the universality and fre

quent repetition of the marriage contract.” On this sentiment which I have already noticed, it will appear that in the sequel of this work I shall lay considerable stress. Of this check therefore itself I entirely approve; but I do not think that Mr. Godwin's system of political justice is by any. means favorable to its prevalence. The tendency to early marriages is so strong that we want every possible help that we can get to counteract it ; and a system which in any way whatever tends to weaken the foundation of private property, and to lessen in any degree the full advantage and superiority which each individual may derive from his prudence, must remove the only counteracting weight to the passion of love, that can be de

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Observations on the reply of Mr. Godwin.

pended upon for any essential effect. Mr. Godwin acknowledges that in his system, “ the ill conse

quences of a numerous family will not come so " coarsely home to each man's individual interest as they do at present. ”

But I am sorry to say, that froin what we know hitherto of the human character we can have no rational hopes of success without this coarse application to individual interest, which Mr. Godwin rejects. If the whole effect were to depend merely on a sense of duty, considering the powerful antagonist that is to be contended with in the present case, I confess that I should absolutely despair. At the same time I am strongly of opinion, that a sense of duty, superadded to a sense of interest, would by no means be without its effect. There are many noble and disinterested spirits, who, though aware of the inconveniences which they may bring upon themselves by the indulgence of an early and virtuous passion, feel a kind of repugnance to listen to the dictates of mere worldly prudence, and a pride in rejecting these low considerations. There is a kind of romantic gallantry in sacrificing all

Reply, p. 74.

Observations on the reply of Mr. Godwin.

for love, naturally fascinating to a young mind; and to say the truth, if all is to be sacrificed, I do not know in what better cause it can be done. But if a strong sense of duty could in these instances be added to prudential suggestions, the whole question might wear a different color. In delaying the gratification of passion from a sense of duty, the most disinterested spirit, the most delicate honor, might be satisfied. The romantic pride might take a different direction, and the dictates of worldly prudence might be followed with the cheerful consciousness of making a virtuous sacrifice.

If we were to remove or weaken the motive of interest, which would be the case in Mr. Godwin's system, I fear we should have but a weak substitute in a sense of duty. But if to the present beneficial effects known to result from a sense of interest, we could superadd a sense of duty which is the object of the latter part of this work, it does not seem absolutely hopeless, that some partial improvement in society should result from it.

CHAPTER IV.

Of Emigration.

ALTHOUGH the resource of emigration scems to be excluded from such a society as Mr. Godwin has imagined; yet in that partial degree of improvement which alone can rationally be expected, it may fairly enter into our consideration. And as it is not probable that human industry should begin to receive its best direction throughout all the nations of the earth at the same time, it may be said that in the case of a redundant population in the more cultivated parts of the world, the natural and obvious remedy that presents itself is, emigration to those parts that are uncultivated. As these parts are of great extent, and very thinly peopled, this resource might appear, on a first view of the subject, an adequate remedy, or at least of a nature to remove the evil to a distant period : but when we advert to experience, and to the actual state of the uncivilized parts of the globe, instead of any thing like an

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