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pect the offer of the same means to bring them back. We cannot be surprised then that except where a spirit of enterprise is added to the uneasiness of poverty, the consideration of these circumstances should frequently
“ Make them rather bear the ills they suffer,
If a tract of rich land as large as this island were suddenly annexed to it, and sold in small lots, or let out in small farms, the case would be very different, and the melioration of the state of the common people would be sudden and striking ; though the rich would be continually complaining of the high price of labor, the pride of the lower classes, and the difficulty of getting work done. These, I understand, are not unfrequent complaints among the men of property in America.
Every resource however, from emigration, if used effectually, as this would be, must be of short duration. There is scarcely a state in Europe except perhaps Russia, the inhabitants of which do not often endeavor to better their condition by removing to other countries. As these states therefore have nearly all rather a redundant than deficient population, in proportion to their produce, they cannot be supposed to afford any
effectual resources of emigration to each other. Let us suppose for a moment, that in this more enlightened part of the globe, the internal economy of each state were so admirably regulated, that no checks existed to population, and the different governments provided every facility for emigration. Taking the population of Europe, exclud. ing Russia, at a hundred millions, and allowing a greater increase of produce than is probable, or even possible, in the mother countries, the redundancy of
parent stock in a single century would be eleven hundred millions, which added to the natural increase of the colonies, during the same time, would more than double what has been supposed to be the present population of the whole earth.
Can we imagine that in the uncultivated parts of Asia, Africa or America, the greatest exertions and the best directed endeavors could, in so short a period, prepare a quantity of land sufficient for the support of such a population. If any sanguine person should feel a doubt upon the subject, let him only add 25 or 50 years more, and every doubt must be crushed in overwhelming conviction.
It is evident therefore, that the reason why the resource of emigration has so long continued to vol. ii.
be held out as a remedy to redundant population is, because from the natural unwillingness of people to desert their native country, and the difficulty of clearing and cultivating fresh soil, it never is or can be adequately adopted. If this remedy were indeed really effectual, and had power so far to relieve the disorders of vice and misery in old states as to place them in the condition of the most prosperous new colonies, we should soon see the phial exhausted, and when the disorders returned with increased virulence, every hope from this quarter would be forever closed.
It is clear therefore, that with any view of making room for an unrestricted increase of population, emigration is perfectly inadequate ; but as a partial and temporary expedient, and with a view to the more general cultivation of the earth, and the wider spread of civilization, it seems to be both useful and proper; and if it cannot be proved that governments are bound actively to encourage it, it is not only strikingly unjust, but in the highest degree impolitic in them to prevent it. There are no fears so totally ill-grounded as the fears of depopulation from emigration. The vis inertiæ of people in general, and their attachment to their homes, are qualities so strong and general, that we
may rest assured that they will not emigrate, unless from political discontents or extreme poverty they are in such a state, as will make it as much for the advantage of their country as of themselves that they should go out of it. The complaints of high wages in consequence of emigrations are of all others the most unreasonable, and ought the least to be attended to. If the wages of labor in any country be such as to enable the lower classes of people to live with tolerable comfort, we may be quite certain that they will not emigrate ; and if they be not such it is cruelty and injustice to de. tain them
Of Poor Laws.
TO remedy the frequent distresses of the poor, laws to enforce their relief have been instituted; and in the establishment of a general system of this kind, England has particularly distinguished herself. But it is to be feared that though it may have alleviated a little the intensity of individual misfortune, it has spread the evil over a much larger surface.
It is a subject often started in conversation, and mentioned always as a matter of great surprise, that notwithstanding the immense sum which is annually collected for the poor in this country there is still so much distress among them. Some think that the money must be embezzled for private use ; others, that the churchwardens and overseers consume the greatest part of it in feasting. All agree, that somehow or other it must be very ill managed. In short, the fact, that even before the late scarcities three millions were col