« 前へ次へ »
the means of establishing themselves in comfortable independence with the partners of their affections, and of creating an available fund for supplying the wants of an infant and helpless family. Hence, of all human institutions, Economical banks bold out the most powerful inducements to industry and frugality. Nor is this all. “As experience impresses the important and consolatory conviction, that the labouring classes possess the means of providing a comfortable and an independent support for their families, a considerable portion of discredit will: attach to those who neglect to avail themselves of the resources placed within their reach. Hence, the force of public opinion will not only compel young persons to select partners who have been industrious and provident, but will constrain them to defer their union until their mutual savings shall have amounted to & sum which, with their future earnings, may be sufficient to maintain their families in decent independence. Hence, one of the first, and certainly one of the most important effects of Economical banks, will be, to postpone marriages. This effect. will, in its turn, become an efficient cause, and will be found to be the antecedent of the most momentous consequences. Deferring the period of entering upon the marriage state, will produce changes in the domestic affections, in the moral conduct, and political habits of the people, and it becomes necessary briefly to examine these, before we can attain an adequate conception of the operation of Economical banks.
· Hitherto the hopelessness of being able to secure a decent independence for a family, has had two different and opposite effects upon society : it has driven persons of ardent affections, to rush without reflection into the marriage state; while it has appalled the cooler and more calculating, and altogether deterred them from the endearments of the conjugal union. Hence, in every street we are presented with two lamentable spectacles : here, we see families unable to support themselves ; and there, we behold the heartless depravity of promiscuous intercourse. These distressing scenes, produced in a great measure by the difficulty of procuring subsistence, will disappear as the means of securing comfort and independence are presented to the people. Seeing that a little prudential restraint is sufficient to place them beyond the reach of want, the most thoughtless and impetuous will have an efficient inotive for delay : confident that in due time they will be able to surmount the obstacles which deter them from a union with the objects of their affections, the calculating class will be won from vicious indulgence by the prospect of heart-felt happiness. Thus, the principal cause of poverty will be removed, and those incentives to vice, which human nature is of itself so little calculated to withstand, will in a great degree cease to exist. Indeed, we
they shall be confidence
cannot conceive a situation more friendly to virtue, and to the development of all the best and most delightful affections of the heart, than that of young persons yielding themselves to mutual attachment, in the confidence that after a due exertion of prudence, they shall be able to provide for their future offspring, and ranning a course of industry and frugality, under the animating hope of accelerating the consummation of their felicity. The protracted courtship which, under such cireumstances, might become expedient, would give refipement and intensity to their affections; and when the period of marriage should come, poverty would not enter the bome of wedded love, nor the difficulty of rearing a family turn parental affection into bitterness. The delayed and prudential marriages, to which Economical banks are powerfully calculated to give occasion, cannot fail to diffuse throughout the homes of the people a degree of comfort, independence, and bappiness, the sum of which it would at the present period be impossible to calculate. - As a nation is but a collection of families, whatever increases the comfort and independence of domestic life, must promote civil and political improvement. The greater part of the disorders which disfigure and distract society, have their origin in the difficulty of finding employment and subsistence for the people. Population increases faster than food; the supply of labour exceeds the demand ; children are brought into the world before the funds for their maintenance have been provided ; and hence thousands, goaded by want to the perpetration of violence and fraud, continue for a time as a moral pestilenee in the lapd, and then termipate in a workhouse or on à gibbet a life at once hurtful to others and miserable to themselves. For all these disorders, the deferred marriages which Economical banks are so powerfully calculated to promote, afford an appropriate and à radical remedy. The cbildren born under such prudential wedlock, wonld be amply provided with all things pecessary to their healthful existence, as they advanced toward vigorous manbood, employment and subsistence would readily be found; and while the incitements to fraud and depredation ceased, and order and tranquillity were established throughout the land, a dignified independence, or rational liberty, would universally prevail. Feeling that they have sojaething to lose, the people would be prompt to pat down disturbance : under the control of an enlightened public sentin ent, rulers would lose the inclination and the power to oppress. As the chameleon borrows its hue from the objects which surround it, so those whom a love of distinction prompts to take a lead in public affairs, conform to the temper and spirit of the times in which they live. Le proportion as ignorance or kpowledge may prevail, and as the people judge erroneously or correctly of public men, those who pursue fame and power, yill, in the attainment of their objects, act mischievously or beneficially. Hence, according to the degree of wisdom and yirtuę which may generally prevail in any country,
· The same ambition may destroy or save,
And make a patriot as it makes a knave.' A moral people, and a vicious government, are things which cannot exist together.
The sketch just presented, of the moral effects of Economical banks, furnishes a striking illustration of the remarks with which we introduced this Article, and gives us a distinct and vivid perception of that system of compensation which pervades the world, and of those provisions of mercy which are every where at hand, rendering the existence of evil instrumental in the production of a greater sum of happiness than
could otherwise have been obtained. As the power to increase · and multiply must enable a thousand or a million to double
their numbers as rapidly as a single pair, it follows, that population, if it advances at all, must necessarily have a tendency to go on in a geometrical ratio. Hence, it was impossible progressively to people a world of limited extent, withoutimplanting a principle whose operation would, at some period or other, cause numbers to increase too rapidly for food. With respect to all old countries, this period has long since arrived." In these, the tendency of population to press beyond the limits of subsistence, has been the fruitful and perennial source of misery and crime, and has presented an obstacle hitherto insuperable, to improving the condition of the people. Now, this deep-rooted, and apparently irremediable evil, which so frequently plupged the philanthropist in despair, and from the contemplation of which the devout theist has turned away, lest it should suggest doubts respecting the Divine benevolence, is found, when we look narrowly into the structure of society and the nature of man, not merely to carry with it the principle of its own correction, but to be the appropriate and efficient cause of a much higher degree of improvement and civilization, than could, without its powerful stimulus, be brought into existence. This, recent facts abundantly establish. In the new settlements of North America, the evil of redundant population has not yet been felt. There is ample subsistence for all, and in consequence of the high value of labour, early marriages and large families are frequently sources of riches rather than of poverty. These circumstances are no doubt highly favourable to happiness and yirtue; and accordingly we find, that in Amerioa the lower orders of the people enjoy greater comforts, and commit fewer crimes, than in any other country of the world. But though the great abundance of her fertile and unappropriated land gives America such conspicuous advantages over old and redundantly peopled countries, yet the state of society there falls almost infinitely short of that degree of refinement, happiness, and virtue, which results from regulating the population by means of delayed and prudential marriages, and which, as we have endeavoured to shew, seems about to be realized in this enlightened land. In America there is no necessity for the exercise of that moral restraint which at once heightens and refines the feelings. The comforts of the marriage state are rendered indifferent, by becoming familiar before their value and importance can be understood. Persons of different tempers, and of unequal powers, enter into the conjugal union on the first coincidence of youthful sympathy; then, as their characters become formed, and their faculties unfold, they recede further and further from each other, and
paired not matched,' wear away an existence loveless, joyless, 'unendeared.' Thus, in a country where the abundance of subsistence and employment allows very early marriages, the feelings have not time to be deeply interested, the mutual wind too frequently is wanting, the purifying charities of the domestic scene are unawakened.
Hence, a harsh and selfish tone is given to character and manners, and there is a want of those delicate sensibilities and refined perceptions, which rouse the genius while they improve the disposition. Intellect will be at as low an ebb as sentiment; and the creations of art, and the discoveries of science, will belong to those countries in which necessity, strikes forth the latent fires of the mind. America has had no poet; and her only pbilosopher received his education in Eng· land. In all the higher endowments of intellect she is inferior to Europe ; and as she becomes morefully peopled, the physical comforts in which she is at present so superior, will gradually be diminished, until the pressure of want, by stimulating to perpetual activity and watchfulness, generates habits of providence and moral
restraint; and at length, to use the expression attributed to · Franklin, renders mind omnipotent over matter.' The Americans must necessarily pass through a period of sufferipg before they can arrive at those higher degrees of bappiness to which, even in this world, humanity seems destined. The example of what will have taken place in Europe, and the advanced state of economical science, will no doubt render their transition from redundant to justly apportioned numbers, much less severe than in other countries. But still, the difficulty of finding employment, and of procuring subsistence, must, more or loss, be felt in America, before those habits of forethought and prudential control are formed, which, while they remove the causes of poverty, by preventing the population from increasing more rapidly than the means of subsistence, are essential to an exalted state of intellectual improvement and of moral feeling:
The great importance of the foregoing disquisitions has induced us to dwell much longer upon them than we had at first intended. It seems, indeed, that the view which we have presented of the principle of population, is not only necessary to the forming of just and adequate ideas of the possible inprovements which may be effected in society, but is calculated to reinove much of the difficulty respecting the origin of many of those evils of civilized society.
"It is full time, however, that we should desist from specalation, and present our readers with some account of the principal publications which have appeared on the subject of Economical Banks. The pamphlet of the Right Honorable George Rose, with which we have headed this article, deserves the highest consideration from the public, and is beyond our praise. From this gentleman's great practical knowledge, from his habits of close attention to facts, and his long acquaintance with the actual conduct of affairs, he is probably of all living statesmen the least likely to wander out of the sober paths of reality, or to indulge visionary hopes respecting the future prospects of society. It is therefore in the highest degree satisfactory to find him sanctioning, by his authority, all the anticipations which have been formed of the advantages of Banks for Savings. He tells us, that under the persuasion that something might be done to ineliorate the condition of the poor, he was a zealous co-operator with Mr. Pitt, in that minister's measure for improving the system of the Poor Laws; and though this, and several other similar projects failed, he did not despair, but continued to believe that some effectual means might yet be devised for the removal of poverty. He hails the system of Banks for Savings, as the ineans of fulfilling bis prophetic hopes, and expresses his anxious desire of seeing it universally adopted. We cannot refrain from supporting the opinions we have expressed upon Economical Banks by one or two extracts from the admirable observations of Mr. Rose:
Nothing is so likely as the encouragement of a plan of this sort to prevent early and improvident marriages, which are the cause 'more than any other of the heavy burthen of the poor's rate. When a young single man shall acquire the habit of saving, he will be likely to go on till he shall get together as much as will enable him to make some provision to support a family, before he thinks of marrying. This is an attainment which every man who has the good Vol. V. N.S.