It is equally these events In so far as the great question depends? Mr. Sadler's piety, it seems, would be proof against one rainy summer, but would be overcome by three or four in succession. On the coasts of the Mediterranean, where earthquakes are rare, he would be an optimist. South America would make him a sceptic, and Java a decided Manichean, To say that religion assigns a solemn office to these visitations is nothing to the purpose. Why was man so constituted as to need such warnings? unmeaning to say that philosophy refers to benevolent general laws of nature. laws of nature produce evil, they are clearly not benevolent. They may produce much good. But why is this good mixed with evil? The most subtle and powerful intellects have been labouring for centuries. to solve these difficulties. The true solution, we are inclined to think, is that which has been rather suggested, than developed, by Paley and Butler. But there is not one solution which will not apply quite as well to the evils of over population as to any other evil. Many excellent people think that it is presumptuous to meddle with such high questions at all, and that, though there doubtless is an explanation, our faculties are not sufficiently enlarged to comprehend that explanation. This mode of getting rid of the difficulty, again, will apply quite as well to the evils of over-population as to any other evils. We are sure that those who humbly confess their inability to expound the great enigma act more rationally and more decorously than Mr. Sadler, who tells us, with the utmost confidence, which are the means and which the ends,.— which the exceptions and which the rules, in the government of the universe; who consents to bear a little evil without denying the divine benevo lence, but distinctly announces that a certain quantity of dry weather or stormy weather would force him to regard the Deity as the tyrant of his creatures. The great discovery by which Mr. Sadler has, as he conceives, vindicated the ways of Providence is enounced with all the pomp of capital letters. We must particularly beg that our readers will peruse it with attention: "No one fact relative to the human species is more clearly ascertained, whether by general observation or actual proof, than that their fecundity varies in different communities and countries. The principle which effects this variation, without the necessity of those cruel and unnatural expedients so frequently adverted to, constitutes what I presume to call THE LAW OF POPULATION; and that law may be thus briefly enunciated: "THE PROLIFICNESS OF HUMAN BEINGS, OTHERWISE SIMILARLY CIRCUMSTANCED, VARIES INVERSELY AS THEIR NUM~ BERS. “The preceding definition may be thus amplified and explained. Premising, as a mere truism, that marriages under precisely similar circumstances will, on the average, be equally fruitful everywhere, I proceed to state, first, that the prolificness of a given number of marriages will, all other circumstances being the same, vary in proportion to the condensation of the population, so that that prolificness shall be greatest where the numbers on an equal space are the fewest, and, on the contrary, the smallest where those numbers are the largest." Mr. Sadler, at setting out, abuses Mr. Malthus for enouncing his theory in terms taken from the exact sciences."Applied to the mensuration of human fecundity," he tells us, "the most fallacious of all things is geometrical demonstration ;" and he again informis us that those "act an irrational and irreverent part who affect to measure the mighty depth of God's mercies by their arithmetic, and to demonstrate, by their geometrical ratios, that it is inadequate to receive and contain the efflux of that fountain of life which is in Him." It appears, however, that it is not to the use of mathematical words, but only to the use of those words in their right senses that Mr. Sadler objects. The law of inverse variation, or inverse proportion, is as much a part of mathematical science as the law of geometric progression. The only difference in this respect between Mr. Malthus and Mr. Sadler is, that Mr. Malthus knows what is meant by geometric progression, and that Mr. Sadler has not the faintest notion of what is meant by inverse variation. Had he understood the proposition which he has enounced with so much pomp, its ludicrous absurdity must at once have flashed on his mind. Let it be supposed that there is a tract in the back settlements of America, or in New South Wales, equal in size to London, with only a single couple, a man and his wife, living upon it. The population of London, with its immediate suburbs, is now probably about a million and a half. The average fecundity of a marriage in London is, as Mr. Sadler tells us, 2.35. How many children will the woman in the back settlements bear according to Mr. Sadler's theory? The solution of the problem is easy. As the population in this tract in the back settlements is to the population of London, so will be the number of children born from a marriage in London to the number of children born from the marriage of this couple in the back settlements. That is to say 2: 1,500,000 :: 2·35: 1,762,500. The lady will have 1,762,500 children: a large "efflux of the fountain of life," to borrow Mr. Sadler's sonorous rhetoric, as the most philoprogenitive parent could possibly desire. But let us, instead of putting cases of our own, look at some of those which Mr. Sadler has brought forward in support of his theory. The following table, he tells us, exhibits a striking proof of the truth of his main position. It seems to us to prove only that Mr. Sadler does not know what inverse proportion means. Is 1 to 160 as 3.66 to 5.48? If Mr. Sadler's principle were just, the number of children produced by a marriage at the Cape would be, not 5.48, but very near 600. Or take America and France. Is 4 to 140 as 4.22 to 5.22? The number of births to a marriage in North America ought, according to this proportion, to be about 150. Mr. Sadler states the law of population in England thus: "Where the inhabitants are found to be on the square mile, From 50 to 100 (2 counties) the births to 100 marriages are 420 100 to 150 (9 counties) 150 to 200 (16 counties) 396 "Now, I think it quite reasonable to conclude, that, were there not another document in existence relative to this subject, the facts thus deduced from the census of England are fully sufficient to demonstrate the position, that the fecundity of human beings varies inversely as their numbers. How, I ask, can it be evaded?" What, we ask, is there to evade? Is 246 to 420 as 50 to 4000? Is 331 to 396 as 100 to 500? If the law propounded by Mr. Sadler were correct, the births to a hundred marriages in the least populous part of England, would be, 246 x 4000 50, that is 19,680, -nearly two hundred children to every mother.' But we will not carry on these calculations. The absurdity of Mr. Sadler's proposition is so palpable that it is unnecessary to select particular instances. Let us see what are the extremes of population and fecundity in well-known countries. The space which Mr. Sadler generally takes is a square mile. The population at the Cape of Good Hope is, according to him, one to the square mile. That of London is two hundred thousand to the square mile. The number of children at the Cape, Mr. Sadler informs us, is 5.48 to a marriage. In London, he states it at 2:35 to a marriage. Now how can that of which all the variations lie between 2·35 and 5.48 vary, either directly or inversely, as that which admits of all the variations between one and two hundred thousand? Mr. Sadler evidently does not know the meaning of the word proportion. A million is a larger quantity than ten. A hundred is a larger quantity than five. Mr. Sadler thinks, therefore, that there is no impropriety in saying that a hundred is to five as a million is to ten, or in the inverse ratio of ten to a million. He proposes to prove that the fecundity of marriages varies in inverse proportion to the density of the population. But all that VOL. II. 15 |