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CORRESPONDENCE.

To the MONTHLY REVIEWERS,

GENTLEMEN,

AS there is an error, which I apprehend has been typonumerical,
in page 351 of your Monthly Review for November last, and
as it is not corrected in your December number, give me leave to
advise you of it.

You mention that 10 kannes are exactly equal to 4 of our wine
gallons, or I kanne to 1 of our wine pints; it fhould have been 3
of our wine pints: and as I have made the preparation, I find that the
latter proportion makes a complete folution of the arfenic with fixed
alcali, and which 1 pint would not do.
Tam, Gentlemen,

Your obliged reader,

HERMITAGE, Z
Jan. 18, 1787.S

THO. WILLIS."

*We are obliged to Mr. Willis for the foregoing letter; but if he will take the trouble of looking again into the Review for December, he will find, p. 478, a correction of the error in queftion.

+*+ A correfpondent informs us that Mr. Acland took the hint of his plan [See p. 62 of this month's Review] from The Book of feven Chapters. It may be fo; but we have not that book now at hand. Some account was given of it in our Review, vol. lxxiv. P. 228.

1 The letter from Wg Houfe juftly claims our refpectful attention; but there are reafons which forbid our anfwering it in a manner agreeable to the writer's view. Those reasons, we doubt not, would be fatisfactory to our very ingenious correfpondent; but as they relate to cabinet fecrets, we beg to be excufed from any farther explanation.

§§ It is with reluctance that we refer Solitarius to our Review for December laft, p. 478, when we requested to be excufed from applications and inquiries which we have not time to confider, and are under no obligation to answer.

The Reviewers prefent their compliments to W. B. and thank him for the pleasure afforded them, by the perufal of his agreeable and refpectable letter; but as they have neither leifure nor inclination for controverfy, especially on metaphyfical fubjects, they hope he will be fatisfied with this general acknowledgment of his favour.

This Month was Publifhed, Price Is. 6d.

The APPENDIX to the MONTHLY REVIEW,

VOL. LXXV.

Containing the Foreign Literature, as ufaal; with the General Title,
Table of Contents, and Index to the faid Volume.

Printed for R. GRIFFITHS; and fold by T. BECKET, Pall Mall.

Errata in this month Review.

P. 58. l. 8. fr. bot. fore inconsistenter.consister 62. C.8. Dele the commia at would, & put it aff ter the preceding word them.

THE

MONTHLY REVIEW,

For FEBRUARY, 1787.

ART. I. De l'Economie politique moderne-Of modern Political Oeconomy. A fundamental Difcourfe on Population. 8vo. 6s. Boards. Hookham. 1786.

TH

HIS difcourfe on population does not embrace the question, fo warmly agitated of late between Dr. Price and his op ponents, about the prefent amount of the population of Great Britain; its object is to develope the general causes that tend to affect the population of countries as originating from different fyftems of political economy.

Our Author (who fubfcribes the Dedication, à Louis XVI. Roi de France, HERRENSCHWAND), like all other writers on this fubject, affumes, as a fundamental maxim, that population muft, in all cafes, be circumfcribed by the means of fubfiftence which mankind can procure in the country which they inhabit, and that this will be greater or lefs, foil and climate being the fame, in the different ftages of the progress of fociety from rudeness to refinement. The human race, he ob"ferves, are found on the furface of the earth under three principal modes of affociation, which divide them into three diftin&t claffes, viz. people who live by hunting-by grazing, or by cultivating the foil. He therefore begins by confidering what are the degrees of population of which each of these three grand divifions of the human race are fufceptible.

The clafs of Hunters, living only on the fpontaneous productions of the earth, and the flesh of wild animals, have but a precarious and scanty fubfiftence, and therefore admit of a very low degree of population; and as they muft neceffarily be much difperfed through a wild country, their efforts in war muft be feeble, fo as to prevent them from ever becoming the conquerors of the nations which furround them: the bounds of their territories must therefore continually be diminishing, rather than encreafing, when they are fituated in the neighbourhood of any fociety of men farther advanced in civilization than themfelves.

The clafs of Graziers, or, as they are ufually though improperly called, Shepherds, having always at hand the domeftic aniVOL. LXXVI. H

mals

mals they rear, which they take care never to extirpate, but to multiply as their wants require, or as the vegetables their country produces can fuftain, find their fuftenance not only augmented in its actual quantity, but alfo rendered of greater fervice, by being at all times within their power: fo that they are neither obliged to allow it to go to waste at one time, because of its cafual fuperabundance, as muft often happen with those who live folely by the chace; nor to fuffer a total want at another time, as hunters muft fometimes do. Add to this, alfo, that they have at all times the milk of their flocks, which affords perhaps a greater degree of fuftenance to man than even their flesh, and it will appear plain that the population of fuch a fociety admits of being much greater than that of the former. These graziers being, moreover, obliged frequently to fhift their place of abode, to find fresh pafture for their numerous herds and flocks, become accustomed to a wandering life, and to live in tenis, or other moveable habitations; and as they always carry their provifions along with them, they can eafily engage in military expeditions of great extent, and fo become a warlike people, capable of annoying every neighbouring nation. It is thus, adds Mr. H. that fuch a people, placed in the fecond rank in the grand divifion of the human race, maintained in part by nature, and partly by their own labour, half barbarians and half civilized, exalt themselves fooner or later to the first rank, and become nations entirely civilized; whilft the hunters, maintained, like the wild animals, by nature alone, appear to be altogether incapable of emerging from their natural barbarity, and of exalting themfelves to a higher rank in fociety.

Nations which fubfift by agriculture, find no difficulty in augmenting the quantity of food produced from the fame foil greatly beyond what can be obtained from it by grazing, and it is in this flate of fociety only that population can be carried to its higheft poffible degree; but this degree of population admits of a great variety of modifications according to the different fyftems of polity that the community may choofe to adopt. All the fe agricultural fyftems of polity, our ingenious Author thinks may be reduced to the three following claffes:

Either the lands of any ftate may be divided among all the families in that ftate, each family cultivating its portion without restraint for their own fubfiftence:-or the lands of a nation may be appropriated only to a part of thofe families who live in it, and the rest of the people be reduced to a ftate of flavery, and compelled to cultivate the foil for the fubfiftence of the whole nation-or, the lands of the ftate may be appropriated only to a part of the people, and the reft of the nation may voluntarily devote their labour to the production of neceffaries of life diftinct from nourishment, and to exchange thefe neceffaries for

food;

food; and thus to engage the occupiers of land to produce fubfiftence to the whole nation.

·

The first of these fyftems,' adds he, is a fyftem of abfolute agriculture; it was that of ancient Rome. The fecond is a fyftem of agriculture relative, founded on a fyftem of flavery; it was that of Lacedemon. The third is a fyftem of agriculture relative, founded on a fyftem of manufactures: it is that of the nations of modern Europe.' Our Author then proceeds to confider, in order, each of these separate fyftems, and to point out the advantages and defects to which they are feverally fubjected.

From this fhort analysis the Reader will perceive that this is a methodical fyftematic treatise. We will add, that the arrangement is clear and diftinct, the ftyle fimple and unembarrafied, the reasoning natural and perfpicuous, and the conclufions are generally deducible from the premifes:-we would therefore warmly recommend it to the younger part of our Readers, as a moft excellent introductory treatife on the fcience of political œconomy, had we not frequently occafion to remark that the Author is apt to affume, as data, principles that require first to be proved, many of which being erroneous, though feemingly, at firft, of fmall importance, yet lead at laft to conclufions that are highly pernicious. Like the late ingenious Sir James Stewart, whofe fyftem has evidently influenced his notions, Mr. H. has founded his fyftem rather on fpeculative opinions, and abstract reafoning, than on actual obfervations of men and things: hence he has reared a fuperftructure that, when fuperficially viewed, appears beautiful and well proportioned in all its parts, but which, when nearer examined, is found to have no actual archetype in nature; fo that the practical rules deducible from this theory can in few cafes be applied to the civil focieties which fubfift among mankind, without producing diforders, poffibly greater than those they were intended to remove.

We are aware that the Author may argue that his principles are in many cafes avowedly hypothetical, and that the Reader may make proper allowances on that account; that in other cafes facts are affumed as a bafis for reafoning, with regard to which a little more or lefs cannot affect the force of the argument. But we may be allowed to remark, that although this be granted, we ftill infift that this mode of reafoning is, of all others, the most liable to abufe, and therefore extremely improper to be adopted in a treatise on fuch a nice and intricate fubject as the science of political economy; for the reader is extremely apt, during the courfe of a long chain of reafoning, to forget the limitation at firft put in his view, and to confider thofe things as abfolute which ought merely to be confidered as relative. Nor need we produce more fatisfactory proofs of this pofition than in the book before

H 2

us,

us, in which the ingenious Author himself obviously, on many occafions, lofes fight of the diftinctions which occafioned the fe remarks.

Thefe obfervations premifed, we fhall proceed to give the Reader fome idea of the fucceeding parts of this work.

In treating of focieties which have adopted the fyftem of agriculture abfolute, he makes many remarks on the circumstances which would affect the community when it came to have an excefs of population, and the means neceffary to be adopted for guarding against the ills which that would produce, all of which would probably be juft, could a community be found who actually did adopt, in the ftrict and rigorous fenfe of the word, that fyftem of agriculture here treated of: but we muft beg leave to observe, that fuch a community never yet appeared on the globe, and, from the nature of things, never can be found on it; fo that the cafe is entirely hypothetical. Man is fuch an inventive fupple animal, that let political fchemers advise what fyftems they pleafe to regulate his conduct, he will, in all cafes, break through them whenever circumftances render it neceffary; and will, in a gradual and imperceptible manner, remove those inconveniences which any arrangement has produced, in fpite of every effort to prevent it. Let a country, therefore, be divided among its inhabitants in as equal a manner as poffible, and let it be propofed that each individual family fhall cultivate its own field for its own fubfiftence only, and live folely upon the product of that field, it would be found altogether impoffible, by any device that human wildom could adopt, to preferve them for any length of time in that fituation. One man, we shall fuppofe, finds that in a particular feafon he has a fuperabundant crop of turnips, but has a deficient crop of carrots or onions, while fome of his neighbours have no turnips-would it not be impoffible to prevent this man from exchanging part of the turnips he does not want, for a portion of carrots that he has occafion for? In like manner, one períon finds that his field is not adapted to the raifing of fome particular product which he himfelf is fond of, while his foil produces abundant crops of another kind, that he diflikes, but which another perfon covetswould it not be most natural for this man to with to obtain his favourite food, by difpofing of thofe things he had less relish for? Here then is laid the foundation of a traffic that never could be prevented; and traffic once begun, naturally fpreads, and produces an effort to obtain all defirable known things by the dif pofal of other articles that are lefs defirable. A fyftem of abfoluts agriculture therefore, in the ftri&teft fenfe of the word, cannot long fubfift (fcarce an inftant) in any fociety whatever.

Nor will this deviation from the fyftem be confined to the rude productions of the earth; it will equally extend to other

objects.

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