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Malthus or his opponents ; it is plain, however, that he utterly, and somewhat indignantly, rejects his theory.
“ Population,” he remarks,“ always follows capital. It increases, as capital increases ; is stationary, when capital is stationary; and decreases, when capital decreases. And hence, there seems no need of any other means to prevent the too rapid increase of po. pulation, than to secure a correspondent increase of capital, by which that population may be supported.” p. 340.
“If the capital which a bountiful Creator has provided for the sus. tenance of man, be dissipated in wars, his creatures must perish for the want of it. Nor do we need any abstruse theories of popula. tion, to enable us to ascertain in what manner this excess of popu. lation may be prevented. Let nations cultivate the arts of peace. Let them reduce the unnecessary expenses of governments. Let them abolish those restrictions which fetter and dispirit industry, by diminishing the inducements to labour. Let them foster the means by which the productiveness of labour may be increased, and the annual gifts of the Creator will so accumulate, that the means will be provided for the support of all the human beings which are an. nually brought into the world. As soon as this accumulation bears a suitable ratio to the number of inhabitants, we shall hear no more of the evils of excess of population. It is vain to throw away the food of a million of people in a single day, and then be astonished that a million of people are starving for the want of it.” p. 343, 344:
Laws regulating the rate of interest, our author regards as injurious to the prosperity of a country:
“1. Such laws violate the right of property. A man has the same right to the market price of his capital, in money, as he has to the market price of his house, his horse, his ship, or any other of his possessions.
“ 2. The real price of capital cannot be fixed by law, any more than the real price of flour, or iron, or any other commodity. There is, therefore, no more reason for assigning to it a fixed value, than there is of assigning a fixed value to any other commodity.
"3. The price of capital, or money, is really more variable than that of any other commodity. Most other commodities have but one source of variation, namely, use or profit. But capital, in the form of money, is liable to two sources of variation, risk and use. These vary, at different times, in different investments, and with different individuals. There is, therefore, less reason why the price of money should be fixed by law, than why the price of any thing else should be so fixed.
“ 4. These laws, instead of preventing, give rise to great and dis. astrous fluctuations in the price of money.
" Suppose that, to-day, money is worth, in the ordinary operations
of business, ten per cent., and it is worth six per cent. in loan. A man will as soon loan, as employ it in business, if he have more than he wishes to use. There will then be a fair supply of money in the market. But let the profits of capital rise, so that, in the ordinary operations of business, capital is worth twenty per cent. If, now, the rate of interest rose with this increased rate of profit, the same individuals would be as willing to loan as before ; and thus, the supply following the demand, there would arise no peculiar scarcity. The high rate of interest would also attract capital from abroad; and thus, in a very short time, it would, in this par. ticular place, be brought to the general level.
“ But, suppose that six per cent. were the highest legal rate of in. terest, and that he who loaned at a higher rate, was liable to lose both his principal and interest, and also his mercantile character. In this case, as soon as the profit of capital in business rose to fif. teen or twenty per cent., no one, who could thus employ it, would loan it at six per cent. Hence, as soon as it thus rose, the supply would be immediately diminished ; and this would, of course, cause a greater rise of interest. Those who, from honour or conscience, obeyed the laws, would withdraw from the market, and employ their capital in some other way; and no one would loan, but those who were willing to risk the consequences of detection. These, having the money market in their own hands, will, of course, charge for the use and for the risk of detection ; and, hence, the price, in a few days, may become doubled or trebled. And, at the same time, although the real value of money may be fifteen or twenty per cent. ; yet, because the legal price is six per cent., there is no inducement for capital to come in from abroad, to supply the demand. Hence, the change in the money market has, by reason of this law, no ten. dency whatever to regulate itself.
“ Flence, I believe all enactments establishing a legal rate of in. terest, are injurious and unwise. The only enactment of any value would be, one which should define the usual rate, when no. thing was said on the subject in the contract. The use of this would be, to prevent disputes. This is always an advantage to both parties." p. 373, 374.
In regard to the modes of providing for the public expenditures, we perceive that the author is in favour of direct rather than indirect taxes. An indirect tax, that is, a tax laid on articles of consumption is, he admits, more conveniently collected, or more willingly paid, but is more liable to injustice. Further, indirect taxes do not impose the public burden, in any manner in proportion to the share which the individual receives of public protection. The consumer pays the tax. He pays, therefore, according to the amount which he consumes, not according to the benefit he receives from the government.
Hence a man possessed of a million may pay no more than a daily labourer.' Direct taxation is more in harmony with the genius of representative government. The people ought to know what they pay, and how much, and how it is expended. In the author's opinion, the common argument in favour of indirect taxation—that the people do not feel it, is one of the strongest arguments against it. The more they feel it, and the more jealously they watch over its expenditure, the better for them and for their rulers. He is also inclined to think that the rich should be taxed at a higher rate than the poor, inasmuch as men should be taxed in proportion to the benefit they receive from a government. The poor man's clothes, bedding, cow and pig, should be exempted from taxation; and the necessaries of life, if taxed at all, should be taxed at the lowest rates. Articles of luxury and ostentation should bear the heaviest burden.
A surplus revenue he regards as "a public nuisance :"
“ It gives to the government a control over the monetary affairs of the country, at the best dangerous ; and a control which is very liable to be exerted for the promotion of party purposes. It hence gives an additional, an unnecessary, and a dangerous power to a majority, and gives them the means of perpetuating that power, indefinitely. It is taking productive capital from the hands of the owners, and vesting it in hands where there is every temptation to spend it uselessly, if not viciously. The world has never yet seen a government so pure, that it would not become corrupt is a surplus revenue were permanently placed at its disposal.” p. 451.
We have thus glanced at some of the prominent doctrines contained in the work before us, and we conclude by recommending the book, and the subject of which it treats, to the attentive study of all who wish to have distinct views of matters likely to be continually agitated in a country like ours, and in regard to which they have important duties to discharge as individuals and members of the community.
Art. VIII.— The Young Lady's Friend. By a LADY.
Boston : American Stationers' Company. 1836. 12mo. pp. 432.
We ask particular attention to our remarks on this book, because, after praising it a little in general terms, and noticing some things particularly good, we intend to find a great deal
of fault with some very material portions of it, which strike us as remarkably false, silly, and injurious. We should not bestow so much space upon the work, were it not that it has been very popular, very much praised in some quarters in society and by the press, and has passed through ten editions. We deem it our duty, therefore, to counteract as far as we may, the working of the evil with the good, by exposing, somewhat more at large than we should otherwise be inclined, the objectionable portions of Mrs. Farrar's book.
Our limits will not, indeed, permit us to follow our author in detail through the different portions of her book. It embraces every topic connected with the well-doing and well-being of those for whom it is designed ; their manners and habits their duties and their pleasures—their health-their occupations, and their deportment in public and private ; and there is not a single chapter in the book that does not contain valuable hints and suggestions. We shall be obliged to confine our notice to those topics, the treatment of which particularly pleases or displeases us ; remarking, generally, in the meanwhile, that in regard to many of them, there is a minuteness of detail, the necessity of which, if, indeed, it exists, is a disgrace to the mothers and daughters of our land. The author has a way, too, of laying down the most trite and commonplace maxims—the most obvious rules of propriety on subjects connected with the conduct of life, that presupposes a degree of ignorance and an absence of all refinement in our community, to which, we would fain hope, we need not plead guilty
One cannot help reflecting, in reading such a book, what a cumbrous piece of mechanism, built up of rules and maxims, injunctions and exhortations, advice and remembrance, is necessary for the regulation of one's life—in the place of a few simple, living principles in the mind—which, if early instilled and habitually cultivated, would be far more effectual for that purpose. There is a large portion of the book before us for which no well-principled and well-educated young lady has the least occasion. To this it may be answered, indeed, that the book is designed for those who are less fortunate as well as for the more favoured : and we have nothing to reply.
Too much can hardly be said to impress upon young minds the value of time, or direct them in its use ; and they are indebted to our author for some excellent hints upon the subject. It is the next most valuable talent to mind, and he who is entrusted with it should make it “ other ten."
We are glad to see the proper value and importance as
signed to household accomplishments in a work addressed to
It appears to us, however, that our author would have treated this subject in a far more impressive manner, but for the fear of countenancing young ladies in considering marriage as having any necessary connexion with their views and plans of life. We think her quite too scrupulous on this point, as we shall hereafter show. This is not the only portion of the book to which much greater effect might have been given, had she addressed young ladies as if they were probably to become wives and mothers. We might reverse an illustration of hers, and say that you might as well enjoin upon the student in navigation never to think of a ship, or a student in book-keeping never to think of the counting-room, as upon a young lady in training for the duties of life, never to contemplate her probable destiny, that for which she is, or ought to be, fitting herself.
It is a vulgar adage, that when poverty enters the door, love flies out of the window. This is not necessarily true; true, and all females should bear it in mind,) that an il house produces waste, confusion, and discomfort, wh: tably sour the temper, and, in the end, sometimes destro affection. There is a vast incongruity between theory perience upon this subject; and, fully to comprehend it a knowledge of principles deeply seated in the human a man form a beau-ideal of her to whom he will choo: his heart and hand, he forms one also of the home ovi she is to preside, which she cannot be too careful to her power to realise for him. If he is disappointed it regards her as the author of his disappointment ;
and by, comes to feel a sense of wrong and injury : ISO through her means.
That love covers. a multitude of sins; that a mi not to value a sense of personal comfort above the gra of his affections, when they come in contrast, is und true ; but we have no patience with the sentimental ing and dawdling” (as Fanny Kemble says) so often in treating of these matters ; as if He who made i mind, and soul, did not give to every faculty of this constitution its distinct and appropriate pleasure-die tend that our nerves and senses should be delicately ti well as our thoughts and sentiments. We believe, ful supremacy of the moral sentiments; but we do not thi to be secured by inattention to what are called, in dis the grosser elements of man's nature.