About the Book
From the PREFACE THE THIRD EDITION of 1839.
Twenty years have passed away since the principle and details of a structure of society which the following work was intended to illustrate, were first publicly announced. During that period they have withstood the lighter missiles of ridicule and sarcasm, and the more powerful weapons of argument and angry denunciation. The more considerate in the learned professions preserved a discreet silence, while those who condemned the system as wild and visionary, were at length reduced to the admission that the world was not yet prepared for its reception. As to the objection of some, that its Author was not orthodox in his opinions, and therefore the good which he tendered should be rejected -- it is as -- futile as that which would oppose the adoption of any discovery in the arts, before the religious tenets of the discoverer had been duly certified; to put aside the art of printing itself, by which the Scriptures have been circulated over the; world, because the inventor was of the Romish Church. If there is one thing more than another that can tend to spread infidelity and weaken the confidence of the people in the ministers of religion, it is, that they should he found in the ranks of the worldly opponents of a system which, so far as human means are concerned, can alone realize all the promises of the Gospel; by uniting the individual with the general interest, the causes of contention are removed, and there remains less obstruction to a voluntary obedience to Him who commanded us to love one another; so identified is the principle of combined exertion for the common good, with that of religion itself, that subscription to both may be justly deemed the surest, nay, almost the only, test of genuine charity and of true faith.
Controversy between the Malthusians and their opponents long kept a starving population in suspense; it has now lighted upon education, and the people are to be debarred from intellectual and spiritual, as they were formerly from bodily nourishment, during the fierce and interminable debate!....