This attack on the Book of Murder was an anti-Poor Law publication, printed by Joshua Hobson of Leeds and Huddersfield. The text here is from the second edition. The spelling appears as it did in the original.
Front page of the Book of Murder. Click on the image for a larger view
Second Edition (with an additional Preface) of the Book of Murder, a vade-mecum [handbook] for the Commissioners and Guardians of the New Poor Law throughout Great Britain and Ireland, being an exact reprint of the Infamous Essay on the possibility of limiting populousness, by MARCUS, one of the three; with a refutation of the Malthusian doctrine.
Oh! Grief, then, grief and shame! If in this
Flourishing Land there should be dwellings where
The new-born babe doth bring unto its
Parents’ soul, no joy; where squalid Poverty
Receives it at the birth, and, on her withered knees,
Gives it the scanty bread of discontent. — Southey.
“Rachael weeping for her children and would not be comforted, because they were not.”
[Page One] PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
The first edition of this Reprint, consisting of 5000 copies, having been bought up with unexampled avidity, the writer of the foregoing Address to the Reader, takes the opportunity presented by the printing of a second edition, to make the following additional and important observations —
In conformity with the Malthusian doctrine, Marcus denies, that the strength of a country consists in the numerousness of its inhabitants, and alleges, on the contrary, that its strength depends, not upon the number of the people, but upon the number of places, that is, upon the number of situations of easy wealth, or of employments, in labour, which it presents or contains for the maintenance of the people. Marcus and his whole school maintain, that in this country, for instance, in consequence of the relief being given to poverty, there are always more people foolishly and improperly kept alive than there are places for them to occupy, and consequently that it is what they call the iniquitous folly of being humane, and compassionate, and merciful, that alone causes the existence of a vast amount of vice and misery.
Now, if it really were true, that there were in this country more people than places for them, it would certainly be necessary (not to rein in the ranks of the people, by the diseases of poverty, or the withholding ... the necessaries of life, or the murder of the newly-born but) to review the constitution of society, in order to ascertain whether many men do not occupy more than one place each, and also to see whether it be not possible to discover or create more places; and, if it should be impossible to find more places, whether, in that case, it were not necessary and more just, rather so to remodel society, as to restrict each person to the occupancy of a single place, than to permit great multitudes of the people to perish, while there are yet multitudes of places available for their reception and subsistence. The Malthusians, in their real or pretended ignorance of all facts, as well as true principles, believe, or affect to believe, that all the places are filled, and that there fore the people are already too numerous. — But,
It can be proved, that there are still four places unoccupied, for each single place which is occupied, and consequently the Malthusians are inflicting upon the people of this country all the real evils of over-populousness, although five times more than the present number of the people could be sustained in high comfort and prosperity, and that without taking away from the rich any of the many, many millions of supernumerary places which are occupied by their pluralist possessors; and of the great multitude of which superfluous places some idea may be formed from the fact that one man, whose income is £20,000 a year, occupies the places of 12,000 men, which, taking only four for the family of each man, makes the number of places occupied by one family equal to that of 48,000 places for individual human beings, and which places, too, if they were occupied by agricultural labourers and their families, would, on the computation of each labouring family being able to produce the food of five families, yield the prodigious quantity of food, or places, for 240,000 human beings, who are actually either kept out of existence, or are pushed out of existence, for the sake of maintaining a single family in a state of unnecessary and inordinate magnificence and splendour.
Is there not too much reason for concluding, that the whole mass of the Malthusian doctrines, is not the offspring of ignorance, but is a purposely-contrived scheme to attempt, by means of misrepresentation and falsehood, and of an artfully-constructed fabric of specious though fallacious reasonings, and of both logical and illogical subtlety and sophistry, to accomplish the threefold object of tranquillizing, soothing, and lulling the consciences of the rich, so liable to be disturbed, even in the midst of their enjoyments, by the hideous and revolting spectacle of the wretchedness existing around them and even grovelling beneath their feet, — of pacifying and reconciling the poor and working masses to the hard and unmerited lot that has been imposed upon them, — and even of deceiving and paralyzing governments and legislatures, whose sense of justice and desire of glory might otherwise induce them to apply a healing hand to the ills of suffering humanity, — by equally persuading all parties, that the malady of society is alike inevitable and incurable?
Be this, however, as it may: — It is certainly full time that the foundation upon which doctrines are raised should be rigidly examined, — that the sources from which such practices proceed, should be carefully, critically, and thoroughly explored.
These necessary operations will be performed, in the new periodical, The Alarm Bell; or, the Voice of the Spirit of Truth, in which the most astounding facts will be disclosed and demonstrated. The earnest attention of the civilized world is anxiously invited to the discussion. The very lives of millions of now living men and women, in the British islands alone, and the countless millions of their offspring, depend upon the final conflict between the true and false principles which must now be waged, and upon the issue of which is no less a stake than the present and future prosperity, virtue, and happiness, or the present and future poverty, vice, and misery, of the majority of mankind.
[Page Two] TO THE READER OF THE FOLLOWING DIABOLICAL WORK.
The veil is at length rent! The curtain, behind which have hitherto lurked the most atrocious conspirators against humanity, has at last been drawn up! With a false and insidious philanthropy on their lips, they have nourished the most foul and murderous sentiments in their hearts. With a fawning and hypocritical cant of seeking for the safety and peace of society, they have actually plotted, and schemed, and prepared the means of perpetrating the MURDER OF MORE THAN ONE-HALF THE CHILDREN TO BE BORN INTO THE WORLD! — THE ASSASSINATION OF MORE THAN HALF THE FUTURE RACES OF ALL MANKIND.
Recoil not, Reader, with a shudder of incredulity, or a start of horror, From an accusation which must appear to you to be necessarily as unfounded as it is monstrous! Read the Essay of the Demon Author whose work is now placed in your hands; you will be satisfied that at least one plotter of this wholesale assassination has fully revealed his frightful criminality to the world; and we shall give you the convincing proofs that he is but one member of a banded conspiracy, united in the firm and deliberate design of accomplishing their atrocious object!
With the name of the Almighty and Beneficent Author of the Universe in their mouths, to whose divine providence, with most daring and impious blasphemy they attribute the having purposely provided and prepared the parts of that machinery which they propose to construct and employ for the deliberate and cold-blooded murder of thousands and thousands of millions of human beings, whom they intend to immolate during the first sleep of helpless innocence and amidst the first smiles of new-born life and love, they have set up anew the modern idols of Moloch and of Mammon, whom they intend you to worship and propitiate with rites more horrid — mysteries more fearful human sacrifices more numerous, more revolting, and more dire, than it ever entered into the wildest and most infuriate imaginations to conceive.
But, it is ever vain to strive for language sufficiently strong to express either the monstrousness of the guilt of these most detestably bad men, or the strength and fervour of the feelings of loathing, of aversion, of abhorrence, and of indignant resentment and even inflamed and vindictive vengeance, which their accursed scheme and most flagitiously wicked propositions cannot fail to inspire! Let us endeavour, however, to be sufficiently collected to expose the vile and sanguinary assassins. Assassins! Do we say? — The word does not express, either the depth, or the extent, or the atrocity, of their foul and sanguinary crime. Devils themselves, even, have never been feigned to be suspected of entertaining a design so profoundly, so cruelly, so treacherously, so wickedly, and so greatly malignant, bloody-thirsty, and murderous! Let us try to be sufficiently calm, if any degree of calmness upon such a topic be attainable, to give some account of the BLACK BOOK OF MURDER which has appeared amongst us, — of the steps by which this ACME OF HUMAN INIQUITY has been attained, — and of the CONNECTION WHICH EVIDENTLY AND UNDENIABLY EXISTS between IT and its appalling principles, and an active and powerful philosophical and political PARTY IN THE STATE, comprising both public writers and public men, upon whose false and abominable principles, and foul and atrocious doctrines, and concealed, yet not secret, and murderous objects, the Murder-Book has at length cast the full light of day!
And first, as to the Murder-Book itself! It appeared some time near the end of the last year. Its author, concealing his real name, calls himself “Marcus.” It appears to have been printed by John Hill, of Black Horse-court, Fleet Street, a man hitherto of great respectability as a printer, and whose office has even been remarkable for its issue of moral and religious works. It would seem as if no bookseller had been willing to publish it; for it contains no publisher’s name. It consists of six chapters, with two title pages, — the first title-page, with the printer’s imprint, being prefixed to the first five chapters, and the second title page, without any printer’s imprint, being prefixed to the sixth chapter, bearing upon the face of it, “Printed for Private Circulation.”
In the first Chapter, the Demon Author assigns to MALTHUS the first broaching of the theory of over-populousness, and the honour of having first doomed mankind to vice and misery, as an inevitable and unalterable destiny imposed upon them by the Creator, since it was by the agency of vice and [Page Three] misery alone, according to Malthus, that God could set a check upon the too rapid increase of human beings! In the second chapter, the Demon Author states that slavery and infanticide, or child murder, in ancient states, so alleviated the evil of over-populousness, that it was not very severely felt by them, and therefore did not press greatly upon their attention. In the third Chapter, the Demon Author lays down the basis of his theory, which is to limit population by murdering all the infants born over three in each family of the poor, and even all the third children are to be collected and lots cast for the destruction of three out of every four of the third children born in families. In the fourth Chapter, the Demon Author proposes, in the first place, the formation of an Association, under legislative sanction, for carrying the diabolical design into execution. In the fifth Chapter, the Demon Author proposes the supervision and coercion of the poor and working classes, and of all, indeed, who do not possess a certain amount of property, to compel them to surrender their children to be suffocated unto death. For Ireland, he proposes that the poor shall be allowed to rear only one child to each family, until their present numbers shall have been brought down. He also suggests that parents be bribed to acquiesce in his wholesale immolation, by minute portions of income being bestowed upon them, and especially upon those who might be rendered altogether childless. In the final portion of the work, the Demon Author denies the right of parents to rear more children than are required by society. He also denies the right of any infant to its own life, and contends that power alone has the right of determining whether an infant shall continue to live or not. He calls the infant’s claim to existence an imaginary right. He proposes to reconcile Mothers to the MURDER OF THEIR INFANTS, by presenting them with gay and lively images. They are to be impressed with the idea that it is for the benefit of the world that they are to submit to the sacrifice, and above all, the murdered infants are to be interred in beautiful colonnades decorated with plants and flowers, which are to be called the Infants’ Paradise, and which are to be the scenes of the chastened recreations of all classes! The Demon author then explains the method he proposes for the committing of the murders, and which he calls, “The Theory of Painless Extinction,” –that is, the art of committing murder without the infliction of Pain, and which is to be effected by gradually mixing with the air breathed by the infants during their first sleep, a sufficient quantity of a deadly Gas, or converting that sleep into the SLEEP OF DEATH!
The monster! Though it unhappily appears to be evident that there is a CONSPIRACY, amongst men sufficiently numerous and powerful, to render their design of effecting this most dreadful purpose, in some degree alarming, yet we will not outrage and insult human nature at large, by condescending to argue against the worse than savagely brutal design of the Murder-Book, being tried in practice. It is enough to know that the fiends would have to make way to the infants marked out for upon their prey, through the heart’s blood, and over the dead bodies of their parents! Even if it were possible that men, whether young or old, — whether batchelors or married, whether father or childless, could stand by and see or suffer such a system to be introduced, yet the women, the mothers alone, would rise with superhuman strength to resist and prevent the slaughter of their dearly-bought and dearly loved offspring. Their natural gentleness would give way before the strong and relentless cry of nature in their hearts, calling them to action; and, with the courage and force of the lioness defending her young, they would tear from their bosoms the cowardly and murderous hearts of the assassins who should dare to approach them for so fell a purpose!
Yes; it is enough to brand this Murder-Book and its Demon Author with their own hateful and satanic criminality, to prevent the possibility of the scheme being ever attempted. We do so brand and denounce them, in the face of the civilized world, utterly indifferent to, or regardless of the consequences to ourselves. For having branded and denounced them in language alleged to be too strong, the Rev. Mr. Stevens is already committed for trial at the next Assizes. It is not by endeavouring to suppress the Murder-Book, however, nor by prosecutions, that any party or parties will be cleared from suspicion of having been members or favourers of the conspiracy and its diabolical object. They will effect such a purpose much more easily and quickly, by ferretting out the Demon Author, and his associates, and bringing them to speedy punishment — to condign punishment if possible.
The Satanic authorship of the Murder-Book has been attributed to the Commissioners of the Poor Laws, or to one of them, or to some person connected with them. This has been denied on behalf of the Commissioners, — though not so fully and distinctly (so some say), as to be quite convincing as to their innocence. But, whether or not they had any hand in actually getting up of the Murder-Book, one thing is quite certain, that the present modification of the Poor Laws, and the present mode of their administration, are far as they go, in perfect harmony and consistency with the principles and the object of the Murder-Book!
The Murder-Book denies that the children of the poor have any right to live; and the new poor law was brought forward with the declaration that the adult poor have no right to demand support, and consequently it is denied to them that they have any right to live! The Murder-Book proposes that the poor shall be supervised and coerced; and the new poor law provides that they shall not only be [Page Four] supervised and coerced, but imprisoned, half or wholly starved — separated the husband from the wife (no more infants to be allowed them — mark the coincidence!) the wife from the husband, the parents from the children! The Murder-Book proposes that population shall be kept down by murdering infants by wholesale. The new poor law absolves the fathers of illegitimate children from the responsibility of feeding and nourishing their own offspring, or of assuaging the suffering and sorrow of the unhappy mothers, whom the fathers have seduced. The father of the illegitimate child, therefore, is already authorized by law to murder his own infant, if that shall occur by his withholding from it necessary nouriture and support. Gracious and almighty and just and merciful God! It is indeed true, that “Murder hath a tongue, and doth speak with a most miraculous organ!” “He that hath eyes to see, let him see; and he that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” The savage and blood-thirsty tiger, as well as the mild and timourous dove, assist their mates in the cares of watching, even the males of many of the gregarious tribes, who are satisfied not with one helpmate, and the majority of whose offspring would therefore be declared illegitimate, could their feebler rivals hold a parliament in opposition to their usurpations; even these illegitimate fathers are constrained by God and nature to bear a part of the burthen of defending, feeding, and educating their numerous progeny; but the human fathers of illegitimate children are tempted by an inhuman law, to become inhuman — murderously inhuman — both towards their injured helpmates and towards their innocent and unoffending offspring. The new poor law, therefore, is the evident, palpable, and undeniable precursor of the Murder-Book. It is the first-born of the philosophical and political school from which the Murder-Book has proceeded. No hireling lawyer, even, would dare to deny the perfect identification of the one principle of murder with that of the other. Men have been hanged upon for less strong and conclusive circumstantial evidence, than that which proves that the murderous principle and engine of the new poor law proceeds from the very same workshop as the murderous principle and proposed engine of the Murder-Book! The one has preceded the other; but they have both come from the same place; and they are both directed toward the same end, — the crushing, starving, murdering of the poor. The poor law and the Murder-Book advance, to use the words of the Demon Author himself, with “a measured and corresponsive march!” The one follows in the very footsteps of the other. There are the imprints of the steps, and the stains of the blood shed by the first-born, in its trampling upon the feelings and the hearts of its victims, imprints, which all the tears of the heart-broken cannot wash away; and the “cloven foot” of the second-born, — of the demon of the Murder-Book, — exactly and undeniably fits and treads upon the identical marks made by its senior fiend! In the language of the learned judges, while they are commenting upon evidence which has brought to light the darkest, most secret, and foulest deeds, it is impossible not to see that God hath purposely enabled these things to be traced out, discovered, and brought to punishment. The chain of evidence is in this case complete. We could add to it ever additional links; but we prefer bringing the two ends together, and employing one more class of facts as a rivet with which to bind and fasten them together, that the chain may encircle and enclose the whole conspiracy within its grasp! And, the additional facts are these — that not only did the framers of the new poor law and its more active supporters (we charge not with the guilty knowledge, all who merely voted for it), not only did these framers and active supporters devise and foresee that the distracted mothers of illegitimate children might be driven to infanticide, — to the murder of their helpless infants, — because they well knew it is impossible for many of such mothers to support the children; but what has since followed? Two young women were convicted the last year’s assizes of the murder of their illegitimate children; and though found guilty and sentenced to death, their sentence was commuted to imprisonment and transportation. And though child-murders was expected and intended, it is becoming more and more frequent, the efforts to detect the perpetrators have been relaxed! Formerly, rewards were offered for the discovery of the murderers, that practice has been abandoned! As examples, in two of the workhouses of London itself, in the last week of January, 18-- , two coroner’s Inquests found, upon view of the bodies of two dead infants, verdicts of Willful Murder against some person or persons unknown: — and yet, the parochial authorities have offered no reward for the discovery and apprehensions of the murderers!!! — We suspect not the so called Guardians of the Poor of a Criminal Intention; — but, have they not been silently influenced? At all events is there not a manifest Conspiracy? We appeal to the great tribunal of Public Opinion for its verdict; and we already hear the united and mighty sound of twenty millions of voices pronounce — GUILTY!
But though it would be useless, because it is unnecessary, to argue with the Demon Author upon his propositions, the very fact of the existence of the Poor Laws, and of the Murder-Book prove the necessity for once more attacking the doctrine of Malthus, and for identifying his doctrine with the Conspirators, and the Conspirators at large, with the Demon Author. Malthus has been refuted already — repeatedly refuted. Not only he, but the whole of the spurious school in Political Economy to which the Conspirators belong, were completely refuted by George Mudie, in his Advocate of the Working Classes, published at Edinburgh in 1826-7, and in others of his writings. But such has been the apathy or indifference, of the Public generally, and of the working Classes in particular, upon a question involving [Page Five] the highest interests, that the refutations have hitherto been unavailing as to silencing the Conspirators, or as to inducing either the Public at large, or the Government, or the Legislature, or even the Working Classes whose very lives are involved in it, to examine the question, and, by examining it, to extinguish the conspiracy at once, and not only to extinguish it, but to adopt sound principles, and to introduce practical measures for greatly improving the circumstances of all classes, and for elevating the Working Classes, in particular, to a condition of substantial prosperity and happy contentment. The question, however, must be examined now. The appearance of the Murder-Book will irresistibly constrain the minds of all men to the examination. In this respect the Demon Author himself has unwittingly rendered a service to the cause of truth and of justice, and good will be worked out of this great evil which he has done, and in spite of the still greater evil which he has meditated.
The doctrine of Malthus may be very briefly stated. It is that human beings necessarily increase faster than food can be produced to support them, — that human beings increase in a geometrical ratio, while food can be increased in an arithmetical ratio only. Malthus, therefore, argued that it is not only useless but pernicious to relieve want, or to give to those who have not; because, by so doing, you only increase the future misery to which the human race are inevitably doomed. In plain terms, he recommended that they should be allowed to perish of hunger; for he declared that, “the poor are uninvited guests at the banquet which nature spreads for her more favoured children; and from which she bids them BEGONE!” And he was not content with the indication of even this mortal misery as a sacrifice of incense to the monstrous bugbear of his own fancy, — OVERPOPULOUSNESS; for he doomed mankind to incurable and fatal vice as well as to incurable and fatal misery. Vice and Misery, he declared, were the checks provided by the Deity himself for keeping down the number of human beings! His very words were: “Vice and Misery are necessary Agents in God’s Government of the Universe; and, without the Agency of Vice and Misery, God’s Government could not go on!”
Now, were it really true, that human beings increase faster than food can be increased for their support, misery would indeed be the inevitable lot of a great portion of mankind, — Vice would wear an aspect less hideous than it does now, — and even the Demon Author and his Murder-Book would inspire somewhat less of the horror with which they have filled our souls. But, thank God! It has been PROVED that human beings DO NOT increase faster than food can be increased for their sustenance; and therefore, the fine-spun theories of Malthus and his Disciples fall to pieces; and the evils still inflicted upon mankind by the Legislatures that have suffered themselves to be influenced by their false, damnable and attrocious theories, can be characterized as nothing less than willful and deliberate MURDER! It is true, that things are now so managed in this and other civilized countries, the population does increase faster than food is produced for its support. And, it is true, that this, of course, is one of the causes why so large a portion of people are always insufficiently supplied with food and everything else; for it is clear, when less food is produced than the people can eat, either that some portion of the people must die for want of food, or that a still larger portion of the people must die for want of food, or that a still larger portion of the people must contrive to subsist for a time upon an insufficiency of food, and so die of poverty, or of diseases engendered by poverty. But the too appalling fact, that the people of this country are at this moment in the melancholy condition above stated, is not (as Malthus and his disciples have imagined) owing to a fatal destiny imposed upon them by a merciful and munificent God, — but is solely owing to human rapacity and to human ignorance, — is solely owing to the want of wise and just laws for protecting the labouring poor from the rapacity of the capitalists, who not only underpay the labouring poor, but divert their labour to useless or improper purposes, and of laws for enforcing the proper employment of a just reward for labour, — for labour, the parent of all commodities, — for labour, which is able, at any time, to produce twenty times more food than all the inhabitants of the world are able to consume. Upon this point, we quote the following passage from Mudie’s refutation of Malthus, above referred to. He says: “It was owing to his ignorance of this restraining principle, and to his belief, on the contrary, of a “regulating” principle, that Mr. Malthus constructed his theory of population on the assumption that “population always presses upon the means of subsistence.” He saw that the production of food is always less than the full and comfortable maintenance of the population of the globe requires; and as he imagined that the “regulating” principles always cause the utmost possible quantity of food to be produced, he naturally came to the conclusion that human beings have a tendency to increase faster than the means can be increased for subsisting them. Let the restraint upon production, however, be removed by Practical Political Economy, and Mr. Malthus will soon see that the means of subsistence can be produced to a wasteful excess; and indeed every farmers’ labourer will tell him, that the labour of one man is sufficient to produce the subsistence of twenty men; and that many ages must therefore elapse before Great Britain can become overcrowded with inhabitants," [Page Six] in this case, therefore, as in the case of food, and as it is in the case of every other commodity, it is evident and undeniable that the wants and necessities of the people do not furnish the means of production; but that the amount of production is determined, not by what is requisite for supplying the wants of the people, but by the amount of profit which is attainable by the Capitalists, who neither sympathize in interests with the rest of the people, nor are even aware of all the means by which profit to themselves, and consequent employment for the people, might be attained. When true Political Economy shall have sufficiently instructed the governments, legislative measures will of course be devised for removing the mischievous restraints upon production which now obviously exist, and which cry aloud for the application of efficient and beneficial principles of “regulation;” for when the Working classes are sufficiently instructed and sufficiently united to acquire a control over the application of their own labour, then, indeed, their own wants will furnish the measure by which the amount of production is to be determined, and then indeed they will be able so to regulate the application of their own labour as to always to insure for themselves the supply of a superabundance of wholesome, nutritious, and agreeable food, and always to insure for themselves comfortable and healthful homes, well furnished with all the articles of utility or convenience which human labour, and human labour alone, can produce. There is not one class of those articles, which is not now produced in greater number than the Capitalists think desirable; but there is also not one class of them which it would not be necessary to produce more than is now produced, before the wants of the Working Classes could be supplied. The Capitalists, so long as they alone possess the power of controuling the application of human labour, will take care that a sufficiency is not produced for supplying the wants of the Working Classes. Indeed it is impossible for them to suffer a sufficiency for that purpose to be produced without entailing ruin upon themselves. The Working classes, therefore, now distinctly see that it is impossible for them to be supplied with a sufficiency of the necessaries or comforts of life, under the regime of the Capitalists, and that their future well — being can only be promoted by legislative enactments, wisely devised upon true principles of Political Economy, for that purpose, or by the Working classes themselves adopting efficient measures for acquiring a controul, or some degree of controul, over the application of their own labour.”
The insufficiency of food, then, with all the other crying evils of poverty and misery, is not an inevitable curse inflicted upon us by the Deity, as has been impiously assumed by Malthus and his disciples, including the Demon Author and his fellow Assassin Conspirators. It is an evil which has been permitted to creep in by ignorant legislation, and which has been prolonged by bad legislation, through the influence and pernicious writings and false and spurious theories of the very men, who, having set up the consequences of human ignorance as the act of God — seek to propitiate his wrath by the wilful sacrifice of innumerable millions of their fellow — creatures, not merely by the Vice and Misery which human ignorance has incurred, but by the direct application of their murderous engines, or of laws and institutions not less murderous!
We have not room in this introductory paper for the full exposure of the fallacies of the evil councillors who have perpetrated so much mischief. We shall, however, sift, and examine, and expose them to the very bottom, in a New Weekly Paper, the first number of which shall appear on the 23rd Feb., price three half-pence, under the title of “THE ALARM BELL; or, THE VOICE OF THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH!” We have devoted more than a quarter of a century to the full mastery of the all-important subject of which we propose to treat. Let us hope that the Public, and especially the middle and working classes, now aroused to a sense of the enormity of the principles which exercise a fatal influence over their affairs, and to a consciousness not only of the evils which impend over and environ them, will be at length disposed to listen to the Voice of the Spirit of Truth, which is about to be addressed to them. If they do not listen, we engage that they be put in possession of the means of removing the evil, — and of removing it too, not only with incalculable advantages and blessings for themselves and for all posterity, but without injury or loss to any one of their fellow creatures.
We shall in the mean time conclude this brief and hasty and imperfect paper, with some further proofs that the design of the Murder-Book is not a new thought of its detestable author; but that the idea has been afloat amongst the Malthusian Conspirators for many years.
In the year 1822, a book was published under the title of “Illustrations and Proofs of the Principle of Population; including an Examination of the Proposed Remedies of Mr. Malthus, &c. By Francis Place.”
In the sixth chapter of this book, which is headed “Means of Preventing the Numbers of Mankind from Increasing faster than Food is provided,” Mr. Place says,
“Mr. Malthus has made two propositions, on which he appears to place great reliance for the purpose of decreasing and of gradually abolishing the poors’ rate, and of keeping the population within the means of comfortable subsistence.
“There is,” he says, “one right which a man has been generally thought to possess, which I am sure he neither does, nor can possess; a right to subsistence, when his labour will not fairly purchase it!
[Page Seven] In his former Reply to the essay on Population, Mr. Godwin examined the checks named by Mr. Malthus, and observed, “that there were other checks much less injurious to society, and less deplorable than vice and misery;” and he instanced infanticide, on which he made the following observation: — ‘What was called the exposing of children, prevailed to a considerable degree in the ancient world. The same practice continues to this hour in China.’”
And then Mr. Place quotes the following from Godwin: — “I know that the majority of those I see are corrupt, low-minded, besotted, prepared for degradation and vice, and with scarcely any vestige about them of their high destination. Their hold, therefore, is rather upon my compassion and general benevolence, rather than upon my esteem. Neither do I regard a new-born child with any superstitious reverence. If the alternatives were complete, I had rather such a child should perish in the first hour of its existence, than that a man should spend seventy years of life, in a state of misery and vice. I know that the globe of earth affords room for only a certain number of human beings, to be trained in any degree of perfection; and I would rather witness the existence of a thousand such beings, than a million of millions of creatures, burthensome to themselves, and contemptible to each other.”
After these quotations, Mr. Place himself goes on to say, “This is doubtless a correct estimate, and accords with the opinion of Mr. Malthus, expressed in various passages in his book; but he has not ventured to propose infanticide as a remedy; he has, however, proposed one no more likely to be adopted than infanticide, nor less likely to produce intense suffering, but equally inefficient, to prevent the evil complained of. No one need be under any apprehension lest those propositions should be adopted; we are not in a condition to adopt either; and before we shall be in such a condition, both, it may be anticipated, will be unnecessary, even were they as efficacious as they are impotent. I, however, have no hesitation in saying, that if other and better means could not be found, that however painful it might be to my feelings, however revolting, however intense the suffering, and however widespread in the first instance, I would at once recommend their adoption, were it made clear to my understanding, that they would materially and permanently benefit the working people in their pecuniary circumstances, without making them in other respects more vicious.”
There, then, is the proof that the idea of the murder of the infants has been long entertained. Mr. Place himself “would at once recommend its adoption” were it not that he also has another method of his own for murdering innumerable millions of infants by preventing them from coming into existence at all! His schemes shall form one of the topics of the forthcoming “Alarum Bell: or, the Voice of the Spirit of Truth!,” In the following quotation from his book, he speaks for himself: —
“If, above all, it were once clearly understood, that it was not disreputable for married persons to avail themselves of such precautionary means as would, without being injurious to health, or destructive of feminine delicacy, prevent conception, a sufficient check might at once be given to the increase of population beyond the means of subsistence; vice and misery, to a prodigious extent, might be removed from society, and the object of Mr. Malthus, Mr. Godwin, and of every philanthropic person, be promoted by the increase of comfort, of intelligence, and of moral conduct, in the mass of the population. The course recommended will, I am fully persuaded, at some period be pursued by the people, even if left to themselves. The intellectual progress they have for several years past been making, the desire for information of all kinds, which is abroad in the world, and particularly in this country, cannot fail to lead them to the discovery of the true causes of their poverty and degradation, not the least of which they will find to be in overstocking the market with labour, by too rapidly producing children, and for which they will not fail to find and apply remedies.”
A reprint, word for word, of the infamous production by Marcus advocating the murder of the children of the Poor.
ON THE POSSIBILITY OF LIMITING POPULOUSNESS AN ESSAY ON POPULOUSNESS THE THEORY OF PAINLESS EXTINCTION BY MARCUS.
“Murder, though it hath no tongue,
Will speak with most miraculous organ.”
The filthy production of “Marcus,” was printed towards the close of the past year, but little notice was taken of it until its abominable character was exposed by the Rev. Mr. Stephens. — In perfect keeping with the character of the work, the copy before us sets forth the name of no publisher — but contains merely the address of the printer, whose office is situated in Black Horse Court, Fleet Street, an infamous receptacle for prostitutes of the most abandoned character: but in so saying, we have no intention to throw any reflection upon his reputation. A respectable bookseller in Paternoster Row has sold many of the copies; but none can now be obtained unless by some chance or by underhanded means, and even then at a price not less than one pound ten shillings — or, more generally, two pounds, — although the original price was only two shillings. The unexplained suppression of this Murder-Book requires to be noticed. The fiend who wrote it would never have withdrawn it, particularly at the very moment when it was in great demand, unless in consequence of the speech delivered against it by Mr. Stephens. No — the obscene butchering wretch would never consent to forego the profits. No legal proceeding has been taken to check its circulation; but, by some sneaking profligate means, it has been bought up. The authorship of it was charged upon the Poor Law Commissioners at Somerset House. After some delay, one of them, in the name of the others, disclaimed all connexion with it. Mr. Stephens persisted that he could bring it to their doors; he challenged them and their retainers to meet him, and a cowardly refusal to do so was the consequence. In the mean time, the pamphlet, though called for by tens of thousands, suddenly disappeared from the book-market. Who but the Ministers, or the “Three Kings,” or one of them, would have taken the trouble thus to suppress it? And why should they thus have suppressed it, if they had nothing to do with the publication of it, or with its contents? If “Marcus” was not one of the tools of their savage inhumanity, why need they care about his unnatural book? The thing needs explanation. — “Murder will out,” and the proud, pensioned, abandoned men who know not their own children, will yet be taught to respect the offspring of the virtuous poor.
The following pages contain an exact reprint of every word which the demon book contained. Not one word has been suppressed. The murderous plans of the Whig-Herod will be best learned from his own words; suffice it to say, that he proposes to slaughter far more than half of all the children who are born. He comes forward to advocate this practice with God’s most holy name upon his blasphemous lips. We are told, in the Ten Commandments, “to do no murder;” but MARCUS, and his crew of incarnate Malthusian devils, pretend that they are following the commands of the Divine Lawgiver by snatching life from thousands of millions of beings, for whose salvation he died, and for whose support and comfort he has stored this world with every necessary, and so many luxuries. This is called an enlightened age; it is said to be an age of piety; there is more money paid for teaching religion in this country than in any other on the face of the globe; and yet, GRACIOUS GOD! To what a state have we arrived, when books are put forth advocating such murderous doctrines as those which we have exposed! And again, what are we to think of the state of our rulers? — what are we to think of their character and repute, when those who administer one of their most favourite laws, have felt themselves under the necessity of formally denying that they are the authors such a book!! In the name of every sacred and social principle, how can men be expected to obey, much less to respect, governors whom they can believe capable of conspiring to promulgate a system of wholesale murder? Nothing is more calculated to ensure obedience to the laws of man, than a conviction that they are founded upon the laws of God; and if they are evidently opposed to his ordinances, they lose all their hold on the respect or obedience of mankind. How, then, can the Commissioners of a law — which sets every Gospel precept at defiance — expect any submission to their orders?
Amongst some of the cannibal tribes, when a parent is stricken with years, they place him in a high tree, and calling their friends about them, exclaim “the fruit is ripe,” and shake the tree [Page Ten] until he falls therefrom and is killed. In the true spirit of rigid political economists, they then roast him and eat him. Would this not be a more profitable mode of disposing of the slain children, than the somewhat expensive inclosure, recommended by Marcus as the Infant’s Paradise?
For the suggestion of slaying children, Marcus was indebted to savage and uncivilized nations. He starts by proposing that all deformed children should at once be slain. What is this but the old Spartan practice? No sooner did a young cripple make its appearance in Sparta, than at the foot of Mount Tagetus it was exposed and left to perish. Look next at the Rajputs in India. They too have given Marcus a hint. They dig a hole in the ground — place the child in it — and pour warm milk upon it until it expires. The Chinese are also child-slayers. Nothing is more common that for parents in China to get into the junks, (sampans) or boats, on their great rivers, and quietly drop their children into the water. Does the monster Marcus expect that a civilised — a human and Gospel nation — will adopt such practices? Let us take another view of the subject. It has been said that the pamphlet by Marcus has been attributed to the Poor Law Commissioners: and others have said, that it cannot be charged upon them, nor upon the law of which they direct the administration. But it cannot be denied that the diabolical propositions of “Marcus” are merely a carrying out of the accursed principle which the Poor Law Act embodies, viz. The separation of man and wife? When the marriage tie is once broken by human legislation — when law makers, despising God’s ordinances, and setting at defiance the practices of all civilized nations, put man and wife asunder, however affectionate they may be to each other — when thus they deprive lust of its check, virtue of its support, and suffering of its consolation, they become accountable for all the disastrous consequences which may result from the impious infringement. In this predicament, then, do the legislature — the Poor Law Commissioners — their supporters and advocates — stand. “Marcus” recommends, but does not by iron bolts and stone walls, enforce connubial happiness. He merely lays down as a cold-blood theory what the Commissioners establish as a law. It is true that the said Commissioners have not yet openly, and in their own names, advocated the sacrifice of children, as “Marcus” has done; nor have they proved that this very pamphlet was not published either by them or for them. But if they have a right to prevent man from acting upon the Divine injunction, “increase and multiply,” they have an equal right to violate another of His commandments, “thou shall do no murder.”
Men who deliberately reduce the outraging of the Almighty’s orders, into a systematic legality, and who, day after day, attempt to organize an entire country to accept and act upon that system — such men either have lost, or will lose quickly, every sense of virtue, and every fear of responsibility, except those occasional goadings of conscience, to which the most profligate and impious are not entirely strangers. But it would not require great ingenuity to argue that in the “painless extinction” theory of “Marcus,” there is less of mere cruelty, perhaps, than in the lingering tortures inflicted by the New Poor Law, by the separation of man and wife. The idea of child-murder, is perhaps, more revolting — but is not that of child-preventing as foul and unnatural? “Marcus” contends that by his plan, children will be killed without a pang, and that they will cease to breathe before they have learned to suffer. Cruel — damnably cruel as this infamous blasphemy is, it is humanity itself compared with the poignant and ever-gnawing agony which is suffered by separated parents. The child, we are told, suffers little and only for a short time; but the woman, separated from her husband — she who rises daily from a “widowed bed,” though her husband is alive and in body well, she who in solitude and sadness is deprived of the hand that toiled for her bread — of the strength which was her support, and of the affectionate offices which was her consolation, SHE is a suffer indeed. SHE may, in truth, regret that the barbarous practice proposed by “Marcus,” was not applied to her. The feelings of a woman are keener than those of men; the heart of a female sooner receives a wound, but the heart of a man, when once stricken with affliction, is slow to recover; a dart once fixed there rankles long; and in the moody silence of his sorrow is pourtrayed the burden which he bears. But no language can fittingly describe the misery of separation. The framers of the New Poor Law — the Commissioners of it — aye, and the advocates of it, too, appear to act, either upon the principle that the poor have no hearts, or upon a determination to break them. Let them be wary; PATIENCE generally yields sooner than the heart.
The Cleverest, and most Honest Physicians and Surgeons in the Kingdom, are no Judges of the Powers of the Human Frame!
The most excellent Ministers of the Gospel, of all Persuasions, know nothing of the instruction of Children in Religion and Morals!
The Operatives don’t know when they are overworked, flogged, knocked down by “Billy-Rollers,” or when their limbs are cruelly bent and deformed by Excessive Labour! The Reformed House of Commons has declared all the above to be Incompetent Witnesses! Huzza. Huzza. What say ye now, FATHERS, MOTHERS, CHILDREN? The “Bloody and Brutal” Commission is to determine whether your Children are to be Starved, or Worked to DEATH!
Our wise Senators have declared by a majority of One, that the Evidence taken before the Select Committee of the House of Commons, is false, they have therefore determined to address the King, asking him to appoint a Commission to enquire into the Factory System, in order, No doubt, to Burke the Question altogether.
Fathers, Mothers, Children, Come to the MEETING on SATURDAY next, in the UNION ROOM, at SIX O’CLOCK IN THE Evening, to pray the King not to give his Royal Sanction to the MURDER of his Children, by the Factory Tyrants!! Yes, TYRANTS!! Bloody TYRANTS, are they who Work, and Strap Children to DEATH.
Huddersfield, April 12th, 1833.
PRINTED AT THE UNION FREE PRESS, BY J. HOBSON, SWAN YARD, HUDDERSFIELD.
The MUSEUM OF MALTHUSIAN MANIFESTOS
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED LONDON, 1833 — 1838
Last modified 12 November 2002