Cobbett’s crit of Malthus’ influence on modernism

Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue page 238-239…
(william) “Cobbett – ‘the last man of the old England and the first man of the new’, said Marx – crusaded to change the society as a whole…Cobbitt looked backward to the England of his childhood, beyond that to England before the Reformation, seeing each stage as one in a decline towards his own day. Cobbett beleived that the small working farmer is the social type of the virtuous man. ‘If the cultivators of the land be not, generally speaking, the most  virtuous and most happy of mankind, there must be something at work in the community to counteract the operations of nature’ (Political Register xxxix, 5 may 1821)”

While not a Catholic, Cobbett at this time also took up the cause of Catholic Emancipation. Between 1824 and 1826, he published his History of the Protestant Reformation, a broadside against the traditional Protestant historical narrative of the British reformation, stressing the lengthy and often bloody persecutions of Catholics in Britain and Ireland. At this time, Catholics were still forbidden to enter certain professions or to become Members of Parliament. Although the law was no longer enforced, it was officially still a crime to attend Mass or build a Catholic church.In 1829, he published Advice to Young Men in which he heavily criticised An Essay on the Principle of Population published by the Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus.
The book An Essay on the Principle of Population was first published anonymously in 1798 by Joseph Johnson. The author was soon identified as The Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus. While it was not the first book on population, it has been acknowledged as the most influential work of its era. Its 6th Edition was independently cited as a key influence by both Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace in developing the theory of natural selection.


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