EFFECTS OF CIVILISATION
ON THE PEOPLE
CHARLES HALL, M.D.
LONGMAN, BROWN, GREEN, AND LONGMANS.
London: Printed by Petter, Duff, and Co.
Crane Court, Fleet Street
The following Work, remarkable for its vivid description of the general condition of the people throughout Europe at the period of its publication, has lost none of its interest now, when many of our social evils have been greatly aggravated and extended, although some have been alleviated or removed. Machinery—which, in a rightly constituted society, based upon Christian principles, would prove invariably a blessing—has, under the present system, increased the struggles and intensity of competition, and depressed, by overwhelming, the labour market—producing the two extremes of super-abundance and destitution.
The title of the work has not been happily chosen, implying, as it does, that the effects described are the necessary consequences of civilisation; whereas, they can be regarded only as the result of an imperfect state of civilisation in the progress of society.
The persons who may be disposed to criticise this work, will have an advantage, which no doubt will be made use of. Some of the opinions maintained in it being contrary to the more generally received notions, it was necessary to treat the subject in a somewhat elementary manner, beginning with the more simple matters, and such as were less contrary to the common ways of thinking, and proceeding to others more complex and more opposite to popular ideas. On which account, the chapters in the advanced part of the discourse, if detached from their places and exposed to view by themselves, without the preceding facts and reasons on which they are grounded, may appear paradoxical and untrue. The author, therefore, makes use of the right he has to put in his caveat against that mode of proceeding.