E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
That population increases more than the means of increasing subsistence does, so that in time, if no check is put upon the increase of population, many must starve or all be ill-fed. Applied to individual nations, like Britain, it intimated that something must be done to check the increase of population, as all the land would not suffice to feed its inhabitants.