An Essay on the Principle of Population

Thomas Robert Malthus
Malthus, Thomas Robert
Display paragraphs in this book containing:
First Pub. Date
London: John Murray
Pub. Date
6th edition

1. The registers for Russia give a smaller mortality; but it is supposed that they are defective. It appears, however, that in England and Wales during the ten years ending with 1820, the mortality was still less than in Norway.

2. Thaarup's Statistik der Danischen Monarchie, vol. ii. p. 4.

3. Id. Table ii. p. 5.

4. Thaarup's Statistik der Danischen Monarchie, vol. ii, p. 4. The proportion of yearly marriages to the whole population is one of the most obvious criterions of the operation of the preventive check, though not quite a correct one. Generally speaking, the preventive check is greater than might be inferred from this criterion; because in the healthy countries of Europe, where a small proportion of marriages takes place, the greater number of old people living at the time of these marriages will be more than counterbalanced by the smaller proportion of persons under the age of puberty. In such a country as Norway, the persons from 20 to 50, that is, of the most likely age to marry, bear a greater proportion to the whole population than in most of the other countries of Europe; and consequently the actual proportion of marriages in Norway, compared with that of others, will not express the full extent in which the preventive check operates.

5. The few particulars, which I shall mention relating to Norway, were collected during a summer excursion in that country in the year 1799.

6. A daughter's portion is the half of a son's portion.

7. Thaarupt's Statistik der Danischen Monarchie, vol. ii. p. 4.

8. Id. table i. p. 4. In the Tableau Statistique des Etats Danois, since published, it appears that the whole number of births for the five years subsequent to 1794, was 138,799, of deaths 94,530, of marriages 34,313. These numbers give the proportion of births to deaths as 146 to 100, of births to marriages as 4 to 1, and of deaths to marriages as 275 to 100. The average proportion of yearly births is stated to be 1/35, and of yearly deaths 1/49 of the whole population. vol. ii. ch. viii.

Book II, Chapter II.

9. Vol. i. 4to. Printed at Paris, 1772.

10. Id. p. 27.

11. Price's Observ. on Revers. Paym. vol. ii. p. 126, 4th edit.

12. Mémoires pour servir à la connoissance des affaires politiques et économiques du Royaume de Suède, 4to. 1776, ch. vi. p. 187. This work is considered as very correct in its information, and is in great credit at Stockholm.

13. Sussmilch's Gottliche Ordnung, vol. i. c: ii. sect. xxxiv. edit. 1798.

14. Id. sect. xxxv. p. 91.

15. Id. vol. iii. p. 60.

16. Thaarup's Statistik der Danischen Monarchie, vol. ii. tab. ii. p. 5. 1765.

17. Some of these valleys are strikingly picturesque. The principal road from Christiana to Drontheim leads for nearly 180 English miles through a continued valley of this kind, by the side of a very fine river, which in one part stretches out into the extensive lake Miosen. I am inclined to believe that there is not any river in all Europe, the course of which, affords such a constant succession of beautiful and romantic scenery. It goes under different names in different parts. The verdure in the Norway valleys is peculiarly soft, the foliage of the trees luxuriant, and in summer no traces appear of a northern climate.

18. Mémoires du Royaume de Suède, table xvii. p. 174.

19. Id. c. vi. p. 198.

20. Id. table xlii. p. 418, c. vi. p. 201. I did not find out exactly the measure of the Swedish tun. It is rather less than our sack, or half-quarter.

21. Id. c. vi. p. 201.

22. Mémoires du Royaume de Suède, table xlii. p. 418.

23. Id. ch. vi. p. 184.

24. Id, p. 196.

25. Mémoires Abrégés de l'Académie de Stockholm, p. 29.

26. Id. p. 21, 22.

27. Mémoires Abrégés de l'Académie de Stockholm, p. 29.

28. Id. p. 31.

29. This has been confirmed with regard to England, by the abstracts of parish registers which have lately been published. The years 1795 and 1800 are marked by a diminution of marriages and births, and an increase of deaths.

30. Mémoires du Royaume de Suède, c. vi. p. 188.

31. Mémoires du Royaume de Suède, ch. vi. p. 191.

32. Cantzlaer mentions the returns from land effectivement ensemencé as only three grains for one. ch. vi. p. 196.

33. Mémoires du Royaume de Suède, ch. vi. p. 202.

34. Mémoires du Royaume de Suede, ch. vi. p. 204.

35. Id. ch. vi.

36. Id. p. 188.

37. Mémoires du Royaume de Suède, ch. vi. p. 204.

38. Id. ibid.

39. Mémoires du Royaume de Suède, ch. vi. p. 177.

40. Mémoires du Royaume de Suède, ch. vi. p. 184.

41. Mémoires de l'Académie de Stockholm, p. 29.

42. Mémoires du Royaume de Suède, table xlii.

43. Price's Observ. on Revers. Pay. vol. ii, p. 125.

44. Mémoires du Royaume de Suède, ch. vi. p. 1 196.

45. Göttliche Ordnung, vol. i. C. vi. s. 120, p. 231.

46. Transactions of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Stockbolm for the year 1809, and Supplement to the Encyclopædia Britannica, Article, Mortality, by Mr. Milne, Actuary to the Sun Life Assurance Society. The period of five years here noticed was free from any remarkable epidemics, and vaccination had commenced in 1804.

Book II, Chapter III.

47. Vol. ii. b. iii. p. 162.

48. Id. p. 145.

49. Nova Acta Academiæ, tom. iv.

50. View of the Russian Empire, vol. ii. b. iii. p. 148.

51. Mémoires par W. L. Krafft, Nova Acta Academiæ, tom. iv.

52. Tooke's View of the Russ. Emp. vol. ii. b. iii. p. 147.

53. Mémoires Abrégés dé l'Académie de Stockholm, p. 28.

54. View of Russ. Emp. vol. ii. b. iii. p. 146.

55. Mémoire par W. L. Krafft, Nova Acta Academiæ, tom. iv.

56. Mémoire par W. L. Krafft, Nova Acta Academiæ, tom. iv.

57. Mémoires Abrégés de l'Académie de Stockholm; p. 28:

58. Nova Acta Academiæ, tom. iv.

59. Tooke's View of the Russian Empire, vol. ii. b. iii. p. 155.

60. Id. p. 151.

61. Id. note, p. 150.

62. View of the Russian Empire, vol. ii. b. iii. p. 201.

63. Tooke's View of the Russian Empire, vol. ii. book iii. sect. i. p. 126, et seq.

Book II, Chapter IV.

64. Esprit des Loix, liv. xxii. c. x.

65. Sussmilch, Göttliche Ordnung, vol. i. c. iv. sect. lvi. p. 126.

66. Crome, ueber die Grösse and Bevölkerung der Europ. Staaten, p. 88, Leips. 1785.

67. Sussmilch, Göttliche Ordnung, vol. i. c. iv. sect. lviii. p. 127. Such a proportion of marriages could not, however, be supplied in a country like Holland, from the births within the territory, but must be caused principally by the influx of foreigners: and it is known that such an influx, before the Revolution, was constantly taking place. Holland, indeed, has been called the grave of Germany.

68. Sussmilch, Götittliche Ordnung, vol. i. c. iv, sect, lviii. p. 128.

69. Sussmilch, Göttliche Ordnung, vol. i, c. ii. sect. xxxvi. p. 92.

70. Sussmilch, Göttliche Ordnung, vol. i. c, iv. sect. lxii. p. 132.

71. Id. sect. lxiii. p. 134.

72. Id. sect. lxiv. p. 134.

73. Id. sect. lxv. p. 135.

74. Sussmilch, Göttliche Ordnung, vol. i. c. iv. sect. lxxi. p. 140.

75. Sussmilch, Göttliche Ordnung, vol. i. c. iv. sect. lvi. p. 125.

76. Id. sect. lxxv. p. 147.

77. Id. sect. lx. p. 129.

78. Ibid.

79. Id. sect. lxix. p. 137.

80. Crome, ueber die Grösse und Bevölkerung der Europaischen Staaten, p. 89.

81. Lettre cxxii.

82. Esprit des Loix, liv. xxiii. c. xxvi.

83. Sussmilch, Göttliche Ordnung, vol. i. c. iv. sect, lxxviii. p. 151.

84. Sussmilch, Göttliche Ordnung, vol. i. c. vi. s. cxvi. p. 225.

85. Ibid. and c. ii. s. xxvii. p. 93.

86. Id. c. ii. s. xxviii. p. 80, and c. vi. s. cxvi. p. 225.

87. Id. c. vi. s. cxvi. p. 225.

88. Ibid.

89. Thaarup's Statistik, vol. ii. p. 4.

90. Sussmilch, Göttliche Ordnung, vol. iii. p. 60.

91. Vol. i. c. ii. s. xxxv. p. 91.

92. Crome, über die Gröss und Bevölkerung der Europaischen Staaten, p. 116.

93. Crome, über die Bevölkerung der Europaisch. Staat. p. 118.

94. Id. p. 120.

95. Id. p. 122.

96. Crome's Europaiscben Staaten, p. 127.

97. Supplement to the Encyclopædia Britannica, Article Prussia.

Book II, Chapter V.

1. See the different Memoirs for the year 1766.

2. Mémoires, &c. par la Société Economique de Berne. Année 1766, première partie, p. 15 et seq. octavo. Berne.

3. Mémoires, &c. par la Société Economique de Berne, table xiii. p. 120. Année 1766.

4. Id. p. 22.

5. Mémoires, &c. par la Société Econ. de Berne. Année 1766, première partie, table iv. p. 22.

6. Id. table i. p. 21.

7. Id. table i. p. 16.

8. See a paper in the Bibliothèque Britannique, published at Geneva, tom. iv. p. 328.

9. Mémoires, &c. par la Société Econ. de Berne. Année 1766, première partie, p. 47, 48.

10. Id. p. 48.

11. Ib.

12. Mémoires, &c. par la Société Econ. de Berne. Année 1766, première partie, p. 48, et seq.

13. Mémoires, &c. par la Société Econ. de Berne, Année 1766, table v. p. 64.

14. Id. table i. p. 15.

15. Mémoires, &c. par la Société Econ. de Berne. Année 1766, p. 11 and 12.

16. Ibid.

17. Id. p. 11.

18. Id. p. 13.

19. Mémoires, &c. par la Société Econ. de Berne. Année 1766, table xiii. p. 120.

20. Id. table i. p. 11.

21. Mémoires, &c. par la Société Econ. de Berne. Année 1766, p. 29, et seq.

22. On account of second and third marriages, the fecundity of marriages must always be less than the fecundity of married women. The mothers alone are here considered, without reference to the number of husbands.

23. Mémoires, &c. par la Société Econ. de Berne. Année 1766, p. 32.

24. Id. table i. p. 21.

25. Mémoires, &c. par la Société de Berne. Année 1766, table viii. p. 92, et seq.

26. Id. table xiii. p. 120.

27. Id. table xii.

28. Mémoires, &c. par la Société de Berne. Année 1766, première partie, p. 27.

29. Id. première partie, tab. i.

30. Statistique de la Suisse, Durand, tom. iv. p. 405, 8vo. 4 vols. Lausanne, 1796.

31. Beschreibung von Bern, vol. ii. tab. i. p. 35, 2 vols. 8vo. Bern. 1796.

32. M. Prevost, of Geneva, in his translation of this work, gives some account of the small Canton of Glavis, in which the cotton-manufacture had been introduced. It appears that it had been very prosperous at first, and had occasioned a habit of early marriages, and a considerable increase of population; but subsequently wages became extremely low, and a fourth part of the population was dependent upon charity for their support. The proportions of the births and deaths to the population, instead of being 1 to 36, and 1 to 45, as in the Pays de Vaud, had become as 1 to 26, and 1 to 35. And, according to a later account in the last translation, the proportion of the births to the population, during the 14 years from 1805 to 1819, was as 1 to 24, and of the deaths as 1 to 30.

These proportions shew the prevalence of early marriages, and its natural consequences in such a situation, and under such circumstances—great poverty and great mortality. M. Heer, who gave M. Prevost the information, seems to have foreseen these consequences early.

33. Beschreibung von Bern, vol. ii. p. 40.

Book II, Chapter VI.

34. This chapter was written in 1802, and refers to the state of France before the peace of Amiens.

35. P. 32, 8vo. 78 pages.

36. A. Young's Travels in France, vol. i. c. xvii. p. 466, 4to. 1792.

37. De l'Administration des Finances, tom. i. c. ix. p. 256, 12mo. 1785.

38. Essai, p. 31.

39. De l'Administration des Finances, tom. i. c. ix. p. 255.

40. Tableau des Pertes, &c. c. ii. p. 7.—M. Garnier, in the notes to his edition of Adam Smith, calculates that only about a sixtieth part of the French population was destroyed in the armies. He supposes only 500,000 embodied at once, and that this number was supplied by 400,000 more in the course of the war; and allowing for the number which would die naturally, that the additional mortality occasioned by the war was only about 45,000 each year. Tom. v. note xxx. p. 284. If the actual loss were no more than these statements make it, a small increase of births would have easily repaired it; but I should think that these estimates are probably as much below the truth, as Sir Francis d'Ivernois's are above.

41. Essai de Peuchet, p. 28.

42. Supposing the increased number of children at any period to equal the number of men absent in the armies, yet these children, being all very young, could not be supposed to consume a quantity equal to that which would be consumed by the same number of grown-up persons.

43. Tableau des Pertes, &c. c. ii. p. 14.

44. De l'Administration des Finances, tom. i. c. ix. p. 254.

45. Essai de Peuchet, p. 28.

46. De l'Administration des Finances, tom. i. c. ix. p. 255. Essai de Peuchet, p. 29.

47. Young's Travels in France, vol. i. c. xvii. p. 466.

48. See generally c. xvii. vol. i. and the just observations on these subjects interspersed in many other parts of his very valuable Tour.

49. De l'Administration des Finances, tom, i. c. ix. p. 262, et seq.

50. In the Statistique Générale et Particulière de la France, et de ses Colonies, lately, published, the returns of the prefects for the year IX. are given, and seem to justify this conjecture. The births are 955,450, the deaths 821,871, and the marriages 202,177. These numbers hardly equal Necker's estimates; and yet all the calculations in this work, both with respect to the whole population and its proportion to a square league, make the old territory of France more populous now than at the beginning of the revolution. The estimate of the population, at the period of the Constituent Assembly, has already been mentioned; and at this time the number of persons to a square league was reckoned 996. In the year VI. of the republic, the result of the Bureau de Cadastre gave a population of 26,048,254, and the number to a square league 1,020. In the year VII. Dépère calculated the whole population of France at 33,501,094, of which 28,810,694 belonged to ancient France; the number to a square league 1,101; but the calculations, it appears, were founded upon the first estimate made by the Constituent Assembly, which was afterwards rejected as too high. In the year IX. and X. the addition of Piedmont and the isle of Elba raised the whole population to 34,376,313; the number to a square league 1,086. The number belonging to Old France is not stated. It seems to have been about 28,000,000.

In the face of these calculations, the author takes a lower multiplier than Necker for the births, observing that though Necker's proportions remained true in the towns, yet in the country the proportion of births bad increased to 1/21, 1/22, 1/22 ½, 1/23, which he attributes to the premature marriages, to avoid the military levies; and on the whole, concludes with mentioning 25 as the proper multiplier. And yet, if we make use of this multiplier, we shall get a population under 25 millions, instead of 28 millions. It is true, indeed, that no just inferences can be drawn from the births of a single year; but, as these are the only births referred to, the contradiction is obvious. Perhaps the future returns may solve the difficulty, and the births in the following years be greater; but I am inclined to think, as I have mentioned in the text, that the greatest increase in the proportion of births was before the year IX. and probably during the first six or seven years of the republic, while married persons were exempt from the military conscriptions. If the state of the agricultural part of the nation has been improved by the revolution, I am strongly inclined to believe that the proportions both of births and deaths will be found to diminish. In so fine a climate as France, nothing but the very great misery of the lower classes could occasion a mortality of 1/30, and a proportion of births as 1/25¾, according to Necker's calculations. And consequently, upon this supposition, the births for the year IX. may not be incorrect, and in future, the births and deaths may not bear so large a proportion to the population. The contrast between France and England in this respect is quite wonderful.

The part of this work relating to population is not drawn up with much knowledge of the subject. One remark is very curious. It is observed that the proportion of marriages to the population is as 1 to 110, and of births as 1 to 25; from which it is inferred, that one-fourth of the born live to marry. If this inference were just, France would soon he depopulated.

In calculating, the value of lives, the author makes use of Buffou's tables, which are entirely incorrect, being founded principally on registers taken from the villages round Paris. They make the probability of life at birth only a little above eight years; which, taking the towns and the country together, is very short of the just average.

Scarcely any thing worth noticing has been added in this work to the details given in the Essay of Peuchet, which I have already frequently referred to. On the whole I have not seen sufficient grounds to make me alter any of my conjectures in this chapter, though probably they are not well-founded. Indeed, in adopting Sir F. d'Ivernois' calculations respecting the actual loss of men during the revolution, I never thought myself borne out by facts; but, the reader will be aware that I adopted them rather for the sake of illustration than from supposing them strictly true.

51. Essai de Peuchet, p. 28. It is highly probable that this increase of illegitimate births occasioned a more than usual number of children to be exposed in those dreadful receptacles, les Hôpitaux des Enfans trouvés, as noticed by Sir Francis d'Ivernois; but probably this cruel custom was confined to particular districts, and the number exposed, upon the whole, might bear no great proportion to the sum of all the births.

52. Tableau des Pertes, &c. c. ii. p. 13, 14.

53. The proportion of marriages to the population in France, according to Necker, is 1 to 113, tom. i. c. ix. p. 255.

54. De l'Administration des Finances, tom, i. c. ix. p. 263.

55. Since I wrote this chapter, I have bad an opportunity of seeing the Analyse des Procès Verbaux des Conseils Généraux de Département, which gives a very particular and highly curious account of the internal state of France for the year VIII. With respect to the population, out of 69 departments, the reports from which are given, in 16 the population is supposed to be increased; in 42 diminished; in 9 stationary; and in 2 the active population is said to be diminished, but the numerical to remain the same. It appears, however, that most of these reports are not founded on actual enumerations; and without such positive data, the prevailing opinions on the subject of population, together with the necessary and universally acknowledged fact of a very considerable diminution in the males of a military age, would naturally dispose people to think that the numbers upon the whole must be diminished. Judging merely from appearances, the substitution of a hundred children for a hundred grown-up persons would certainly not produce the same impression with regard to population. I should not be surprised, therefore, if, when the enumerations for the year IX. are completed, it should appear that the population upon the whole has not diminished. In some of the reports l'aisance générale répandue sur le peuple, and la division des grands propriétés, are mentioned as the causes of increase; and almost universally, les mariages prématurés, and les mariages multipliés par la crainte des loix militaires, are particularly noticed.

With respect to the state of agriculture, out of 78 reports, 6 are of opinion that it is improved; 10, that it is deteriorated; 70 demand that it should be encouraged in general; 32 complain de la multiplicité des défrichemens; and 12 demand des encouragemens pour les défrichemens. One of the reports mentions, la quantité prodigieuse de terres vagues mise en culture depuis quelque tems, et les travaux multipliés, au delà de ce que peuvent exécuter les bras employés en agriculture; and others speak of les défrichemens multipliés qui ont eu lieu depuis plusieurs années, which appeared to be successful at first; but it was soon perceived that it would be more profitable to cultivate less, and cultivate well. Many of the reports notice the cheapness of corn, and the want of sufficient vent for this commodity; and in the discussion of the question respecting the division of the biens communaux, it is observed, that, "le partage, en opérant le défrichement de ces biens, a sans doute produit une augmentation réelle de denrées, mais d'un autre côté, les vaines patures n'existent plus, et les bestiaux sont peut-être diminués." On the whole therefore I should be inclined to infer that, though the agriculture of the country does not appear to have been conducted judiciously so as to obtain a large neat produce, yet the gross produce had by no means been diminished during the revolution; and that the attempt to bring so much new land under cultivation had contributed to make the scarcity of labourers still more sensible. And if it be allowed that the food of the country did not decrease during the revolution; the high price of labour, which is very generally noticed, must have operated as a most powerful encouragement to population among the labouring part of the society.

The land-tax, or contribution foncière, is universally complained of; indeed it appears to be extremely heavy, and to fall very unequally. It was intended to be only a fifth of the neat produce; but, from the unimproved state of agriculture in general, the number of small proprietors, and particularly the attempt to cultivate too much surface in proportion to the capital employed, it often amounts to a fourth, a third, or even a half. When property is so much divided that the rent and profit of a farm must be combined, in order to support a family upon it, a land-tax must necessarily greatly impede cultivation; though it has little or no effect of this kind when farms are large, and let out to tenants, as is most frequently the case in England. Among the impediments to agriculture mentioned in the reports, the too great division of lands from the new laws of succession is noticed. The partition of some of the great domains would probably contribute to the improvement of agriculture; but; subdivisions of the nature here alluded to would certainly have a contrary effect, and would tend most particularly to diminish neat produce, and make a land-tax both oppressive and unproductive. If all the land in England were divided into farms of 20l. a-year, we should probably be more populous than we are at present; but as a nation we should be extremely poor, and should be under a total inability of maintaining the same number of manufactures or collecting the same taxes as at present. All the departments demand a diminution of the contribution foncièr as absolutely necessary to the prosperity of agriculture.

Of the state of the hospitals and charitable establishments, of the prevalence of beggary and the mortality among the exposed children, a most deplorable picture is drawn in almost all the reports; from which we should at first be disposed to infer a greater degree of poverty and misery among all the lower classes of people in general. It appears, however, that the hospitals and charitable establishments lost almost the whole of their revenues during the revolution; and this sudden subtraction of support from a great number of people who had no other reliance, together with the known failure of manufactures in the towns, and the very great increase of illegitimate children, might produce all the distressing appearances described in the reports, without impeaching the great fact of the meliorated condition of agricultural labourers in general, necessarily arising from the acknowledged high price of labour and comparative cheapness of corn; and it is from this part of the society that the effective population of a country is principally supplied. If the poor's rates of England were suddenly abolished, there would undoubtedly be the most complicated distress among those who were before supported by them; but I should not expect that either the condition of the labouring part of the society in general, or the population of the country, would suffer from it. As the proportion of illegitimate children in France has risen so extraordinarily as from 1/47 of all the births to 1/11, it is evident that more might be abandoned in hospitals, and more out of these die than usual, and yet a more than usual number be reared at home, and escape the mortality of those dreadful receptacles. It appears that from the low state of the funds in the hospitals the proper nurses could not be paid, and numbers of children died from absolute famine. Some of the hospitals at last very properly refused to receive any more.

The reports, upon the whole, do not present a favourable picture of the internal state of France; but something is undoubtedly to be attributed to the nature of these reports, which, consisting as they do of observations explaining the state of the different departments, and of particular demands, with a view to obtain assistance or relief from government, it is to be expected that they should lean rather to the unfavourable side. When the question is respecting the imposition of new taxes, or the relief from old ones, people will generally complain of their poverty. On the subject of taxes, indeed, it would appear, as if the French government must be a little puzzled. For though it very properly recommended to the Conseils généraux not to indulge in vague complaints, but to mention specific grievances, and propose specific remedies, and particularly not to advise the abolition of one tax without suggesting another; yet all the taxes appear to me to be reprobated, and most frequently in general terms, without the proposal of any substitute.

La contribution foncièr, la taxe mobiliaire, les barrières, les droits de douane, all excite bitter complaints; and the only new substitute that struck me was a tax upon game, which, being at present almost extinct in France, cannot be expected to yield a revenue sufficient to balance all the rest. The work, upon the whole, is extremely curious; and as shewing the wish of the government to know the state of each department, and to listen to every observation and proposal for its improvement, is highly creditable to the ruling power. It was published for a short time; but the circulation of it was soon stopped and confined to the ministers, les conseils généraux, &c. Indeed the documents are evidently more of a private than of a public nature, and certainly have not the air of being intended for general circulation.

Book II, Chapter VII.

56. See a valuable note of M. Prevost of Geneva to his translation of this work, vol. ii. p. 88. M. Prevost thinks it probable that there are omissions in the returns of the births, deaths, and marriages, for the year IX. He further shews that the proportion of the population to the square league for Old France should be 1014, and not 1086. But if there is reason to believe that there are omissions in the registers, and that the population is made too great, the real proportions will be essentially different from those which are here given.

57. P. 331. Paris, 1805.

58. In the year 1792 a law was passed extremely favourable to early marriages. This was repealed in the year XI., and a law substituted which threw great obstacles in the way of marriage, according to Peuchet (p. 234.) These two laws will assist in accounting for a small proportion of births and marriages in the ten years previous to 1813, consistently with the possibility of a large proportion in the first six or seven years after the commencement of the revolution.

59. Young's Travels in France, vol. i. p. 437.

60. P. 391.

61. P. 13.

Book II, Chapter VIII.

62. This chapter was written in 1802, just after the first enumeration, the results of which were published in 1801.

63. Observ. on the Results of the Population Act, p. 11, printed in 1801. The answers to the Population Act have at length happily rescued the question of the population of this country from the obscurity in which it had been so long involved, and have afforded some very valuable data to the political calculator. At the same time it must be confessed that they are not so complete as entirely to exclude reasonings and conjectures respecting the inferences which are to be drawn from them. It is earnestly to be hoped that the subject may not be suffered to drop after the present effort. Now that the first difficulty is removed, an enumeration every ten years might be rendered easy and familiar; and the registers of births, deaths and marriages might be received every year, or at least every five years. I am persuaded, that more inferences are to be drawn respecting the internal state of a country from such registers than we have yet been in the habit of supposing.

64. New Observ. on Bills of Mortality, p. 265. 8v0. 1750.

65. New Observ. on Bills of Mortality, p. 247. 8vo. 1750.

66. The population is taken at 9,168,000, and the annual deaths at 186,000. (Obs. on the Results of Pop. Act. p. 6 and 9.)

67. Ueber die Bevölkerung der Europaischen Staaten, p. 127.

68. Sussmilch, Göttliche Ordnung, vol. iii. p. 60.

69. P. 6.

70. It is by no means surprising, that our population should have been underrated formerly, at least by any person who attempted to estimate it from the proportion of births or deaths. Till the late Population Act no one could have imagined that the actual returns of annual deaths, which might naturally have been expected to be as accurate in this country as in others, would turn out to be less than a 49th part of the population. If the actual returns for France, even so long ago as the ten years ending with 1780, had been multiplied by 49, she would have appeared at that time to have a population of above 40 millions. The average of annual deaths was 818,491. Necker, de l'Administration des Finances, tom. i. c. ix. p. 255. 12mo. 1785.

71. Price's Observ. on Revers. Paym. vol. ii. note, p. 10. First additional Essay, 4th edit. In particular parishes, private communications are perhaps more to be depended upon than public returns; because in general those clergymen only are applied to, who are in some degree interested in the subject, and of course take more pains to be accurate.

72. New Observations on Bills of Mortality, table ix. p. 133.

73. Göttliche Ordnung, vol. i. c. ii. s. xxi. p. 74.

74. Estimate of the Number of Inhabitants in G. Britain.

75. Price's Observ. on Revers. Paym. vol. i. note, p. 272.

76. Id. vol. ii. First additional Essay, note, p. 4.

77. Price's Observ. on Revers. Paym. vol. ii. First additional Essay, note, p. 4.

78. The mortality at Stockholm was, according to Wargentin, 1 in 19.

79. Observ. on Revers. Paym. vol. ii. First additional Essay, p. 4.

80. An estimate of the population or mortality of London, before the late enumeration, always depended much on conjecture and opinion, on account of the great acknowledged deficiencies in the registers; but this was not the case in the same degree with the other towns here named. Dr. Price, in allusion to a diminishing population, on which subject it appears that he has so widely erred, says very candidly, that perhaps he may have been insensibly influenced to maintain an opinion once advanced.

81. Increase and Decrease of Diseases, p. 32, 4to. 180

82. P. 13.

83. Price's Observ. on Revers. Paym. vol. i. p. 264-266. 4th edit.

84. Id. vol. i. p. 268.

85. New Observations on Bills of Mortality, p. 76.

86. Price's Observ. on Revers. Paym. vol. ii. p. 17.

87. Short's New Observ. Abstract from Graunt, p. 277.

88. Id. p. 276.

89. This was written before the omitted returns were added in 1810. These additions make the births in 1800 amount to 263,000, instead of 255,426, and increase the proportion of registered births to 1 in 35.—See the next chapter.

90. Average medium of baptisms for the last five years 255,426. Pop. 9,198,000. (Observ. on Results, p. 9.)

91. New Observ. p. 267.

92. In private inquiries, dissenters and those who do not christen their children, will not of course be reckoned in the population; consequently such inquiries, as far as they extend, will more accurately express the true proportion of births; and we are fairly justified in making use of them, in order to estimate the acknowledged deficiency of births in the public returns.

93. Estimate of the Number of Inhabitants in Great Britain, &c. p. 27.

94. P. 6.

95. New Observ. tables ii. and iii. p. 22 and 44; Price's Observ. on Revers. Paym. vol. ii. p. 311.

96. Tableau des Pertes, &c. c. ii. p. 16.

97. Observ. on the Results of the Population Act, p. 8.

98. Population Abstracts, Parish Registers. Final summary, p. 455.

99. Observ. on the Results of the Population Act, p. 9.

100. Ibid.

101. Observ. on the Results of the Population Act, p, 9.

102. Population Abstracts, Parish Registers, p. 455.

103. P. 9.

104. De l'Administration des Finances, tom. i. c. ix. p. 252. 12mo. 1783.

Book II, Chapter IX.

1. See the Population Abstracts published in 1811, and the valuable Preliminary Observations by Mr. Rickman.

2. See a table of the population throughout the century, in page xxv. of the Preliminary Observations to the Population Abstracts, printed in 1811.

3. See the Preliminary Observations on the Population Abstracts, p. xxvi.

4. See Population Abstracts, 1811, page 196 of the Parish Register Abstract.

It is certainly very extraordinary that a smaller proportion of males than usual should appear to have died abroad from 1800 to 1810; but as the registers for this period seem to prove it, I have made my calculations accordingly.

5. A general formula for estimating the population of a country at any distance from a certain period, under given circumstances of births and mortality, may be found in Bridge's Elements of Algebra, p. 225.

Log. A = log. P + n log. 1 +
m - b


A representing the required population at the end of any number of years; n the number of years; P the actual population at the given period; 1/m the proportion of yearly deaths to the population; or ratio of mortality; 1/b the proportion of yearly births to the population, or ratio of births.

In the present case, P = 9,287,000; n = 10; m = 47; b = 29½.

m - b 1 m - b 80

  and 1 +   
mb 79 mb 79

The log. of 80/79 = 00546;   \   n log. 1 +
m - b


= 05460. Log. P. = 6.96787, which added to 05460 = 7.02247 the log of A, the number answering to which is 10,531,000.

6. The very small difference between the population of 1780 and 1785, as given in the table, seems strongly to imply that one of the two estimates is erroneous.

7. Population Abstracts, 1811. Preliminary View, p. xxv.

8. From the one or other of these causes, I have little doubt, that the numbers in the table, for 1760 and 1780, which imply so rapid an increase of population in that interval, do not bear the proper relation to each other. It is probable that the number given for 1770 is too great.

9. P. 20.

10. Preliminary Observations, p. viii.

11. Ibid.

12. The migrations into England from Ireland and Scotland may account for some portion of the excess of the enumerations above what is warranted by the excess of the births above the deaths.

Book II, Chapter X.

13. Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. i. p. 167.

14. Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 407.

15. Id. vol. xxi. p. 383.

16. Population Abstracts, Parish Registers, p. 459.

17. Id. p. 458.

18. Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xxi. p. 383. The comparison with England here, refers to the time of the first enumeration. There is little doubt that the mortality of Scotland has diminished, and the proportion of births to deaths increased since 1800.

19. Vol. v. p. 1.

20. One writer takes notice of this circumstance and observes, that formerly the births seem to have borne a greater proportion to the whole population than at present. Probably, he says, more were born, and there was a greater mortality. Parish of Montquitter, vol. vi. p. 121.

21. Vol. i. p. 385.

22. Vol. x. p. 194.

23. Vol. i. p. 449.

24. Vol. xii. p. 317.

25. Parish of Lochalsh, county of Ross, vol. xi. p. 422.

26. Vol. xi. p. 574.

27. Vol. iv. p. 308.

28. Vol. vii. p. 194.

29. It has been calculated that, on an average, the difference of age in the children of the same family is about two years.

30. Vol. iv. p. 308.

31. It has lately been stated in Parliament, that the poor-laws of Scotland are not materially different from those of England, though they have been very differently understood and executed; but, whatever may be the laws on the subject, the practice is generally as here represented; and it is the practice alone that concerns the present question.

32. Vol. vii. p. 74.

33. Id. vi. p. 21.

34. Parishes of Forbes and Kearn, County of Aberdeen, vol. xi. 189.

35. Parish of Duthil, vol. iv. p. 305.

36. Vol. vi. p. 121.

37. Parish of Kincardine, County of Ross, vol. iii. p. 505.

38. Vol. ix. P. 550.

39. Vol. iii. p. i.

40. Vol. vii. p. 391.

41. According to the returns in the enumeration of 1800, the whole population of Scotland was above 1,590,000, and therefore the increase up to that time was above 320,000. In 1810 the population was 1,805,688; and in 1820, 2,093,456.

Book II, Chapter XI.

42. In the statistical account of Scotland it is said, that the average distance between the children of the same family has been calculated to be about two years.

43. According to the rate of increase which has lately been taking place in England (1802,) the period by calculation would be about 3¾ years.

44. The true proportion will be greater, if, as before stated, there is reason to believe that in all registers the omissions in the births and deaths are more numerous than in the marriages.

45. In places where there are many migrations of people, the calculations will of course be disturbed. In towns, particularly, where there is a frequent change of inhabitants, and where it often happens that the marriages of the people in the neighbouring country are celebrated, the inferences from the proportion of births to marriages are not to be depended on.

46. Göttliche Ordnung, vol. i. tables, p. 98.

47. Sussmilch, vol. iii. tables, p. 95.

48. In France, before the revolution, the proportion of illegitimate births was 1/47 of the whole number. Probably it is less in this country.

49. Dr. Price very justly says (Observ. on Revers. Pay. vol. i. p. 269. 4th. edit.) "that the general effect of an increase while it is going on in a country is to render the proportion of persons marrying annually, to the annual deaths greater and to the annual births less than the true proportion marrying out of any given number born. This proportion generally lies between the other two proportions, but always nearest the first." In these observations I entirely agree with him, but in a note to this passage he appears to me to fall into an error. He says, that if the prolifickness of marriages be increased (the probabilities of life and the encouragement to marriage remaining the same) both the annual births and burials would increase in proportion to the annual weddings. That the proportion of annual births would increase is certainly true; and I here acknowledge my error in differing from Dr. Price on this point in my last edition; but I still think that the proportion of burials to weddings would not necessarily increase under the circumstances here supposed.

The reason why the proportion of births to weddings increases is, that the births occurring in the order of nature considerably prior to the marriages which result from them, their increase will affect the register of births much more than the contemporary register of marriages. But the same reason by no means holds with regard to the deaths, the average age of which is generally later than the age of marriage. And in this case, after the first interval between birth and marriage, the permanent effect would be, that the register of marriages would be more affected by the increase of births than the contemporary register of deaths; and consequently the proportion of the burials to the weddings would be rather decreased than increased. From not attending to the circumstance that the average age of marriage may often be considerably earlier than the mean age of death, the general conclusion also which Dr. Price draws in this note does not appear to be strictly correct.

50. The reader will be aware that, as all the born must die, deaths, may in some cases be taken as synonymous with births. If we had the deaths registered of all the births which had taken place in a country during a certain period, distinguishing the married from the unmarried, it is evident that the number of those who died married, compared with the whole number of deaths, would accurately express the proportion of the births which had lived to marry.

51. If the proportions mentioned by Mr. Barton be just, the expectation of life in America is considerably less than in Russia, which is the reason that I have taken only ten years for the difference between the age of marriage and the age of death, instead of fifteen years, as in Russia. According to the mode adopted by Dr. Price, (vol. i. p. 272,) of estimating the expectation of life in countries the population of which is increasing, this expectation in Russia would be about 38, (births 1/26, deaths 1/50, mean 1/38), and supposing the age of marriage to be 23, the difference would be 15.

In America the expectation of life would, upon the same principles, be only 32½, (births, 1/20, deaths, 1/45, mean 1/32 ½); and supposing the age of marriage 22½, the difference would be 10.

Since this was written, I have seen reason to believe, from some calculations of Mr. Milne, actuary to the Sun Life Assurance Society, that Dr. Price's mode of estimating the expectation of life in countries that are increasing is by no means correct, and that the true expectation of life in such countries lies very much nearer the proportion of the annual mortality, than a mean between the annual mortality and the proportion of annual births; but I retain the mean proportion in the calculations of this chapter, because I find that this mean expresses more nearly the period when the deaths will equal the present births, or accord with the present marriages, than the distance of the expectation of life. In a progressive country, where the annual births considerably exceed the annual deaths, the period at which the annual deaths will equal the present annual births is less distant than the expectation of life.

52. This applies to the state of population before 1800.

53. Births 1/30, deaths 1/40, mean 1/35; and on the supposition that the age of marriage is 28, the difference would be 7.

54. Of 28,473 marriages in Pomerania, 5,964 of the men were widowers. Sussmilch, vol. i. tables, p. 98. And according to Busching, of 14,759 marriages in Prussia and Silesia, 3,071 of the men were widowers. Sussmilcb, vol iii. tables, p. 95. Muret calculates that 100 men generally marry 110 women. Mémoires par la Société Economique de Berne. Année 1766, premiere partie, page 30.

55. Dr. Price himself has insisted strongly upon this, (vol. i. p. 270. 4th edit.) and yet he says (p. 275) that healthfulness and prolifickness are probably causes of increase seldom separated, and refers to registers of births and weddings as a proof of it. But though these causes may undoubtedly exist together, yet if Dr. Price's reasoning be just, such co-existence cannot possibly be inferred from the lists of births and weddings. Indeed the two countries, Sweden and France, to the registers of which he refers as showing the prolifickness of their marriages, are known to be by no means remarkably healthy; and the registers of towns to which be alludes, though they may show, as be intends, a want of prolifickness, yet, according, to his previous reasoning, show at the same time great healthiness, and therefore ought not to be produced as a proof of the absence of both. The general fact that Dr. Price wishes to establish may still remain true, that country situations are both more healthy and more prolific than towns: but this fact certainly cannot be inferred merely from lists of births and marriages. With regard to the different countries of Europe, it will generally be found, that those are the most healthy which are the least prolific, and those the most prolific which are the least healthy. The earlier age of marriage in unhealthy countries is the obvious reason of this fact.

56. Ueber die Bevölkerung der Europais. Staat. p. 91.

57. At present (1825), and for the last ten, or even twenty years, there is reason to believe that half of the born live to 45 years.

58. The proportions here mentioned are different from those which have been taken from the additional table in Mr. Tooke's second edition; but they are assumed here as more easily and clearly illustrating the subject.

Book II, Chapter XII.

59. Sussmilch, Göttliche Ordnung, vol. i. table xxi. p. 83 of the tables.

60. The number of people before the plague, according to Sussmilch's calculations, (vol. i. ch. ix. sect. 173,) was 570,000, from which if we subtract 247,733, the number dying in the plague, the remainder, 322,267, will be the population after the plague; which, divided by the number of marriages and the number of births for the year 1711, makes the marriages about one twenty-sixth part of the population, and the births about one tenth part. Such extraordinary proportions could only occur in any country in an individual year. If they were to continue, they would double the population in less than ten years. It is possible that there may be a mistake in the table, and that the births and marriages of the plague years are included in the year 1711; though as the deaths are carefully separated, it seems very strange that it should be so. It is however a matter of no great importance. The other years are sufficient to illustrate the general principle.

61. Sussmilch, Göttliche Ordnung, vol. i. c. v. s. lxxxvi. p. 175.

62. History of Air, Seasons, &c. vol. ii. p. 344.

63. Sussmilch's Göttliche Ordnung, vol. i. tables, p. 88.

64. Sussmilch, vol. i, tables, p. 91.

65. Id. p. 99.

66. Sussmilch, vol. i. tables, p. 103.

67. Sussmilch, vol. i. tables, p. 108.

Book II, Chapter XIII.

68. Short's New Observ. on Bills of Mortality, p. 259, 8vo. 1750.

69. Voy. d'Ulloa, tom. i. liv. v. ch. v. p. 229, 4to. 1752.

70. Smith's Wealth of Nations, vol. ii. b. iv. ch. viii. p. 363.

71. Id. p. 365.

72. Id. p. 368, 369.

73. Price' s Observ. on Revers. Paym. vol. i. p. 282, 283, and vol. ii. p. 260. I have lately had an opportunity of seeing some extracts from the sermon of Dr. Styles, from which Dr. Price has taken these facts. Speaking of Rhode Island, Dr. Styles says that, though the period of doubling for the whole colony is 25 years, yet that it is different in different parts, and within land is 20 and 15 years. The population of the five towns of Gloucester, Situate, Coventry, West Greenwich and Exeter, was 5033, A. D. 1798, and 6986, A. D. 1755; which implies a period of doubling of 15 years only. He mentions afterwards, that the county of Kent doubles in 20 years, and the county of Providence in 18 years.

74. See an article in the Supplement to the Encyclopædia Britannica on Population, p. 308; and a curious table, p. 310, calculated by Mr. Milne, Actuary to the Sun Life Assurance Office, which strikingly confirms and illustrates the computed rate of increase in the United States, and shews that it cannot be essentially affected by immigrations.

75. See p. 500.

76. New Observ. on Bills of Mortality, p. 96.

77. Hist. of Air, Seasons, &c. vol. ii. p. 366.

78. Id. vol. ii. p. 202.

79. Hist. of Air, Seasons, &c, vol. ii. p. 206.

80. Hist. of Air; Seasons, &c. vol. ii. p. 206. et seq.

81. Id. vol. ii. p. 206. et seq. and 336.

82. New Observ. p. 125.

83. New Observ. p. 108.

84. Hist. of Air, Seasons, &c: vol. ii. p. 367.

85. Id. vol. ii. p. 411.

86. Hist. of Air, Seasons, &c. vol. ii. p. 344.

87. New Observ. p. 191.

88. Id. p. 500.

89. Political Arithmetic, p. 17.

90. Survey of the Turkish Empire, c. vii. p. 281.

91. Necker de l'Administration des Finances, tom. i. c. ix. p. 255.

92. By an increase in the means of subsistence, as the expression is used here, is always meant such an increase as the mass of the population can command; otherwise it can be of no avail in encouraging an increase of people.

93. The reader will recollect the confined sense in which I use this term.

End of Book II Notes; end of Volume I.

Top of File Notes: Book I Notes: Book II Notes: Book III
Return to top