« AnteriorContinuar »
of the species, or otherwise, so far as it can be inferred from statistical tables, and other documents of modern times. He details the authorities of Mr. Malthus, to which we have before alluded; and inserts a short correspondence between that gentleman and himself, just previous to his going to press. This turns upon the single point of Mr. Malthus's authority for saying, that “ In the northern states of America the population had been found to double itself for above a century and a half successively in less than twenty-five years” – for which Mr. Godwin asks in writing; and Mr. Malthus replies by referring him to Dr. Price's Observations, and the pamphlet of Dr. Styles, as the authorities in which he“ principally rests.” the publication of his quarto edition, he adds, “ the late Statistical View of America, by T. Pitkin; in which are contained the three regular censuses of 1790, 1800, and 1810; together with an estimation in 1749, more than confirms what was there stated.”
It has long been clear to us, that Mr. Malthus's system was all hypothesis. Dr. Franklin supposes, that if the earth were empty of other inhabitants, it might in a few ages be replenished with Englishmen-- leaping at once to the point of a tendency to indefinite increase in the numbers of mankind, the very thing to be proved. The assertion of Dr. Styles, in an occasional sermon about the increased numbers of a single district, some sixty years ago, is certainly not to be dwelt upon. Sir William Petty, again, supposes that 600 persons yield, on an average, 180 breeding women; that these women bear, upon an average, a child every other year; and that they continue to bear children from 15 to 44 years of age, or produce on the whole fourteen children and a fraction each “ and so the said 600 people may double in ten years.” But whoever heard or read of such prolific mothers? The name of Euler is introduced into this controversy, only by his becoming a calculator on an hypothesis presented to him by a brother academician. Our author professes to found his principles respecting the numbers of mankind, on the facts of the average duration of life; the average number of years which precede maturity; the period of time during which we retain full vigour and manhood; and the years that belong to decrepitude and decay. With regard to women, the most prominent and important integer in our calculations upon this subject, these periods are marked with much more precision than in the case of men. By a
settled rule of nature, it appears that the human female has completed her interesting task of bringing children into the world at forty-five years of age; and the interval between twenty years of age, and this period, may safely be taken as the utmost ordinary length of the season of child-bearing. Where, as in Persia, and other eastern countries, women marry earlier, they cease to bear children at a proportionably earlier age.
Unhappily for any extended reasoning on these principles, we have no tables of population which supply the requisite data, or that distinguish the ser and ages of the inhabitants of any country for a considerable period, but the accounts which have been kept of the population of Sweden. Of the people of that country full and well arranged lists have been published-from 1751 to 1775, every three years; and from that period to the present time, at intervals of five years. We subjoin a general table, abridged from the whole of these interesting papers ; " the only documents," says Mr. Godwin, “ which prove, from actual observation, and in the compass of ordinary history, that there is a power of numerical increase in the human species :"General View of the Population of Sweden, from the Years
1751 to 1815.
5 years. 15 years.
44,403 1763 2,446,397 3
years. 78,796 1775 2,630,992
184,598 1780 2,782,168
151,176 16 1795 3,043,731
261,563 to 1800 3,182,132 5
years. 138,401 22 1805 3,320,647
138,515 ਤ Or without Finland.
87,215 Total increase in 54 years 1,091,16, or nearly one half. Irregular as the advance seems to be, here is unquestionably a progress in the population of one of the old and settled countries of Europe, amounting, on the whole, to a tendency to double itself in little more than a century.
: The Swedish tables afford us other valuable details respecting the possible increase of mankind. By distinquishing the sex and ages of the inhabitants of Sweden, they exhibit the same sort of progress in the number of child-bearing women, as appears upon the gross result of the population. Thus, in 1757, the total number of women between the ages of 20 and 45 is 436,542; in 1760, 444,092 ; in 1763, 458,236 ; which numbers, compared with those of the whole population, in three years, give one effective child-bearing woman to 5} inhabitants. In the same years, it is remarkable from these tables, that every five childbearing women give, on an average, something more than one child to the state. The proportion of one child-bearing woman being annually yielded by five marriages, seems thus to be established; and is recognised by all the principal writers on the continent, as well as by Mr. Malthus. Now, if the period of natural fruitfulness be taken (as before stated) at 25 years, this calculation would give exactly five children to each marriage; if at 20 years, four children: and when we consider that nearly one year must elapse before the first child can be born, and the diminished fruitfulness of the later period of marriage, a calculation between the two, on the average, of 44 children to each marriage, would seem very near the truth. This conclusion is capable of further proof. In 1757, the women that actually arrived at the marriageable age of 20 years,
in Sweden, were 20,974; the births, 81,878: in 1760, the females arriving at 20 years of age, 20,723; the births, 90,635: in 1763, females arriving at twenty, 21,023; births, 90,152: the three instances affording respectively the averages of 3ló, 4f, and 4; births to a marriage. Again, taking the total births, from 1749 to 1763, in Sweden, we have 1,229,290, as the result; and the number of marriages, during the same period, 315,482, or 4) births to each marriage. Mr. Godwin deduces (in substance) the following conclusions from the whole of those documents: 1. That the marriageable women of a settled community do not exceed one-fifth of the population. 2. That they do not 'increase from generation to generation, or increase in a very inconsiderable proportion. 3. That the number of children born is pretty accurately in the proportion of one child to five marriages. 4. That the number of children born annually is nearly in the same proportion to the childbearing women in the state. 5. That the number of births to a marriage does not exceed the proportion of four to one. 6. That the women who live to reach the child-bearing age are found generally to marry, and that early in life. 7. That extreme early marriages do not increase population, for in proportion as women bear children before the age of twenty, they cease to be mothers before that of forty-five. Our author, in an appendix to chap. iv. v, and vi., suggests some good reasons for supposing, that the average of births, and the progressive increase of the population of Sweden, have been taken rather too high than too low,
The comparison of these results with all that we know of the population of other parts of Europe, affords no reason to fear any tendency to a rapid increase of its inhabitants. Dr. Price, with a view to the valuation of lives, has calculated, on the basis of the Swedish tables, that out of 10,000 women born, 5,800 reach the marriageable period of twenty years of age. Now, in 1810, the registered births in England and Wales were 298,852; taking onehalf of whom as females, we should expect from this proportion of births, 86,667 breeding women; and the marriages of the same year were 84,470.
Other comparisons are instituted by Mr. Godwin, which throw considerable light on the interests of our native country on this question. Dr. Price calculates, that according to the probabilities of life at Norwich, out of 1,185 births, 467 reach the age of twenty, and 311 that of forty-five years, giving an average of 389; now taking half of these to be females, we have 195 child-bearing women, or one-sixth of the births. Another calculation on the probabilities of life in London, gives to every 1000 births 360 persons who reach the age of twenty; and 192 that of forty-five years of age, leaving a mean number of 276; taking half of whom as females,
we have but 138, or not quite one-seventh of the entire number. In Holland and France, the same kind of calculation gives one marriageable female to four births. Dr. Price, it is to be remembered, for purposes totally different to this question, and on mercantile grounds, that have since been admirably sustained, felt the great superiority of the Swedish tables, and erected some of his most important calculations upon them. The table of
proportions between baptisms and marriages in England, prefixed by Mr. Rickman to the Abstract of Returns to the Population Act of 1811, may here be quoted, as confirmatory of the foregoing calculations : Years.
Baptisms. Marriages. 1760
366 to 100
In which it is remarkable that we have no increase from the beginning to the end of the period, and only an average of thirty-five births to ten marriages.
Opposed alike to these facts, and this reasoning, is the hypothesis of Mr. Malthus founded on - the American, and other data, to which we have adverted more than once; and in measure, apparently, confirmed by the population returns of 1801 and 1811, with regard to England and Wales. These returns stand thus :
Total number of inhabitants in 1801 9,108,000.
in 1811 .... 10,488,000.
Increase in 10 years 1,320,000. Now, upon the supposition of the utmost accuracy in these enumerations, they constitute together but one step of comparison with regard to any increase in the population of this country. They are not to be compared with the frequently recurring enumerations of the Swedish government; and surprising to add, they descend into none of the details, which the memorable example of that government might have suggested. We have nothing but a gross return of all sexes and ages confounded together; when a proper classification, as Mr. Godwin remarks, would have given the most unexceptionable authority to the enumerations. If, for instance, the population had been divided into ages only, so as to distinguish every five or ten years' difference, as the American as well as Swedish tables do, we should instantly have seen whether there were increase by procreation equal to the amount now quoted; for in the columns of five or six years it must have appeared. Mr. Godwin suggests another reason for esteeming the comparison between these tables as of little account. In 1801, the whole affair of enumerating our population was new to the inhabitants of this country; we look with jealousy on such measures as these being, for the first time,