« PreviousContinue »
Dr Greece will needs in esta
Dr Gregory, Dr Perceval, M. Villermi, Lord Bacon, and Rousseau. We will not dispute about it; for it seems quite clear to us, that if he succeeds in establishing it, he overturns his own theory. If men breed in proportion to their poverty, as he tells us here,—and at the same time breed in inverse proportion to their numbers, as he told us before, it necessarily follows, that the poverty of men must be in inverse proportion to their numbers. Inverse proportion, indeed, as we have shown, is not the phrase which expresses Mr Sadler's meaning. To speak more correctly, it follows from his two positions, that if one papulation be thinner than another, it will also be poorer. Is this the fact? Mr Sadler tells us, in one of those tables which we have already quoted, that in the United States, the population is four to a square mile, and the fecundity 5.22 to a marriage, and that in Russia the population is twenty-three to a square mile, and the fecundity 4.94 to a marriage. Is the North American labourer poorer than the Russian boor? If not, what becomes of Mr Sadler's argument ?
The most decisive proof of Mr Sadler's theory, according to him, is that which he has kept for the last. It is derived from the registers of the English Peerage. The Peers, he says, and says truly, are the class with respect to whom we possess the most accurate statistical information.
* Touching their number, this has been accurately known and recorded ever since the order has existed in the country. For several centuries past, the addition to it of a single individual bas been a matter of public interest and notoriety : this hereditary honour, conferring not personal dignity merely, but important privileges, and being almost always identified with great wealth and influence. The records relating to it are kept with the most scrupulous attention, not only by heirs and expectants, but they are appealed to by more distant connexions, as conferring distinction on all who can claim such affinity. Hence there are few disputes concerning successions to this rank, but such as go back to very remote periods. In later times, the marriages, births, and deaths, of the nobility, have not only been registered by and known to those personally interested, but have been published periodically, and, consequently, subject to perpetual correction and revision; while many of the most powerful motives which can influence the human mind conspire to preserve these records from the slightest falsification. Compared with these, therefore, all other registers, or reports, whether of “ sworn searchers" or others, are incorrectness itself.'
Mr Sadler goes on to tell us that the Peers are a marrying class, and that their general longevity proves them to be a healthy class. Still peerages often become extinct;—and from this fact he infers, that they are a sterile class. So far, says he, from
increasing in geometrical progression, they do not even keep up their numbers. Nature interdicts their increase.'
Thus,' says he, in all ages of the world, and in every nation of it, have the highest ranks of the community been the most sterile, and the lowest the most prolific. As it respects our own country, from the lowest grade of society, the Irish peasant, to the highest, the British peer, this remains a conspicuous truth; and the regulation of the degree of fecundity conformably to this principle, through the intermediate gradations of society, constitutes one of the features of the system developed in these pages.'
We take the issue which Mr Sadler has himself offered. We agree with him, that the registers of the English Peerage are of far higher authority than any other statistical documents. We are content that by those registers bis principle should be judged. And we meet him by positively denying his facts. We assert, that the English nobles are not only not a sterile, but an eminently prolific, part of the community. Mr Sadler concludes, that they are sterile, merely because peerages often become extinct. Is this the proper way of ascertaining the point? Is it thus that he avails himself of those registers, on the accuracy and fulness of which he descants so largely ? Surely his right course would have been to count the marriages, and the number of births, in the Peerage. This he has not done ;-but we have done it. And what is the result ?
It appears from the last edition of Debrett's Peerage, published in 1828, that there were at that time 287 peers of the United Kingdom, who had been married once or oftener. The whole number of marriages contracted by these 287 peers was 333. The number of children by these marriages was 1437,more than five to a peer,-more than 4.3 to a marriage,-more, that is to say, than the average number in those counties of England, in which, according to Mr Sadler's own statement, the fecundity is the greatest.
But this is not all. These marriages had not, in 1828, produced their full effect. Some of them had been very lately contracted. In a very large proportion of them there was every probability of additional issue. To allow for this probability, we may safely add one to the average which we have already obtained, and rate the fecundity of a noble marriage in England at 5.3 ;-higher than the fecundity which Mr Sadler assigns to the people of the United States. Even if we do not make this allowance, the average fecundity of the marriages of peers is higher by one-fifth than the average fecundity of marriages throughout the kingdom. And this is the sterile class ! This is the class which pature has interdicted from increasing !! The evidence to which Mr Sadler has himself appealed proves that his principle is false,-utterly false,-wildly and extravagantly false. It proves that a class, living during balf of every year in the most crowded population in the world, breeds faster than those who live in the country,—that the class which enjoys the greatest degree of luxury and ease, breeds faster than the class which undergoes labour and privation. To talk a little in Mr Sadler's style, we must own that we are ourselves surprised at the results which our examination of the peerage has brought out. We certainly should have thought that the babits of fashionable life, and long residence even in the most airy parts of so great a city as London, would have been more unfavourable to the fecundity of the higher orders than they appear to be.
Peerages, it is true, often become extinct. But it is quite clear from what we have stated, that this is not because pecresses are barren. There is no difficulty in discovering what the causes really are. In the first place, most of the titles of our nobles are limited to heirs male ; so that, though the average fecundity of a noble marriage is upwards of 5, yet, for the purpose of keeping up a peerage, it cannot be reckoned at much more than 23. Secondly, though the peers are, as Mr Sadler says, a marrying class, the younger sons of peers are decidedly not a marrying class; so that a peer, though he has at least as great a chance of having a son as his neighbours, has less chance than they of having a collateral heir.
We have now disposed, we think, of Mr Sadler's principle of population. Our readers must, by this time, be pretty well satisfied as to his qualifications for setting up theories of bis own. We will, therefore, present them with a few instances of the skill and fairness which he shows wben he undertakes to pull down the theories of other men. The doctrine of Mr Malthus, that population, if not checked by want, by vice, by excessive mortality, or by the prudent self-denial of individuals, would increase in a geometric progression, is, in Mr Sadler's opinion, at once false and atrocious.
. It may at once be denied,' says he, that human increase proceeds geometrically; and for this simple but decisive reason, that the existence of a geometrical ratio of increase in the works • of nature, is neither true nor possible. It would Aing into utter . confusion all order, time, magnitude, and space.'
This is as curious a specimen of reasoning as any that has been offered to the world since the days when theories were founded on the principle that nature abhors a vacuum. We proceed a few pages farther, however ; and we then find that geo
metrie progression is unnatural only in those cases in which Mr Malthas conceives that it exists; and that in all cases in which Mr Maltbas denies the existence of a geometrie ratio, nature changes sides, and adopts that ratio as the rule of increase.
Mr Malibos holds that subsistence will increase only in an arithmetical ratio. “As far as nature has to do with the ques.
tion,' says Mr Sadler, 'men might, for instance, plant twice the "number of peas, and breed from a double number of the same "animals, with equal prospect of their multiplication. Now, if Mr Sadler thinks that, as far as nature is concerned, four sheep will double as fast as two, and eight as fast as four, how can he deny that the geometrical ratio of increase does exist in the works of nature? Or bas be a definition of his own for geometrical progression, as well as for inverse proportion ?
Mr Malthus, and those who agree with him, bave generally referred to the United States, as a country in wbich the human race increases in a geometrical ratio, and have fixed on twentyfive years as the term in which the population of that country doubles itself. Mr Sadler contends that it is physically impossible for a people to double in twenty-five years; nay, that thirty-five years is far too short a period,—that the Americans do not double by procreation in less than forty-seven years,and that the rapid increase of their numbers is produced by emigration from Europe.
Emigration has certainly bad some effect in increasing the population of the United States. But so great has the rate of That increase been, that after making full allowance for the effect of emigration, there will be a residue, attributable to procreation alone, amply sufficient to double the population in twenty-five years.
Mr Sadler states the results of the four censuses as follows:
• There were, of white inhabitants, in the whole of the United States in 1790, 3,093,111; in 1800, 4,309,656 ; in 1810, 5,862,093; and in 1820, 7,861,710. The increase, in the first term, being 39 per cent; that in the second, 36 per cent; and that in the third and last, 33 per cent. It is superfluous to say, that it is utterly impossible to deduce the geometric theory of human increase, whatever be the period of duplication, from such terms as these.'
Mr Sadler is a bad arithmetician. The increase in the last term is not, as he states it, 33 per cent, but more than 34 per cent. Now, an increase of 32 per cent in ten years, is more than sufficient to double the population in twenty-five years. And there is, we think, very strong reason to believe that the white population of the United States does increase by 32 per cent every ten years.
Our reason is this: There is in the United States a class of persons whose numbers are not increased by emigration, the negro slaves. During the interval which elapsed between the census of 1810 and the census of 1820, the change in their numbers must have been produced by procreation, and by procreation alone. Their situation, though much happier than that of the wretched beings who cultivate the sugar plantations of Trinidad and Demerara, cannot be supposed to be more favourable to health and fecundity than that of free labourers. In 1810, the slave trade had been but recently abolished, and there were in consequence many more male than female slaves,—a circum, stance, of course, very unfavourable to procreation. Slaves are perpetually passing into the class of freemen; but no freeman ever descends into servitude; so that the census will not exhibit the whole effect of the procreation which really takes place.
We find by the census of 1810, that the number of slaves in the Union was then 1,191,000. In 1820, they had increased to 1,538,000. That is to say, in ten years, they had increased 29 per cent-within three per cent of that rate of increase which would double their numbers in twenty-five years. We may, we think, fairly calculate, that if the female slaves had been as numerous as the males, and if no manumissions had taken place, the census of the slave population would have exhibited an increase of 32 per cent in ten years.
If we are right in fixing on 32 per cent as the rate at which the white population of America increases by procreation in ten years, it will follow, that, during the last ten years of the eighteenth century, nearly one-sixth of the increase was the effect of emigration ; from 1800 to 1810, about one-ninth; and from 1810 to 1820, about one-seventeenth. This is what we should have expected; for it is clear that, unless the number of emigrants be constantly increasing, it must, as compared with the resident population, be relatively decreasing. The number of persons added to the population of the United States by emigration, between 1810 and 1820, would be nearly 120,000. From the data furnished by Mr Sadler himself, we should be inclined to think that this would be a fair estimate.
· Dr Seybert says, that the passengers to ten of the principal ports of the United States, in the year 1817, amounted to 22,235; of whom 11,977 were from Great Britain and Ireland ; 4164 from Germany and Holland; 1245 from France; 58 from Italy; 2901 from the British possessions in North America ; 1569 from the West Indies ; and from all other countries, 321. These, however, we may conclude, with the editor of Styles's Register, were far short of the number that arrived.'
We have not the honour of knowing either Dr Seybert or the