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this information to Mr. Lawton, an ingenious gentleman in that town, who has preserved the Bills of Mortality there with much care, and been very obliging in communicating them to me.-It is much to be desired, that like accounts were kept in every town and parish. It would be extremely agreeable to learn from them the different rates of human mortality in different places, and the number of people and progress of population in the kingdom. The trouble of keeping them would be trifling; but the instruction derived from them, would be very important. I have already proposed one improvement of such accounts. I will add, that they would be still more useful, did they give the ages of the dead after 10, within periods of five instead of ten years. During every period so short as five years, the decrements of life may, in constructing Tables, be safely taken to be uniform. But this cannot be equally depended on, in periods so long as
There is yet another improvement of these accounts, which I shall take this opportunity to mention. They should contain not only a list of the distempers of which all die, like that in the London Bills; but they should specify particularly the numbers dying of these distempers, in the several divisions of life. Accurate registers of mortality kept in
d See Essay I. p. 53, 54.
this manner in all parts of the kingdom, and compared with records of the seasons, and of the weather, and with the particular circumstances which discriminate different situations, might contribute, more than can be easily imagined, to the increase of physical knowledge. But to proceed no farther in these Observations; I shall now beg leave to shut up this Essay with the following general
I have represented particularly the great difference between the duration of human life in towns and in country parishes; and from the facts I have recited it appears, that the further we go from the artificial and irregular modes of living in great towns the fewer of mankind die in the first stages of life, and the more in its last stages. The lower animals (except such as have been taken under human management) seem in general to enjoy the full period of existence
Calves are the only animals taken under our peculiar çare immediately after birth; and in consequence of then administering to them the same sort of physic that is given to infants, and treating them in other respects in the same manner; it is probable, that more of them die soon after being born, than of all the other species of animals, which we see in the same circumstances. See the Comparative View of the State and Faculties of Man with those of the Animal World, p. 23.-It is, indeed, melancholy to think of the havock made among the human species by the unnatural customs as well as the vices which prevail in polished societies. I have no doubt, but that the custom, In particular, of committing infants, as soon as born, to the care of foster-mothers, destroys more lives than the sword, famine, and pestilence put together.
allotted them, and to die chiefly of old age: And were any observations to be made among savages, perhaps the same would be found to be true of them.-DEATH is an evil to which the order of Providence has subjected every inhabitant of this earth; but to man it has been rendered unspeakably more an evil than it was designed to be. The greatest part of that black catalogue of diseases which ravage human life, is the offspring of the tenderness, the luxury, and the corruptions introduced by the vices and false refinements of civil society. That delicacy which is injured by every breath of air, and that rottenness of constitution which is the effect of indolence, intemperance, and debauchery, were never intended by the Author of Nature; and it is impossible, that they should not lay the foundation of numberless sufferings, and terminate in premature and miserable deaths.-Let us then value more the simplicity and innocence of a life agreeable to nature; and learn to consider nothing as savageness but malevolence, ignorance, and wickedness. The order of nature is wise
The ingenious and excellent writer quoted in the last note, observes, that the whole class of diseases which arise from catching cold, are found only among the civilized part of mankind, p. 51.-And, concerning that loss of all our higher powers which so often attends the decline of life, and which is so humiliating to human pride, he observes, that it exhibits a scene singular in nature, and that there is the greatest reason to believe, that it proceeds from adventitious causes, and would not take place among us if we led natural lives, p. 62.
and kind. In a conformity to it consist health and long life; grace, honour, virtue, and joy. But nature turned out of its way will always punish. The wicked shall not live out half their days. Criminal excesses embitter and cut short our present lives; and the highest authority has taught us to expect, that they will not only kill the body, but the soul; and deprive of ETERNAL
Additional Observations on the Duration of Human Life in different Situations; and on the Population of the Kingdom.
SINCE the first publication of this work, I have had the pleasure of reading an inge nious Memoir on the State of Population in the Pais de Vaud, a district of the province of Bern in Switzerland. The author of this memoir is Mr. Muret, the first minister at Vevey, a town in that district, and secretary to the Economical Society there. It forms the first part of the Bern Observations for the year 1766; and a good abstract of it may be found in the 69th article of a work entitled, De Re Rustica, or the Repository. It contains an account of many facts which appear to me curious and important; and
This supplement was an addition to this Treatise in the Second and Third Editions of it. I have in the present Edition added to it a Postscript, containing a review of the arguments for and against the increasing population of the kingdom.