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Thirdly. The growing distress among the lower orders of people, who are the majority of the nation, deserves to be parti cularly attended to on this subject. The increase of the poor rates proves this fact; and it seems to be universally acknowledged. A people at their ease will increase; but increasing difficulties in procuring the means of subsistence, producing a forced industry, and an aversion to marriage, must depopulate.
The increased produce of the taxes on candles, leather, &c. the inclosures of waste lands, and the improvements in agriculture which have taken place lately, have been urged in opposition to these facts. But I am afraid they only prove that luxury has increased consumption more than it has lessened the number of our people.
Upon the whole. I beg it may be remembered, that my opinion, in this instance, is by no means a clear and decided conviction. I may probably be influenced too much by a desire to maintain an assertion once delivered. -Some time or other, perhaps, the Legislature will think this a point worth its attention. Much light may be thrown upon it, and the state of our population kept constantly in view, by only ordering exact registers to be kept of the births, burials, and marriages in the kingdom. This is done in other kingdoms. It
has lately been done in France; and the result has been a discovery that the population of FRANCE exceeds all that had been conjectured concerning it. Should a like discovery be the consequence of carrying such an order into execution here, it will give the kingdom an encouragement which at present it greatly wants: and I shall rejoice in my own confutation.
m. See the Appendix to a Discourse on the Love of our Country, delivered by the Author on November 4th, 1789, to the Society for commemorating the Revolution in Great Britain. In this Appendix it is observed, that the medium of annual deaths, births, and marriages, in the kingdom of France, was
Of births for four years, to 1774
Of births, for six years, to 1780
If 834,865, the number of deaths it will appear that
to the rule in p. 189,
the whole number of inhabitants in that kingdom exceeds twenty-nine millions.
consequence of an Act of Parliament passed for that purpose in the year 1802, a survey was made of the population of the kingdom; when it appeared from the accounts delivered in by the different surveyors that the number of houses in England and Wales amounted to 1,633,399, the number of families to 1,896,723, and the number of inhabitants to 9,343,578-of whom 4,715,711 were males, and 4,627,867 were females.
These accounts, if they be correct, seem to contradict both observation and experience, not only in giving the proportion of inhabitants to a house much greater than they have been found in former enumerations, but more particularly in making the number of males to exceed that of the females;-a circumstance I believe seldom or ever known to
have taken place in any other part of the world. They exhibit also the curious phe nomenon of every five houses throughout the kingdom containing six families, while there are more than 57,000 houses, untenanted!Admitting, however, the accuracy of these statements, what a melancholy proof do they afford of the impoverished condition of the country? Out of one million and a half of houses, above 800,000 are excused on account of poverty from all taxation; and even of the remainder almost one half are so wretched as to be altogether exempted from the window-rates, and to be charged only with the payment of three shillings a year for the house-tax.
From a view of the manner in which this survey has been formed and conducted, it is hardly possible to imagine a measure so illfitted for obtaining any useful information. It appears to have been instituted for the mere purpose of determining a controversy; and even in this it has totally failed of its object. Whether the population of the country increases or diminishes;-in other words, whether the gloomy opinions of Dr. Price are better founded than the more sanguine assertions of his adversaries, is a point which must still remain the subject of future
According to the returns of the surveyors in 1777 (and they have varied very little since that time) the number of houses paying the window tax was only 395,781. discussion
discussion From these statements no accuráte judgment can be formed. They leave the question involved in the same uncertainty in which they found it, and are likely to serve no other end than that of continuing the Hispute among those who are more eager to maintain an hypothesis than to acquire a teal knowledge of the truth:
1. Had the number of births and burials been' given in each distriệt during the last three or four years Had a separate account been tarch for each year of all the children under the age of five years Had the rest of the male und female inhabitants been divided into distinct classes from the age of 5 to 10 years from the age of 10 to 15 years, and so on for every five years to the extremity of Rifende only would the actual state of the population have been obtained, but also such further information in political arithmetic as would have been highly important to this country. It is to be hoped, therefore, if another survey should ever take place (and I am sure the necessity of it is not lessened by the late costly attempt) that those who shall have the management of it will recollect, that in order to ascertain the real state of the population of the country, a more compli cated process is necessary than the mere enumeration of its inhabitants.