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the majority of them in the present, have been of opinion, that, to enumerate the ple, was the only step necessary to be taken, in order to ascertain the degree in which a country was flourishing. Two-and-twenty years ago, in my "Tour through the North of England, 1769," I entered my caveat against such a doctrine, and presumed to assert, "that no nation is rich or powerful by means of mere numbers of people; it is the industrious alone that constitute a kingdom's strength;" that assertion I repeated in my "Political Arithmetic, 1774;" and in the second part, 1779, under other combinations. About the same time a genius of a superior cast (Sir James Stuart) very much exceeded my weak efforts, and, with a masterly hand, explained the principles of population. Long since that period, other writers have arisen who have viewed the subject in its right light; and of these none have equalled Mons. Herenschwandt, who, in his "Economie Politique Moderne, 1786;" and his "Discours sur la Division des Terres,* 1788," has almost exhausted the subject. I shall not, however, omit to name the report of the committee of Mendicite in the national assembly. The following passage does the highest honour to their political discernment: "C'est ainsi que malgre les assertions, sans cesse repetees depuis vingt ans, de tous les ecrivains politiques qui placent la prosperite d'un empire dans sa plus grande population, une population excessive sans un grand travail & sans des productions abondantes, seroit au contraire une devorante surcharge pour un etat; car, il faudroit alors que cette excessive population partageat les benefices de celle qui, sans elle, eut trouve une subsistence suffisante; il faudroit que la meme somme de travail fut abandonnee a une plus grande quantite de bras; il faudroit enfin necessairement que le prix de ce travail baissat par la plus grande concurrence des travailleurs, d'on resulteroit une indigence complette pour ceux qui ne trouveroient pas de travail, & une subsistence incomplette pour ceux-memes aux quels il ne seroit pas refuse."+ France itself affords an irrefragable proof of the truth of these sentiments; for I am clearly of opinion, from the observations I made in every province of the kingdom, that her population is so much beyond the proportion of her industry and labour, that she would be much more powerful, and infinitely more flourishing, if she had five or six millions less of inhabitants. From her too great population, she presents, in every quarter, such spectacles of wretchedness, as are absolutely inconsistent with that degree of national felicity, which she was capable of attaining even under her old government. A traveller much less attentive than I was to objects of this kind, must see at every turn most unequivocal signs of distress. That these should exist, no one can wonder who considers the price of labour, and of provisions, and the misery into which a small rise in the price of wheat throws the lower classes; a misery that is sure to increase itself by the alarm it excites, lest subsistence should be wanted. The causes of this great population were certainly not to be found in the benignity of the old government yielding a due protection to the lower classes, for, on the contrary, it abandoned them to the mercy of the privileged orders. It is fair, how. ever, to observe, that there was nothing in the principles of the old government, so directinimical to population, as to prevent its increase. Many croaking writers in France have repeatedly announced the depopulation of that kingdom, with pretty much the same truth and ingenuity that have been exercised on the same subject in England. Mons. Necker, in a very sensible passage, gives a decisive answer to them, which is at the same time thoroughly applicable to the state of England, as well as to that of France. Nor can the great population of France be attributed to the climate, for the tables of births

* See particularly, p. 48, 51, &c.

+ Plan de Travail du Comite pour l'extinction de la Mendicite presente par M. de Liancourt, octavo, p. 6, 1790. De l'Administ. des Finances. Ouvres, quarto, Londres, p. 320.

and burials offer nothing more favourable in that kingdom, than in our own. And a much worse climate in Holland and Flanders, and in some parts of Germany and Italy, is attended with a still greater populousness.* Nor is it to be imputed to an extraordinary prosperity of manufactures, for our own are much more considerable, in proportion to the number of people in the two countries.

This great populousness of France I attribute very much to the division of the lands into small properties, which takes place in that country to a degree of which we have in England but little conception. Whatever promises the appearance even of subsistence, induces men to marry. The inheritance of ten or twelve acres to be divided amongst the children of the proprietor, will be looked to with the views of a permanent settlement, and either occasions a marriage, the infants of which die young for want of sufficient nourishment; † or keeps children at home, distressing their relations, long after the time that they should have emigrated to towns. In districts that contain immense quantities of waste land of a certain degree of fertility, as in the roots of the Pyrenees, belonging to communities ready to sell them, economy and industry, animated with the views of settling and marrying, flourish greatly; in such neighbourhoods something like an American increase takes place; and, if the land be cheap, little distress is found. But as procreation goes on rapidly, under such circumstances, the least check to subsistence is attended with great misery; as wastes becoming dearer, or the best portions being sold, or difficulties arising in the acquisition; all which cases I met with in those mountains. The moment any impediment happens, the distress of such people will be proportioned to the activity and vigour which had animated population. It is obvious, that in the cases here referred to, no distress occurs, if the manufactures and commerce of the district are so flourishing as to demand all this superfluity of rural population as fast as it arises; for that is precisely the balance of employments which prevails in a well regulated society; the country breeding people to supply the demand and consumption of towns and manufactures. Population will, in every state, increase perhaps too fast for this demand. England is in this respect, from the unrivalled prosperity of her manufactures, in a better situation than any other country in Europe; but even in England population is sometimes too active, as we see clearly by the dangerous increase of poor's rates in country villages; and her manufactures being employed very much for supplying foreign consumption, they are often exposed to bad times; to a slack demand, which turns thousands out of employment, and sends them to their parishes for support. Since the conclusion of the American war, however, nothing of this kind has happened; and the seven years which have elapsed since that period, may be named as the most decisively prosperous which England ever knew. It has been said to me in France, would you leave uncultivated lands waste, rather than let them be cultivated in small portions, through a fear of population? I certainly would not: I would on the contrary, encourage their culture; but I would prohibit the division of small farms, which is as mischievous to cultivation, as it is sure to be distressing to the people. The indiscriminate praise of a great sub-division, which has found its way unhappily into the national assembly, must have arisen from a want of examination into facts: go to districts where the properties are minutely divided, and you will find (at least I have done it universally) great distress, and even misery, and probably very bad agriculture. Go to others, where such sub-division

* A very ingenious Italian writer states the people of France at 1290 souls per league; and in Italy at 1335. Fabbroni Reflexions sur l'Agric. p. 243.

† Mons. Necker, in the same section as that quoted above, remarks this to be the case in France; and justly observes, that the population of such a country being composed of too great a proportion of infants, a million of people implies neither the force nor labour of a million in countries otherwise constituted.

or cattle.

has not taken place, and you will find a better cultivation, and infinitely less misery; and if you would see a district, with as little distress in it as is consistent with the political system of the old government of France, you must assuredly go where there are no little properties at all. You must visit the great farms in Beauce, Picardy, part of Normandy, and Artois, and there you will find no more population than what is regularly employed and regularly paid; and if in such districts you should, contrary to this rule, meet with much distress, it is twenty to one but that it is in a parish which has some commons that tempt the poor to have cattle, to have property, and, in consequence, misery. When you are engaged in this political tour, finish it by seeing England, and I will shew you a set of peasants well clothed, well nourished, tolerably drunken from superfluity, well lodged, and at their ease; and yet amongst them, not one in a thousand has either land When you have viewed all this, go back to your tribune, and preach, if you please, in favour of a minute division of landed property. There are two other gross errors, in relation to this subject, that should be mentioned; these are, the encouragements that are sometimes given to marriage, and the idea of the importance of attracting foreigners. Neither of these is at all admissible on just principles, in such a country as France. The predominant evil of the kingdom, is the having so great a population, that she can neither employ nor feed it; why then encourage marriage? would you breed more people, because you have more already than you know what to do with? You have so great a competition for food, that your people are starving or in misery; and you would encourage the production of more to encourage that competition. It may almost be questioned, whether the contrary policy ought not to be embraced? whether difficulties should not be laid on the marriage of those who cannot make it appear that they have a prospect of maintaining the children that shall be the fruit of it? But why encourage marriages which are sure to take place in all situations in which they ought to take place? There is no instance to be found of plenty of regular employment being first established, where marriages have not followed in a proportionate degree. The policy, therefore, at best is useless, and may be pernicious. Nor is the attraction of foreigners desirable in such a kingdom as France. It does not seem reasonable to have a peasantry half starved for want of employment, arising from a too great populousness; and yet, at the same time, to import foreigners, to increase the competition for employment and bread, which are insufficient for the present population of the kingdom. This must be the effect, if the new comers be industrious; if they belong to the higher classes, their emigration from home must be very insignificant and by no means an object of true policy; they must leave their own country, not in consequence of encouragement given in another, but from some strokes of ill policy at home. Such instances are indeed out of the common course of events, like the persecutions of a duke d'Alva, or the revocation of the edict of Nantes. It is the duty of every country, to open its arms, through mere humanity, to receive such fugitives; and the advantages derived from receiving them may be very considerable, as was the case with England. But this is not the kind of emigrations to which I would allude, but rather to the establishment of such colonies as the king of Spain's, in the Sierre Morena. German beggars were imported, at an immense expence, and supplied with every thing necessary to establish little farms in those deserts; whilst at the same time, every town in Spain swarmed with multitudes of idle and poor vagrants, who owed their support to bishops and convents. Suppress gradually this blind and indiscriminate charity, the parent of infinite abuse and misery, and at the same time give similar employments to your own poor; by means of this policy, you will want no foreigners; and you may settle ten Spanish families for the expence of one German. It is very common to hear of the want of population in Spain, and some other countries; but such ideas are usually the result of ignorance, since all ill govern

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ed countries are commonly too populous. Spain, from the happiness of its climate, is greatly so, notwithstanding the apparent scarcity of inhabitants; for, as it has been shewn above, that country which has more people than it can maintain by industry, who must either starve, or remain a dead weight on the charity of others, is manifestly too populous;* and Spain is perhaps the best peopled country in Europe, in proportion to its industry. When the great evil is having more people than there is wisdom, in the political institutes of a country to govern, the remedy is not by attracting foreigners, it lies much nearer home.


Twenty Years Consumption at Paris, of Oxen, Calves, Sheep, and Hogs, as
entered in the Books of the Entrees.

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78, 73,606 107,292 328,868 36,204
79,73,468 99,952 324,028 38,211
80,71,488 104,825 308,043 41,419
81,70,484 99,533 317,681 41,405
82, 72,107 100,706 316,763 44,772
83,71,042 98,478 321,627 39,177
84, 72,984 100,112 327,034 39,621
85,73,846 94,727 322,628 28,697
86,73,088 89,575|328,699 39,577

68, 69,985 112,949 344,320 32,299||
69, 66,586 111,608 333,916|36,186|
70, 66,818 110,578 335,013|36,712||
71,65,360 107,598 314,124|30,753|
72, 63,390 101,791 293,946 28,610||
73, 65,324 99,749 309,137 29,391|
74, 68,025 103,247 309,573 30,032
75, 68,306 109,235|309,662|32,722|
76,71,208 102,291 328,505 37,740||
Average.....Oxen, 69,883. Calves, 103,271. Sheep, 323,762. Hogs, 36,332.

These are the quantities for which duties are paid; but it is calculated by the officers of
the customs, that what enters contraband, and for which nothing is paid, amounts to
one-sixth of the whole.t

The consumption of flour is 1500 sacks per diem, each weighing 320lb. requiring nine septiers of corn to yield four of those sacks, or 3375 septiers per diem. This is, per annum, 1,231,875 septiers; the French political arithmeticians agree in calculating the consumption of their people per head, at three septiers for the whole kingdom on an average; but this will not lead us to the population of the capital, as the immense consumption of meat in it must evidently reduce considerably that proportion. It may probably be estimated at two septiers, which will make the population 615,937 souls. Mons. Necker's account of the population was 660,000. The enumeration in 1790 made the numbers no more than 550,800; and there are abundant reasons for believ ing the assertion, that this capital was diminished by the revolution in that proportion at least. This point is, however, ascertained by the consumption, which is now 1350 sacks a day, or reduced one-tenth, which, at two septiers of corn, implies a population of

* An Italian author, with whom I had the pleasure of conversing at Turin, justly observes, “Quanto la popolazione proporzionata ai prodotti della natura e dell'arte e vantaggiosa ad una nazione, altret tanto e nociva una popolazione soverchia." L'Abbate Vasco, Risposta al quesito proposto da lia Reale Accad. delle Scienze, &c. octavo, 1788. p. 85.

To some it may appear strange, how such a commodity as live oxen, can be smuggled in great quantities; but the means of doing it are numerous; one was discovered, and many more of the same sort are supposed to exist undiscovered: a subterraneous passage was pierced under the wall, going from a court-yard without the wall, to a butcher's yard within; and whole droves of oxen, &c. entered by it in the night for a long time, before it was known. The officers of the barriers are convinced, that on an average of commodities, one-sixth is smuggled.

554,344; and as this comes within 2000 of the actual enumeration, it proves that two septiers a head is an accurate estimate; and though it does not perfectly agree with Mons. Necker's account of the former population of Paris, yet it is much nearer to it than the calculations made to correct that account, by Dr. Price, and by the very able and ingenious political arithmetician, Mr. Howlet. As the late enumeration shews the population of Paris to have been (proportionably to the consumption of corn) 615,937 souls, when its births amounted to 20,550, this fact confirms the general calculation in France, that the births in a great city are to be multiplied by thirty; for the above mentioned number so multiplied, gives 616,500, which comes so near the truth, that the difference is not worth correcting. M. Necker's multiplier is confirmed clearly; and the event, which gives to France a population of 26,000,000, has proved, that Dr. Price, who calculated them at above 30,000,000, was as grossly mistaken in his exaggeration of French populousness, as Mr. Howlet has shewn him to be in his diminution of that of England. It seems indeed to have been the fate of that calculator to have been equally refuted upon almost every political question he handled; the mischief of inclosures; the depopulation of England; the populousness of France; and the denunciation of ruin he pronounced so authoritatively against a variety of annuitant societies, that have flourished almost in proportion to the distresses he assigned them. The consumption of wine at Paris, on an average of the last twenty years, has been from 230,000 to 260,000 muids per annum; average 245,000. In 1789 it sunk rather more than 50,000 muids, by smuggling during the confusion of that period. In 245,000 muids there are 70,560,000 Paris pints, or English quarts, which makes the daily consumption 193,315 quarts; and if to this, according to the computation of the commis of the barriers, one-sixth is to be added for smuggling, it makes 225,534, which is one-third of a quart, and one-tenth of that third per head per diem. The consumption of meat is very difficult to be calculated, because the weight of the beasts is not noted; I can guess at it only, and therefore the reader will pay no other attention to what follows than to a mere conjecture. I viewed many hundreds of the oxen, at different times, and estimate the average at sixty stone; but as there are doubtless many others smaller, let us calculate at 50, or 700lb. and let us drop smuggling in these cases, since though it may on the whole, be one-sixth yet it cannot be any thing like that in these commodities; the calves at 120lb. the sheep at 60lb. and the hogs at 100lb.

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This quantity divided amongst a poulation of 615,937, gives to each person 136lb. of meat for his annual consumption, or above one-third of a pound per diem. During the same twenty years, the consumption of London was on an average, per annum, 92,539 oxen, and 649,369 sheep.† These oxen probably weighed 840lb. each, and the sheep 100lb.; which two articles only, without calves or hogs, make 142,669,660;

Long since this was written, I received Mons. Lavoisier's Resultats d'un ouvrage, 1791, in which he gives a table of the Paris consumption; but I do not know on what authority, for the weight per head he makes the total of all meats 82,300,000lb.

+ Report of the Com. of the Court of Common Council, 1786, folio, p. 75.

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