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same period of ten years : which gives pretty nearly the same increase of population, as stated in the returns. *
A variety of causes have co-operated to this progressive increase. No one will deny that the wealth of the country has very much increased; it is equally certain that this must have occasioned an increased demand for labour; this demand would as certainly raise the price of labour, as well as require additional hands to supply it. The change too in the manners and habits of the people has been favourable to an increasing population. The upper and middling classes of society are more abstemious, especially in the article of wine; and the tradesmen, mechanics, and lower orders, generally, in the use of spirituous liquors. The almost universal use which the article of tea has obtained, is, perhaps, one of the greatest blessings, both to the rich and poor, that was ever conferred on the nation, not even the potatoe root excepted: the habitual use of this beverage has contributed in no small degree to the health and comfort of every class of society; yet we have heard, that a supposed increase of the number of insane persons has been absurdly ascribed to the frequent use of tea. The visionaries, who eutertain such fancies, would do well, before they propagate them, to inquire whether madness is a prevailing disease among the Chinese, who may be said, “to eat their tea, drink their tea, and sleep on their tea.' The potatoe was, for a long time, held to be an unwholesome and poisonous root.+
A habit of cleanliness, which for some years has gained considerable ground in all ranks of society, and the almost universal use of vegetable clothing, either linen or cotton, next to the skin, to the exclusion of animal substances, as silks and woollens, have produced the most beneficial effects, in preserving health, and add
* For Ireland, the returns have not yet been received; but in 1812 a census was ordered to be taken of its population, which, there is reason to think, has increased in a more extraordinary degree than in Great Britain. In 1695, as appears from the rolls for collecting a poll-tax, its population amouuted to 1,034,000; but, allowing for the usual evasions, it was, unquestionably, much higher. Mr. Rickman, who collected and arranged the census taken in Great Britain, assumes that of Ireland, at the commencement of the last century, at 1,500,000, and that, in 111 years, it has reached 4,000,000; but Mr. Newenham extends it to a still greater number. Mr. Colquhoun, in his tables, takes the middle path, and sets it down at 4,500,000.
+ The labouring people of Scotland live chiefly on potatoes and oatmeal ; in the northern counties of England, these furnish the principal part of every meal; and it is well known, that nine-lenths of the population of Ireland subsist almost entirely upon them. The enormously increasing population of Ireland is an unequivocal proof of the wholesome and nutritive quality of this root. When I see,' says Arthur Young, 'the people of a country with well-formed vigorous bodies, and their cottages swarming with children—when I see their men athletic, and their womeu beautiful, I “know not how to believe them subsisting on unwholesome food.'
ing to length of days. * The improvements that have taken place in the treatment of diseases, and the perfection to which the surgical art has been brought, have considerably abridged the usual mortality; and the invaluable discovery of vaccination has annually saved thousands from an early grave, and would, no doubt, soon exte inate one of the most destructive iseases that afflict mankind, if prejudice and envy, or interested and other unworthy motives, did not shed their malignant influence, and keep alive the variolous infection,
Of the favourable operation of those changes in our habits which have contributed to the improvement of health, we have a proof in the
report on the population returns compiled by Mr. Rickman, in which it is stated, that the annual number of burials, as collected in pursuance of the population acts of 1801 and 1811, authorizes a satisfactory diminishing mortality in England since the year 1780. The result was as follows:
In 1780, one person in 40 died annually,
1790, one do. in 45 do.
1810, one do. in 49 or 50 do, The same good effects, by a regular system of management; and by timely precautions in preventing or destroying contagion by white-washing, fumigation, dry air, and cleanliness, have been experienced in those great national institutions where disease and mortality once most prevailed; namely, in prisons, in hospitals, and in the army and navy.
If the jail fever, as it is usually called, once so common and so fatal, should by chance now show itself, it is subdued immediately. The prison-ships and establishments on shore for prisoners of war, who are, of all others, most difficult to manage, were, nevertheless, kept in such clean, dry, and excellent order, that, though more than 70,000 prisoners were at one time in confinement, no contagious fever was known in any of them. A petition from certain prisoners at Dartmoor was sent to Mr. Whitbread, complaining, among other grievances, of the sick being neglected. A commission, composed of Lieutenant-General Stephens, Rear Admiral Martin, and Mr. Hawker, a justice of the peace of Plymouth, was in consequence deputed to inquire into the truth of the alleged grievances; the petition was disowned instantly by the body of the prisoners, amounting then to 8000; and the three who had
* Nothing but the most rigid cleanliness will prevent animal matter from creating cutaneous disorders, and, we believe, even worse complaints. The upper classes of Chinese, whose silken vests contiguous to the skin are seldom changed till worn out, are, almost
a man, either infected with the itch or the leprosy, or swarming with vermin; which, we believe too, Aannel is equally efficacious in promoting.
sent it were ashamed and repentali, and denied that they had any cause of complaint. “We observed,' says the report, ' in passing through the three first prisons, that the men had a very striking appearance of good health ; and, with the exception of the fourth, which contains the prisoners who call themselves Romans,* their health is universally good.' Previously to this complaint, a person, who has since fled from justice, attempted to raise a clamour against the prison, by representing it as a scene of wretchedness and mortality. In consequence of this, it was visited by a member of the Transport Board in 1811. The number of prisoners then in confinement amounted to 6572, of whom 36 only were in the hospital, and one had died in the course of the week; an example of health not to be found, perhaps, in an equal popułation, either in this or any other country.
It is well known, that in Greenwich and Chelsea Hospitals, into which are admitted only worn-out, disabled, and helpless seamen and soldiers, there are to be found more instances of longevity than in any other bodies of men whatever.
That part of the army which has been serving abroad has suffered much from battle and disease; but, in the navy, the mortality has been incredibly small; and, as very erroneous ideas are entertained on this subject, our readers will be gratified to see the result of the official returns, which is as curious as it is satisfactory. Seamen and Marines.
Seamen and Marines. There were on board
Died of the ships On 1st Jan. 1811--138,581 disease, In1810--5,183 of war in 1st Jan. 1812--136,778 drowned, 1811-4,265
1st Jan. 1813–138,324 and killed 1812-4,211 of the
in battle. world,
Thus it appears that the average number of the crews of His Majesty's ships, taken for three years, amounted to 137,894: and that the average deaths in the year by disease, accident, and battle, amounted to 4,554, being one in 30,927, or little more than one
* These persons, to the aniount of some hundreds, exhibited a striking and detestable scene of depravity. These wretches, who were headed by a person calling himself General of the Romans,' are thus described :- Regardless of every principle of religion, they absolutely forfeit all claim to be considered as human beings, by the practice of the most detestable and abuininable vices ; they go nearly naked, some of them quite so, from gambling away their clothes. Some liave been starved to death by gambling away their provisions, a practice which has been discovered to extend even to their provisions for months to come; and the countenances of many whom we saw denoted a degree of wretchedness that exceeds all description. It appears, that the experiment of placing armed soldiers over them, to compel them to eat their food, was resorted to, but this was soon found to be unsafe, with a people as ferocious as they were infamous.
man in 304.* The returns do not distinguish those who died from accident and from disease, but there are good grounds for stating the latter at not more than one in 60.
Compare these, and many other benefits which the present generation enjoys, with the havoc formerly made by plague, pestilence, and famine,' by infectious fevers, the nature of which was but ill understood, by leprosy, scurvy, and small-pox, and we shall no longer be surprised at the rapidly progressive increase of the population of the Britsh islands. The rate at which this increase took place, prior to 1801, cannot be ascertained with any degree of accuracy; but from all the data that could be collected from the number of births, marriages, and burials, it has been calculated, that from 1700 to 1811, being a period of 111 years, the population of Great Britain has nearly doubled itself; and that, in the same period, the population of Ireland has increased more than 160 per cent.
On the accuracy of the population of the different dependencies in Europe, and the foreign colonies, (amounting, by Mr. Colquhoun's account, to fifty-three in number,) exclusive of the territorial possessions under the management of the East-India Company, it will be obvious that no reliance can be placed. There are no official returns, and the documents afforded by those who have incidentally written on the colonies cannot be considered as authentic. The following, however, is a summary view of the details, exhibited in the copious table annexed to this chapter :
of Great Britain
16,456,303 British subjects in
the different de-
180,300 Ditto, in the British
* These returns are worthy the attention of Mr. Morgan, the intelligent actuary of the · Equitable Assurance Office for Lives.' He will perceive from them, that it is not equitable to make the officers of the Navy, who may be desirous of providing for their families, pay premiuins so disproportionate to the actual risk; the less so, as the additional per centage for military and seu risk is raised on the premium, whether it be 2 per cent. or 6 per cent., though these extra risks of a man of 60 and a man of 20 must be precisely the same.
British subjects in
the West India Co
lonies Ditto, in the con
ditto Ditto, in the British
settlements in Af
rica Ditto, in colonies,
ny's territorial pos
sessions British navy, army,
marines, and naval seamen in registered vessels, including foreign corps in the Bri, tish service
Total amount of the
population of the British empire 18,001,796 42,008,291 1,147,346 61,157,433
Although' population is the source from which all wealth and power must be derived, it does not therefore necessarily follow that all populous countries should be wealthy or powerful : this consequence must depend much on local circumstances, and still more on the nature of the government and the genius and habits of the people. France is a populous and a powerful nation, but not wealthy. Holland and Hamburgh, Venice, Genoa, and some of the smaller states, were once populous and wealthy, without being powerful; and India and China swarm with population, without being either rich or powerful. Great Britain, throughout the long and arduous struggle in which she has been engaged, has exhibited to the world the singular example of uniting within herself the three attributes of wealth, power, and population, acting reciprocally on one another, and mutually tending to aggrandizement. It is here that the desire of acquiring property receives an additional impulse from a conviction of the perfect security which the laws afford to it when acquired—it is here that capital is thrown into active circulation by a perfect confidence in the faith