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from her Trade-from the Numbers of her Shipping and Sailors — from the Magnitude of the Royal Navy - from her Revenue.--The Conclufion. There is no Cause for despairing of the Commonwealth.
G Ř E'A T "BR IT À İN.
General Observations upon the Causes, physical and
moral, which influence Population, in every Country.--The Populousness, Commerce, and Power, of England, prior to the Demise of Edward 111.-The Number of People, 1377.--Reflektions. F the existing numbers of mankind, in succellive ages
of the world, various writers have given diffimilar accounts, because they did not always acknowledge the same facts, nor often adopt the same principles, in their most ingenious disquisitions.
The Lord Chief Justice Hale* formerly, and Sit James Stuart t, and the Count de Buffon, lately
* In his Primitive Origination of Mankind Confed...d. + In his Political Oecoromy.
considered men, as urged, like other animals, by natural instincts; as directed, like them,, by the same motives of propagation; and as subsisted afterwards, or destroyed, by similar means.
It is instinct, then, which, according to those illustrious authors, is the cause of procreation; but it is food, that keeps population full, and accumulates numbers. The force of the first principle, we behold in the multitudes, whether of the fish of the sea, the fowls of the air, or the beasts of the field, which are yearly produced: we perceive, however, the essential consequence of the last, from the vast numbers, that annually perish for want,
Experience indeed evinces, to what an inmense extent domestic animals may be multiplied, by providing abundance of food. In the fame manner, mankind have been found to exist, and increase, in every condition, and in every age, according to the standard of their subfistence, and to the measure of their comforts.
Hence Mr. Hume juftly concludes *, that if we would bring to some determination the question concerning the populousness of ancient, and modern, times, it will be requisite to compare
the domestic and political situations of the two periods, in order to jucize of the facts by their moral causes; because, if every thing else be equal, it seems reasonable to expect, that where there are the wisest
. In his Essays, Vol. I. Effay xi. On the Populousness of Ancient Nations. 6
institutions, and the most happiness, there will also be the most people.
Let us run over the history of England, then, with a view to those reasonings and to this truth.
Settled probably about a thousand years before the birth of Christ, England was found, on the arrival of Cæfar, to contain a great multitude of people. But this obfervant author transmitted notices, with regard to the modes of life, which prevailed among those, whom he came to conquer, whence we may judge of their numbers, with greater certainty, than from the accuracy of his language, or the weight of his authority. And he submits to our judgment sufficient data, when he informs us, that the inhabitants of the inland country fubfifted by feeding of flocks, while their neighbours along the shores of the ocean were maintained by the more productive labours of agriculture.
Having already arrived, fome of the tribes in the second, and others of them in the third stage of fociety, in its progress to refinement, thé Britons were foon tàught the arts of manufacture, and the pursuits of commerce, by their civilizing con querors. A people who annually employed eight hundred vessels. to export the surplus produce of their husbandry, must have exerted great industry at home, and enjoyed sufficient plenty from it. Roman Britain, of consequence, must have become extremely populous, when compared with former times, during that long period, from the arrival of the Romans, 55 years before the birth of Chrift,
to the abdication of their government, in 446 of our æra *.
From this event; commenced a war of six hundred years continuance, if we calculate the settlement of the Saxons, the ravages of the Danes, and the conquest of the Normans. A course of hoftilities; thus lengthened beyond example, and wasteful above description, changed completely the political condition of the people, by involving them in ages of wretchedness. It was to those causes owing, that the inhabitants became divided, at the epoch of The Conquest; into five several claffes; the barons, the free tenants, the free foccagers, together with the villains, and the Naves, who formed the great body of the people t.
A consideration of the foregoing events, it probably was, with the wretched condition of every order of men, which induced the Lord Chief Justice Hale, and Mr. Gregory King, to agree in asserting I, “that the people of England, at the « arrival of the Normans, might be somewhat « above two million.” And the notices of that most instructive record, the Domesday Book, seem to justify the conjectures of both, by exhibiting fatisfactory proofs of a very scanty population, at
* Mr. Whitaker's most excellent History of Manchester, vol. i. which gives the best account of the British and Romana British period of our Annals.