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i ::C H A P: XI.

i !! : The Controverde on the Populousness of Britain

revived. The Parties. A Review of their Publications: -- An Examination of the Argument- from Reasoning-from Facts -- from · Experience

. --The augmented Populousness of Ireland.---The Increase of People in Scotland. The general Result as to England.

.t159, "HE contest, which had been carried on du

ring the,' war : 0f 17.561 between 1 Doctor Brackengidges and Doctor Forsterni with regard to the effects of our policy, both in war, and in peace, on population was revived, amidf our Colony contests, by Doctor Price, and his opponents. This last controversy furnishes much more instruça tion, with regard to a very interesting subject, than the former ; as the disputants took a wider range, and collected in their course, many, new facts. Doctor Price revived the dispute -by contributing an Appendix to Mr. Morgan's Effay, on Annuities wherein the Doctor attempted to proves by inges nibys remarks on births and burials, a gradual de. cline in the populousness of Great Britain. He was soon encountered by : Mr. Arthur Young, who justly inferred; from the progress of-improvements

in

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in agriculture, in manufactures, and in commerce, an augmentation, in the number of people. Mr. Eden published, in 1779, elegant criticisms * on Doctor Price; by which he endeavoured to invalidate the argument, that had been drawn from a comparison of the number of houses, at the Revolution, and at present; inGfting that the first must have been less, and the last much greater, than the text had allowed. In his reply, the Doctor shewed some mistakes in his antagonist, without adding much to the force of his argument. Yet; if we may credit his coadjutor, who entered zealously into all his prejudices, be considered bis System as more firmly established than ever f.

This long-continued controversy now found other supporters. Mt. Wales publifhed his Accurate Inquiry, in 1981. With confiderable fuccess he overthrows Doctor Price's fundamental argument; from the comparison of houses a different periods s. by Thewing, that the returnis of houses to the tax-office are not always precise; by proving from actual enumerations of feveral towns, at distant periods, that they had certainly increased; by evincing, from the augmented number of births, that there must be a greater number of breeders. This able performance was immediately followed by Mr. Howlet's still more extenfive examination of Doctor Price's effay, Mr.

i, lo
• In his Letters to Lord Carlisler i }
+ Uncertainty of Population, p. 9....

Howlet

cing there were, in 1690, six million and a half of

ere

Howlet expands the arguments of Mr. Wales ; M

he adds some illustrations; and, what is of still greater importance, in every inquiry, he establishes many additional facts.

The treatises of Meff. Wales and Howlet made De

a great impression on the public, as facts in opposiGube

tion to speculations, must ever make. At the moment, when their publications had gained-a confiderable share of popular belief, it was deemed

prudent, on the side of Doctor Price; to publishUncertainty of the present population. This writer frankly declares that he is convinced by neither party, and that he must consequently remain in a state of doubt and sceptical suspense. His apparent purpose is to Thew, in opposition to the popular belief, that after all our refearches, we really know nothing with any certainty, as to this important part of our poli. tical economy. In the sceptical arithmetic of this dubious compüter, 1,300,000, when multiplied by 5, produce 6,250,000. Doctor Price and his coadjutors seemed unwilling to admit, that if there were, in England and Wales, at Lady-day 1690; 1,300,000 inhabited houses, and five persons in each, there must necessarily have been, at the same time, 6,500,000 souls. For, they feared the charge of absurdity, in supposing a decrease of a million and a balf of people, during ninety years of augmented employments: And, they perceived, that by admit

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people, they would thereby be obliged to admit, that there had been an augmentation of a million

and

O 2

and a half

, during the foregoing century, notwithstanding the long civil wars, and the vast emigrations. The Doctor publithed, in 1783, Remarks on these tracts of Mell. Wales and Howlet *. And, with his usual acuteness, he detects some mistakes; but, with his accustomed pertinacity, he adheres to his former opinions.

The matter in dispute, we are told t, must be determined, not by 'vague declamation, or specuJative argument, but by well-authenticated facts : For, “ the grand argument of Dr. Price is at once extremely clear, and comprehended in a very narrow compass.” The following is the state of this grand argument : That there appeared by the Hearth-books, at Lady Day 1690, to be in England and

Houses. Wales

1,300,000; That there appeared by the Taxoffice books, in 1777, only

952,7345

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Whence, the Doctor, inferred, as a necessary confequence, that there had been a proportional diminution of people, since 1690.

Considering how important this subject is to the state, and how much it is connected with the genes ral purpose of this Estimate, I was led to examine, at once with, minuteness and with breyity, an argu

* In his Observations on Reverfionary Payments, in z vol. 8vo. ** † By Uncertainty of Population.

ment,

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3

ment, which has been oftentatiously displayed, as
equal in its inferences to the certainty of actual
enumerations.

In lieu of the obnoxious hearth-tax, the Parlia-
ment imposed, in 1696, a duty of two shillings on
every house; fix shillings on every house, contain-
ing ten windows, and fewer than twenty; and ten
shillings on every house having more than twenty
windows; those occupiers only excepted, who were
exempted from church and poor rates. And Gre-
góry King computed, with his usual precision, what
the tax would produce, before it had yielded a
penny*: Thus, says he, the number of inbabited

1,300,000;
whereof, under 10 windows 980,000;

under 20 windows 670,000;
above 20 windows 50,000.

1,300,000,

boufes is

Out of which deducting, for those receiving alms

330,000 houses at 2s. 4:33,000. for those not paying to church and poor 380,000 at 25.4d.

44,000. for omiffions, frauds, and defaulters

40,000

8,000."

at 45.

Insolvent
Solvent

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However many insolvent houses were thus deducted from the 1,300,000 inhabited houses, Gregory King allowed at laft too many solvent ones. This truth may be inferred from the following facts,

• Pol. Obferv. Brit. Mus. Harl. MSS. N° 1898.
O 3

There

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