Images de page

heads from her day to ours; and thus to count up the old maids of a single coterie might be considered an unworthy matter for investigation; but when these valuable females may be reckoned by myriads, the precise amount is the just subject for minute analysis and urgent-even impatient-inquiry. We have already been shown them as vestals heading the vast imaginary procession of 20,000,000. The Report computes that the surplus ladies of Great Britain would fill the Crystal Palace five times over. Pursuing this idea, Mr. Cheshire anxiously looks forward to the publication of the second part of the Census, when it shall be known definitely how many of these were spinsters.' For us, we accept the fact as a confirmation of our long-esta blished conviction, that the world could not do without a class it has so flippantly undervalued, and that a body of single women of mature age is indispensable to the well-being of society.

It will have been seen, that the annual rate of increase in the population has varied in each decennial period; the greatest rate of increase having been between the years 1811 and 1821, when there was little emigration, and the mortality in England was lower than it has ever been before or since, down to the two last decennaries (1841-1851), when the public health has suffered from epidemics and influenza, cholera, and other diseases; while emigration from the United Kingdom has proceeded at an accelerated rate, from 274,000 in 1821-31, to 718,000 in 1831-41, and 1,693,000 in 1841-51.-Report, p. xxx.

The Report leaves this part of the subject with an interesting inquiry, containing a moral for us all, into the number of survivors from previous censuses, going on to show us our own chances of living through future similar computations.

'Before quitting this subject, it may be interesting, and will in some cases be useful, to give an approximative estimate of the numbers surviving in 1851 out of the population enumerated at the previous censuses, By the English Life Table it is shown that the half of a generation of men of all ages passes away in thirty years, and that more than three in every four of their number die in half a century. The English population, owing to its rapid increase, contains an excessive number of children and young people, and will live longer than a generation normally constituted. The subjoined numbers are on this account probably less than the survivors of the living in previous censuses; but taking emigration and all other movements of the population into account, it is not likely that of the 21,121,967 in Great Britain in 1851, more than 2,542,289 were in the country in 1801; or much more than half the number (10,729,607) in 1831; seven persons in eight of the living have entered the kingdom within fifty years, one in two within twenty years.'

At the present rates of mortality, a few of the present generation (21,121,967) will live a century, and survive the year 1951; and, if the population were normally constituted in respect to age, about 4,918,568 would live fifty years (to A.D. 1901), and 10,433,762 would live thirty years. The probable number of survivors can be given more exactly when the ages of the living are abstracted.'-Census Report, p. xxx.

[blocks in formation]

The rate at which the population of Great Britain increased from 1801 to 1851, is such, that if it continue to prevail uniformly, the population will double itself every fifty-two years.

We now pass on to what is called the Law of Population,' by which term we may understand the various elements which affect the increase of population.

"The numbers, and consequently the increase or decrease, of people in a civilized country, depend upon the age of marriage and the age of the parents when their children are born-the numbers who marry, the fertility of the marriages-the duration of life-the activity of the migration flowing into or out of the country. These acts more or less influence each other, and in the present state of statistical observation, the precise effect of a change in any one of them involving others cannot be determined. It will be sufficient to indicate the effect of a change in each element, while the others remain constant.'-Ibid. p. xxxi.

[ocr errors]

If the duration of life, or mean lifetime, increases, then the population necessarily increases with it. Thus, if the mean lifetime of a population is thirty years, then if the births are 100,000 a-year, and remain uniform, the population will be thirty times 100,000, or 3,000,000. But if, the births remaining the same, the lifetime be gradually extended to forty years, then the population will become 4,000,000; or if the lifetime extend to fifty years, then the population, from the extension of life alone, will rise from three to five millions.' The deaths upon this hypothesis will be equal to the births, and the same in number when the population is five, as when it is four or three millions. It is probable that the mean lifetime has increased under certain favourable circumstances.

The next element of the 'law' we have spoken of, is the age of parents when children are born; and early marriages must necessarily vastly increase population, by shortening the interval between generations, so long as the evils incident to imprudent marriages do not occur to cut off the new


In ordinary times, a large proportion of the marriageable women of every country are unmarried, and the most direct action on the population is produced by their entering the married state. Thus in the South Eastern Division, comprising Surrey, Kent, Sussex, Hants, and Berks, the number of women of the age of 20 and under the age of 45, amounted, at the last census, to 290,209; of whom 169,806 were wives, and 120,403 were spinsters or widows. 49,997 births were registered in the same counties during the year 1850, or 10 children were born in 1850 to every 58 women living in 1801. Of the children, 46,705 were born in wedlock, 3,292 were born out of wedlock; consequently, 36 wives bore in the year ten children, and of 366 unmarried women of the same age (20-45) ten also gave birth to children (see Table VIII. p. xxxii.) A change in the matrimonial condition of a large proportion of the 120,403 unmarried women, out of 290,209 women at the child-bearing age, would have an immediate effect on the numbers of the population; and, if continued, by increasing the

rate of birth to the living through successive generations, would operate on population like a rise in the rate of interest on the increase of capital.'— Ibid. p. xxxi.

The effects of migration upon population are evident enough, The immigration of Irish, a stream now flowing mainly in another direction, has greatly contributed to swell our numbers. Our own emigration to foreign shores has immensely increased their population, of which the United States form a leading example. Since 1821, 2,685,747 persons emigrated from us, who, if simply added to our population, make the survivors and descendants of the races within the British isles in 1821, now 30,410,595.

Finally, the numbers of the population are increased by an abundance of the necessaries of life; and reduced by famines, epidemics, and public calamities, affecting the food, industry, and life of the nation. The pestilences of the middle ages-the famine, the influenza, and the cholera of modern times-are examples of one class of these agencies; the security and freedom which England has latterly enjoyed, are examples of the beneficent effect of another class of influences, not only on the happiness of the people, but also on the numbers which the country can sustain at home, and can send abroad to cultivate, possess, and inherit other lands.

All these causes, affecting the increase of the population of Great Britain, and the precise extent to which each operates, will ultimately be known by means of a continuous series of such observations as have been commenced at this census.'-Ibid. p. xxxii.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

From considering the nation as individuals, the Report next proceeds to regard it as aggregations of individuals in communities; in other words, families.' And here it becomes necessary to define what the term 'family' really means,-a most comfortable word for loose common use, but perplexing to the constructors of acts of parliament, and it is explained to be the social unit of which parishes, towns, counties, and the nation are composed. In its essential sense, a family,' though most complete as composed of husband, as householder, wife, children, servants, visitors, &c., may shrink into a single woman occupying a small cottage. Mr. Rickman, a great authority in these matters, dwells on the difficulty of determining the relation of lodgers under the roof of householders, and says that the enumerators of past censuses were instructed 'that those who use the same kitchen and board together are to be treated as one family.' But the niceties of this question even the Report itself cannot absolutely decide upon; and the Census of 1851 preferred to use the word occupier or occupiers, which stands for the term families in the previous censuses. In 1801, the number of families in Great Britain was 2,260,802; in 1851 it was 4,312,388. It is so much in the order of nature that a family should live in a separate house, that house and family are synonymous in some languages, though nowhere

might it seem so much so as in England, where the distribution of families in separate houses is most universal.' The Report quotes a passage from Dr. Carus, a German writer on England, in commendation of this custom.

"I cannot take leave of the subject without a remark on English dwelling-houses, which stand in close connexion with that long-cherished principle of separation and retirement, lying at the very foundation of the national character. It appears to me to be this principle which has given to the people that fixity of national character, and strict adherence to the historical usages of their country, by which they are so much distinguished; and up to the present moment, the Englishman still perseveres in striving after a certain individuality and personal independence, a certain separation of himself from others, which constitutes the foundation of his freedom. This, too, was completely an ancient German tendency, which led our remote ancestors to prefer the rudest and most inconvenient, but isolated homesteads, to the more convenient and refined method of life in aggregation; it is this that gives the Englishman that proud feeling of personal independence, which is stereotyped in the phrase, Every man's house is his castle. This is a feeling which cannot be entertained, and an expression which cannot be used in Germany or France, where ten or fifteen families often live together in the same large house.

"The expression, however, receives a true value, when, by the mere closing of the house-door, the family is able, to a certain extent, to cut itself off from all communication with the outward world, even in the midst of great cities. In English towns or villages, therefore, one always meets either with small detached houses, merely suited to one family, or apparently large buildings extending to the length of half a street, sometimes adorned like palaces on the exterior, but separated by partition walls internally, and thus divided into a great number of small high houses, for the most part three windows broad, within which, and on the various stories, the rooms are divided according to the wants or convenience of the family; in short, therefore, it may be properly said, that the English divide their edifices perpendicularly into houses-whilst we Germans divide them horizontally into floors. In England, every man is master of his hall, stairs, and chambers-whilst we are obliged to use the two first in common with others, and are scarcely able to secure ourselves the privacy of our own chamber, if we are not fortunate enough to be able to obtain a secure and convenient house for ourselves alone."-Ibid. pp. xxxv. xxxvi.

1 In London, at the present time, there is a bold attempt to innovate in this particular. Let any of our readers, who have not yet seen the change in that once uninviting locality, make his way to Victoria Street, Westminster, and admire the vast and imposing range of buildings, in various stages of progress and completion, which occupy one side of the wide thoroughfare. These are designed to supply what 'The Builder' calls a long-felt desideratum-complete residences in flats, after the Parisian plan. Each house consists of six shops, on each side of and entirely distinct from a handsome door-way, and wide stone staircase, which leads to eight suites of apartments, occupying four stories, and each containing every requisite for a family dwelling. The highest of these family residences must be reached by more than a hundred steps-recalling the weary ascent so many of us have trod, after a day's travelling or sight-seeing, up to the quatrième of some huge foreign hotel. All of them, even the most attainable, seem incapable of the ideas of house and home, however useful for temporary habitation, and convenient in many of their arrangements. As a system, we could not see nch buildings spread without regret; but in a vast city like London, expedients all sorts may be allowable, or even necessary, to bring the overgrown popution within convenient reach of their daily occupations.

On which the Report enlarges with proper national feeling on our superiority on this point to the nations of the Con


The possession of an entire house is, it is true, strongly desired by every Englishman; for it throws a sharp, well-defined circle round his family and hearth-the shrine of his sorrows, joys, and meditations. This feeling, as it is natural, is universal, but it is stronger in England than it is on the Continent; for although, there, the great bulk of the population in the country is in separate dwellings, while in many English towns several families are in the same house, the crowding, to which Dr. Carus refers, of the middle and higher classes, who sleep in flats, stratum over stratum, is carried to an inconceivably greater excess in the capitals, and the other cities of the Continent, than it is in England. The department of the Seine, for instance, in 1835-6, contained 50,467 houses, and 1,106,891 persons, or 22 persons to a house; so that there must be four or five families in Paris to a house; whilst London, in 1851, contained 2,362,236 persons, 533,580 occupiers, in 305,933 houses; and consequently nearly eight persons to one house; or, more exactly, 77 persons, forming 17 families, to 10 houses. It will be shown that, in a certain number of English towns, 15, 20, and 24 families are in 10 houses, on an average; but these cases are exceptional, and the general rule is, that each family in England has a house.

The towns and cities of the two northern English counties and of Scotland, however, are built in the continental style; and the families of the middle classes, as well as of the poor, live in large flats, which constitute separate tenements within the same party-walls.'—Ibid. p. xxxvi.

The following calculations on the average number of persons to a family, persons to a house, and families to a house, as seen in Scotland, are curious:

'Where a house is occupied by a family, the head of the family is a householder; but as this term is scarcely applicable to the holders of apartments, it has given place to occupier in some recent Acts of Parliament. That family and occupier have, however, been used in nearly the same sense, at the enumerations of the population, is evident, on comparing the number of families in 1801-31, and the occupiers of 1851, with the population. Thus it is seen, in Great Britain, that the average number of persons to a family in the Censuses 1801-31, was 4.6; 4.7; 4.8; and 4.8: while the number of persons to an occupier in 1851 was 4.8. There is a slight irregularity in 1831, but as a general rule, the proportion of persons to a family has gradually increased since 1801, as is apparent in the annexed Table (XIII). The average numbers in a family in England and Wales were, 4.7; 4.7; 4.8; 4.8; in 1801-31, and 4.8 in 1851.

The average number of persons to a house in Great Britain, at each census, from 1801 to 1831, was 5.6; 5.7; 5.8; 5.7; and in 1851, the proportion was the same (5.7) as in 1831. The number of persons to a house in England and Wales was less in 1841 and 1851, than in the previous censuses. In Scotland, the number of persons to a family has steadily increased, from 4.4 in 1801, to 4.8 in 1851; the difference in 1851 between the numbers to a family, in England and Scotland, is inconsiderable. The average number of persons to a house has also increased in Scotland, from 5.5 to 7.8; and while the number of persons to a house in Scotland in 1801 was less than in England, it was in 1851-perhaps from an increase in the number of large houses-considerably more.-See Tables XIII. and XIV.'-Ibid. p. xxxvi.

« PrécédentContinuer »