Images de page

In England and Wales the number of families to a house has declined in the last fifty years from 120 families to 113 families in 100 houses; a fact which a very little thought must enable us to realize as a great improvement in the habits and condition of the people. A great deal of space is given in the Report to the variations in different districts of the rule of a family and a house. It is an important subject, as all must feel who are acquainted with the necessity, we may almost say, of a separate dwelling in ordinary cases for every labouring family,—and are aware of the dirt, discomfort, quarrels, dissensions, and even worse evils, which follow upon crowded lodging and too close contact. We will give Mr. Cheshire's condensation of the facts elicited by the census on this head:

The number of families to a house varied considerably in different counties, and it is difficult to account for all the anomalies which they present. In Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk, few houses contained more than one family. Plymouth and the adjacent districts had more than two families, together averaging ten persons, to a house. In Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, and Staffordshire, a large proportion of the people lived in separate houses, with the exception of Bristol, Clifton, Gloucester, Hereford, and Birmingham. In the counties of Leicester, Rutland, Lincoln, Nottingham, Derby, and Yorkshire, nearly all the families lived in separate houses, the city of York and Hull being scarcely exceptional cases to the rule. In Lancashire and Cheshire, more than 300,000 out of 472,907 families lived in separate houses. Liverpool, Bolton, Manchester, and Salford, were the chief places where two or more families in many cases occupied the same house. In the northern division of England, comprising Cumberland, Northumberland, Durham, and Westmoreland, the proportional number of families and persons to a house increased.

[ocr errors]

In Wales, the system of isolated dwellings generally prevailed, with some few exceptions.'-Cheshire, p. 23.

In spite of our little faith in the aptitude of the greater proportion of mankind to retain facts dependent upon numbers, it is necessary in this question to subject our readers to a considerable amount of this kind of detail. Out of these arrays of figures many curious and interesting facts may be deduced, but it is indispensable to learn the facts in the way the statisticians choose to give us them.

Thus from the following maze, as it may seem, of figures can be elicited an epitome of the changes and chances of our mortal life: we see in it the proportions in which the gifts of nature and fortune are dispensed, and how great are the external inequalities of our condition. We have glimpses of every shade of prosperity and privation, of labour and leisure, of solitude and society, of gratified affections and broken hopes, from the solitary hearth or the lonely barn, to the parental home crowded with children, friends and dependants. What innumerable changes and reverses, what extremes of social position,-what hopes

and fears, joys and sorrows, lie buried underneath the facts which form the groundwork of this classification!

In order to throw some light, by classification, on the constituent parts of families, the returns of the 14 subdistricts, before referred to, in different parts of the kingdom, have been analyzed; and the results are annexed in a tabular form (see Table XVII. p. xlii.). 41,916 heads of families were husbands-and-wives; 10,854 widowers or widows; 14,399 bachelors or spinsters; in 440 and a few more cases the head of the family was absent from home. 36,719 (more than half) of the heads of families had children living with them-they were parents; 7,375 (nearly 1-10th) had servantsthey were masters and mistresses; 4,070 (1-17th) had with them visitors— they were hosts; 8,543 had relatives with them; 1,020 (1-67th) had apprentices or assistants in their respective trades-they were masters. Of the 67,609 families, only 3,503 (5.2 per cent.) consisted of husband, wife, children, servants; whilst 4,874 consisted of man, wife, and servants, which Aristotle characterizes as the constituents of a family. The heads in 24,180 instances had neither children, relatives, visitors, servants, nor trade assistants; like some corporations they may be characterized as "sole." Thus of 41,916 married couples, 8,610 were "sole:" 29,969 had children residing with them, either alone or in other combinations; namely, 21,413 had children alone—that is, without servants, trade assistants, visitors, or relatives; 3,132 had children, and other relatives (alone); 2,269 had children and servants; 1,421 had children and visitors; 149 had children and trade assistants; 550 had children, relatives, and servants; 245 had children, relatives, and visitors; 360 had children, visitors, and servants; 33 had children, relatives, and trade assistants; 65 had children, visitors, trade assistants; 166 had children, servants, trade assistants; 69 had children, relatives, visitors, servants; 50 had children, relatives, servants, trade assistants; 34 had children, visitors, servants, trade assistants; 5 had children, relatives, visitors, trade assistants. Only 8 families consisted of husband and wife, children, relatives, visitors, servants, trade assistants. Of 41,916 natural families (comprising husband and wife) nearly 21 per cent. (1 in 5) consisted of the husband and wife sole, 71 per cent, of the husband and wife, with their children in various combinations; 8 per cent. of the husband and wife, with servants and others. Of 10,854 families, at the head of each of which was a widower or widow, 3,264 were heads sole, 6,405 had children in various combinations, 1,185 servants, and other connexions; the proportions of the three classes were 30, 59, and 11 per cent. respectively. Of 14,399 designated families having a bachelor or a spinster at their head, 12,306 were sole (lodgers generally); 238 had children residing with them, born out of wedlock, and 1,855 had servants, relatives, or visitors with them.

'The average number of members in a family depends to a considerable extent on the fact, whether (1) single lodgers are or are not taken as families; (2) on the number of children at home; and (3) on the number of servants. The number of children at home in families is seen (Table XVIII.) to vary considerably; the greatest number of children at home in one family was 12, in these subdistricts. Of the 41,916 families having man and wife at their head, 11,917 had no children at home; 8,570 had each one child at home; 7,376 had each two children at home; 5,611 had each three children at home; 14 had each 10 children; and 5 had each 11 children. The total number of children at home was 82,145; the number of their parents was 84,046; consequently the number of children to a family was on an average nearly 2 (or exactly 1.95.); and the average

number of persons to a natural family 4, (or 2 +1.95 3.95). 30,076 families had one or more children at home; or 2.73 children on an average to each family; and adding the two parents, 4.73 persons to each family. The natural family of the widower or widow was smaller; it was on an average composed of the widower or widow, and 1.28 children; 2.28 persons. If those cases only are taken in which one child, at the least, resides with the parent, the family will on an average amount to 3.17 persons. The total number of widowers and widows in the 14 subdistricts was 14,374; so that 3,520 are included in the combinations, such as relative, and are reckoned as subordinate constituents of other families; 10,854 being themselves occupiers of houses and heads of families.'

[blocks in formation]

Finally, there is the population sleeping in barns, in tents, and in the open air; comprising, with some honest, some unfortunate people out of employment or temporarily employed, gipsies, beggars, strollers, vagabonds, vagrants, outcasts, criminals. The enumeration of the houseless population, unsettled in families, is necessarily imperfect; and the actual number must exceed the 18,249 returned, namely, 9,972 in barns, and 8,277 in the open air.'-Ibid. pp. xli.-xliv.

A table of the public institutions in Great Britain will conclude this portion of the subject. It again furnishes in a short compass abundant matter for thought and reflection. The excess of female over male lunatics,-the excess of male over female prisoners, proving crime to be four times as prevalent among men as among women,--the remarkable equality of sexes in workhouses, are all points of great interest, though rather beside the immediate question.

'TABLE V.-Public Institutions in Great Britain in 1851.

[blocks in formation]

Of the 295,856 persons in the aggregate occupying these 2,017 institutions, 260,340 were inmates, and 35,516 officers and servants; consequently, there were about seven inmates to one officer or servant.'Cheshire, p. 24.

The constitution of families having been indicated, the Report proceeds to show the distribution of families in houses all over the country. The location of families is irregular, subject to modes of occupation, manner of life, the nature of

the soil, the configuration of the country, and the course of the rivers. But amidst these causes for difference two general laws are seen in universal operation, one leading to the equable diffusion of the population, the other to its condensation round centres. Thus we have the village, with its little group of houses, its green, its church, and its school, the centre of detached farms and cottages. These villages are arranged round other centres,-market-towns, where the men can assemble weekly, and return home in a day. By the same law, these centres at greater distances range round other centres, where the heads of the chief families can readily congregate at stated times: and, finally, the large towns stand in the same relation to the capital, which naturally finds its place in the centre of the kingdom, and is sufficient in itself, except when state or commercial emergencies bring it into communication with foreign cities. The present census brings out the remarkable fact, that the town and country population of Great Britain are equal-an unprecedented rate of distribution, which the commercial prosperity of the last fifty years has gradually tended to produce.

Great Britain has eight hundred and fifteen towns of various magnitudes, either market towns, county towns, or cities; five hundred and eighty in England and Wales, two hundred and twenty-five in Scotland, and ten in the Channel Islands. To 21 of the preceding "villages" there is on an average a town, which stands in the midst of 110 square miles of country, equivalent to a square of 10 miles to the side, a circle having a radius of nearly 6 miles; so that the population of the country around is, on an average, about 4 miles from the centre.

[ocr errors]

The population amounted to 10,556,288 in the 815 towns; which stand on 3,164 miles of area. An average town of 12,953 inhabitants, stands on an area of nearly 4 square miles; equivalent to a square of 2 miles to the side, a circle of 1th mile radius, and the population is less than three quarters of a mile from the centre.

The population in the rest of Great Britain was 10,403,189; consequently if, for the sake of distinction, the detached houses, the villages, and small towns without markets, are called-country; at the present time the town and country populations of Great Britain differ so little in numbers, that they may be considered equal; for by the abstracts 10,556,288 people live in the towns, and 10,403,189 in the country. In the towns there were 5.2 persons to an acre, in the country 5.3 acres to a person. The density in the country was 120 persons-in the towns 3,337 persons-to a square mile.

The average population to each town in Scotland was 6,654, to each town in England and Wales, 15,501; the Scottish is therefore much smaller than the English town. The average ground area of the English town is 4th miles, which form the centre of an area of 101 square miles. The exact numbers are given in Tables XXIII. and XXIV.; but a simpler notion of the average distribution of the population of England is obtained by conceiving the area of 58,320 square miles divided into 583 squares, each containing 25 square figures of 4 square miles; a market town in the central square containing 15,501 inhabitants, and the 24 similar squares arranged symmetrically around it in villages containing churches and

chapels, and houses holding in the aggregate 16,000 inhabitants. Now, imagine the figures to be of every variety of form as well as size, and a clear idea is obtained of the way that the ground of the island has been taken up, and is occupied by the population.

[ocr errors]

The English towns are at the distance on an average of 10th miles from the centre of one to the centre of the other; the Scotch towns are 12th miles apart, and each Scotch town contains on an average less than half the population of the English towns.

The 815 towns are grouped around 87 county-towns-52 in England, 32 in Scotland, and 3 chief towns, equivalent to county-towns, in the Islands of the British Seas. Each of the central county-towns was surrounded on an average by eight or nine other towns, extending over an average area of 1,067 square miles, equivalent to a square of 33 miles to the side; a circle of 18 miles radius: and without allowing for the extreme distance of the Islands in the British Seas, they were 35 miles apart. The population of the county-towns of Great Britain and the chief towns of the Channel Islands amounted to about 626,547 in 1801, and to 1,391,538 in 1851; in England and Wales the population of the county-towns was about 473,239 in 1801, and 1,076,670 in 1551.'-Census Report, pp. xlvi. xlvii.

A certain number of these towns have acquired an adventitious but extraordinary importance and magnitude through causes to which others are not subject. They have been created and are sustained by special circumstances, either as watering places, or for other purposes of resort, as sea-ports, or seats of mining or manufacturing enterprise. The towns have increased most rapidly in which straw plait, cotton, pottery, and iron are manufactured.

This tendency to group into masses, so evidently attractive to the statistician, is thus commented on by Mr. Cheshire, who makes one of his characteristic demands on our fancy, if by any means we may realize numbers:

Great Britain contained in 1851 seventy towns of 20,000 inhabitants and upwards, amounting in the aggregate to 34 per cent. of the total population of the country; whereas, in 1801, the population of such towns amounted to 23 per cent. only of the enumerated population, thus showing, in a marked degree, the increasing tendency of the people to concentrate themselves in masses. London extends over an area of 78,029 acres, or 122 square miles, and the number of its inhabitants, rapidly increasing, was two millions three hundred and sixty-two thousands two hundred and thirty-six (2,362,236) on the day of the last census. A conception of this vast mass of people may be formed by the fact that, if the metropolis was surrounded by a wall, having a north gate, a south gate, an east gate, and a west gate, and each of the four gates was of a sufficient width to allow a column of persons to pass out freely four abreast, and a peremptory necessity required the immediate evacuation of the city, it could not be accomplished under four-and-twenty hours, by the expiration of which time the head of each of the four columns would have advanced a no less distance than seventy-five miles from their respective gates, all the people being in close file, four deep.'- Cheshire, p. 26.

Pursuing the question of the density and proximity of the population, the Report endeavours to assist our powers of con

« PrécédentContinuer »