« PrécédentContinuer »
increase has been. To understand the causes of these diffe-
Another test of the different rate of increase in towns without one leading branch of manufactures, and others which possess one, is to borrow from the tables the relative populations of some of our chief commercial towns at the opening of this century to the present time, and contrast them with others taken at random from the same, or neighbouring districts.
After contemplating these doublings and quadruplings, take the soberer progress, sometimes no progress at all, of a list of market towns in the North Riding of Yorkshire.
1 Parish includes a wider range than the Parliamentary or Municipal limits. The parish estimate best shows the manufacturing increase; thus, the population of Bradford within the Parliamentary limits is 103,778, and of Halifax, 33,582.
These great folios consist, as we have said, of population papers, lists of names, and the figures belonging to them; but a running comment of notes down each page accounting for anomalies, or anything out of the usual course of increase in different places, throws considerable light on the real condition of each district; and the state of activity or depression of its inhabitants. Every decrease between the present and the last Census has to be accounted for in some way or other, and we can trace from the causes given, vastly greater energy in one race of the population than another. Perhaps in the people of Yorkshire this energy and vigilant care of their proper interests is most apparent: for instance, it is well known that agricultural wages are at least a third higher in Yorkshire than in Norfolk, Wiltshire, or Somersetshire; and that agricultural labourers in that county are, by comparison, in a most prosperous and wellfed condition; yet decrease of population is often attributed to agricultural depression' and migration to the towns. Emigration, too, is very frequent, and an air of bustle, movement, and change distinguishes every page. The mining districts, on the contrary, seem unfavourable to emigration, and the word does not occur in the notes on Durham, Cumberland, Northumberland, nor Westmoreland. Again, in Suffolk and Norfolk, where, especially in the latter county, the wages are at a universally low rate, there is little mention of emigration, except in the Hundreds bordering on the sea. This may be accounted for from want of energy in the people, and the known discouragement of emigration by the farmers, who apprehend a consequent rise in wages. In these counties, and again in Somersetshire and Wiltshire, we often read of cottages pulled down, or manufactures abandoned. Things are evidently not so flourishing as in the north; we can trace privation, depression, and want of spirit down many a column. But in these two last counties noted for their low wages, the idea of emigration has evidently taken root, and gained ground; their proximity to some great sea-ports being, of course, a stimulus.
Wherever early marriages have caused an increase of population, it is noted down as a peculiarity of that hamlet or village, while in some neighbouring parish we can trace a wiser system, for imprudent marriages seem often to be a mania confined to some narrow district, as if one instance had set the example to others.
Mr. Cheshire's concluding table gives the amount of emigration from Great Britain, from 1843 to 1852 inclusive, from which we gather that the number of emigrants sailing from the United Kingdom in 1852 was, on an average, upwards of a thousand a day.
Emigration from Great Britain and Ireland in each Year from 1843 to 1852, inclusive, and the destination of the Emigrants.
In the Report's 'concluding remarks on the general results of the inquiry, it touches upon the close relation that exists in England, as opposed to the Continent, between the town and country population. A slight acquaintance with foreign countries shows the truth of the remark quoted from Mr. Laing, that in them the town and city population are much more apart and separate from the country people than with us. There the little fortified towns, with their walls and gates, stand as sharp and distinct as they did five hundred years ago- each city or town like a distinct island, or small nation, with its own ways of living, ideas, laws, and interests;' while the country population stands aloof, equally distinct in customs and costume, a people wholly separate from the towns, and comparatively little affected by their influences, either for good or evil. Upon our superiority in this respect the Report dwells as follows:
"One of the moral effects of the increase of the people is an increase of their mental activity; as the aggregation in towns brings them oftener into combination and collision. The population of the towns is not so completely separated in England as it is in some other countries, from the population of the surrounding country: for the walls, gates, and castles which were destroyed in the civil wars, have never been rebuilt; and the population has outgrown the ancient limits; while stone lines of demarcation have never been drawn around the new centres of population. Tolls have been collected since a very early period in the market-places; but the system of octroi-involving the examination, by customs' officers, of every article entering within the precincts of the town-has never existed. The freemen in some of the towns enjoyed, anciently, exclusive privileges of trading; but the freedom could always be acquired by the payment of fines; and by the great measure of Municipal Reform (1835), every town has been thrown open to settlers from every quarter. At the same time, too, that the populations of the towns and of the country have become so equally balanced in number-ten millions against ten millions-the union between them has become, by the circumstance that has led to the increase of the towns, more intimate than it was before; for they are now connected together by innumerable relationships, as well as by the associations
of trade. It will be seen in the final publication, that a large proportion of the population in the market-towns, the county-towns, the manufacturing towns, and the metropolis, was born in the country; and that in England, town and country are bound together, not only by the intercourse of commerce and the interchange of intelligence, but by a thousand ties of blood and affection.
The town and the country populations are now so intimately blended that the same administrative arrangements easily apply to the whole kingdom.'-Census Report, pp. lxxxiii. lxxxiv.
One most interesting topic remains to be elucidated by the forthcoming promised papers, which are to contain the voluntary returns respecting schools, churches, dissenting places of worship, and the amounts of their congregations, &c., together with the number of new churches, chapels, and meeting-houses built to supply the increasing demand for religious instruction and general education. As far as numbers can tell anything on such matters, these will undertake to show the 'spiritual condition as well as educational institutions of the people of Great Britain; approximately, however, for, we understand, the Clergy found it both inconvenient and otherwise unseemly to venture on the numbers of attendants at Church.
We have now touched upon the various subjects of the present Census tables. Contradicting the forebodings of narrowminded and faithless politicians, they show the country in an unexampled state of populousness and prosperity. Such words cannot be said without fear; but we must acknowledge blessings, and be thankful for them, though we own them to be immeasurably beyond the nation's deserts, and in their nature fluctuating and temporary. Though our national greatness decline from to-day, we must still witness to the gracious care of God's good Providence, who has blessed the industry of this great people hitherto, and failed in none of His promises. Nor, should the nation's prospects again darken for a season, must the evil time be used, as it once was, for an argument that legislation should have interfered to check the impetus of commerce which the present half-century has witnessed and profited from. Legislation has, strictly speaking, only to do with the present-that alone is its field; acting for it, however, not on seeming expediency, but on the eternal principles of truth and equity. If on such principles-if through just laws fairly administered-the nation grows populous and wealthy, whatever the future may have in store for us, legislation has done its part well. To turn the stream of national industry, to interfere with the order of nature, are works which it will not desire to meddle with. These are dreams for the closet, which any intelligent intercourse with actual things will dispel. But we need not pursue the moral of these remarkable documents. While they seem to