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*
facts and calculations respecting the population and territory*

of the united states of america
.

of the united states of america

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*Section I.—Of the Population of the United States*.

IT is well known that about a century ago, the country which now com-

poses the United States of America, contained but a few thousand civilized

inhabitants—and that now, the same country contains four or five millions.

But the causes of this vast increase of numbers seem not to be equally well

understood. It is believed that many persons still suppose the population of

America, to be chiefly indebted for its growth to emigrations from other

countries; and that it must become stationary when they cease to take place.

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Some facts and calculations will be set down upon this sheet, to ascertain

the ratio of the natural increase of the inhabitants of America, and to shew

that the great progress of wealth and population in that country, is chiefly

derived from internal causes, and of course, less liable to interruption from

without.

The highest estimate, that is recollected, of the number of inhabitants

removing to America in any one year, supposes the number to be 10,000^{[*]}.

If the same number had removed every year since the first settlement of the

country, it would make in the whole about 1,600,000. But it is to be

remarked that this estimate was made for a period when emigrants were

unusually numerous—that during the many years of war which have taken

place they have been very few, and that in former years, when the number

of emigrants was complained of *as an evil*, it was not reckoned so high^{[†]}.

We may therefore suppose that 5,000 persons per annum, is a liberal allow-

ance for the average number of persons removing to America since its first

settlement. This, in the year 1790, would amount to 800,000 persons.

At the end of 1790, and beginning of 1791, there were enumerated in

the General Census, the number of 3,993,412 inhabitants.^{[‡]} As some places

were not enumerated at all, and from others no return was made there can

be little doubt, but the actual number then, was something more than four

millions. Supposing them to have increased, so as to double their numbers

once in twenty years—then, in the several preceding periods of twenty years,

since the year 1630, the numbers would stand thus—

At the end of | 1790 .... | 4,000,000 | At the end of | 1690 ...... | 125,000 |

1770 .... | 2,000,000 | 1670 ...... | 62,500 | ||

1750 .... | 1,000,000 | 1650 ...... | 31,250 | ||

1730 .... | 500,000 | 1630 ...... | 15,625 | ||

1710 .... | 250,000 |

—but as this last date reaches back to the infancy of the first settlements in

North America, it can hardly be supposed that they contained so many as

15,000 inhabitants. It follows, therefore, that they must have doubled their

numbers oftener than once in twenty years—that is, that they must have

increased faster than at the rate of 5 per cent. compounding the increase with

the principle at the end of every twenty years.

To determine how far this ratio of increase is justified by other facts, some

pains have been taken to ascertain, and compare the number of inhabitants

at four different periods, viz. 1750, 1774, 1782, and 1791:—The following

estimate has been formed of those numbers about the year 1750.

^{[§]} 1751, Massachusetts contained |
200,000 | |

Connecticut | 100,000 | |

^{[||]} Rhode-Island |
30,000 | |

New Hampshire | 24,000 | |

^{[**]} In 1756, one account says New York contained |
100,000 | |

^{[††]} Another |
96,775 | |

In 1750, suppose therefore it contained | 90,000 | |

In 1745, New Jersey contained | 61,403 | |

In 1750, suppose therefore | 66,000 | |

^{[‡‡]} In 1760, in Pennsylvania the taxables were |
31,667 | |

In 1793, Ditto | 91,177 | |

Carried forward | 510,000 |

* Cooper's Inform

† Douglas's Summary, Vol. II. p. 326.

‡ See the

Census of 1791.

§ Doug. Sum. Vol. II. p. 180.——Smith's Hist. of New

York, p. 225.

|| Morse's Geog. says that in 1748, Rhode Island contained 34,128.

** Smith, p. 225.

†† Morse's Geog.

‡‡ Coxe's View, p. 481.

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Brought forward | 510,000 | ||

By a conjectural proportion, therefore, the number of taxables in 1791, must have been about 86,000. Then as 86,000 is to 434,373, (the number of inhabitants in 1791) so is 31,667 to 159,945 the number of 1760 which subtracted from the Census of 1791, gives an increase of 272,428 for thirty years, of which one third part, or 91,379 is the mean increase for ten years, but supposing the increase for the ten years previous to 1760, to have been but 70,000 there will remain for the whole number in 1750, |
89,945 | ||

Delaware.—Suppose in the same proportion to its present num- bers as Pennsylvania |
12,224 | ||

^{[*]} 1751 or 1752, in Maryland the taxables were |
40,000 | ||

Taxables are understood to be all white men above 16 years of age, and all black persons from 16 to 60—say then that to every |
|||

100 white males above 16 there are | |||

100 ditto below ditto, and | |||

200 white females of all ages— | |||

200 blacks from 16 to 60, and | |||

200 of all other ages | |||

^{[†]} Total 800 of which 300 are taxables, then as300 is to 800, so is 40,000 to |
106,666 | ||

But as in those states the number of blacks is to that of whites, only as 10 to 11, deduct therefore 1/22 part of this number |
4,121 | ||

102,545 | |||

^{[‡]} 1750 in Virginia, Tytheables were |
100,000 | ||

Then by the same rule as before as 300 is to 800, so is 10,000 to |
266,666 | ||

Deduct in the same proportion as for Maryland | 12,121 | ||

254,545 | |||

The numbers of the following states must be supplied in a great measure from conjecture: |
|||

1710 In North Carolina, the whole number of inhabitants |
10,000 | ||

1750 Suppose one third of the increase since 1710 | 120,000 | ||

South-Carolina.—Suppose in the same ratio to its present numbers as North-Carolina |
80,000 | ||

Georgia.—The settlement of it but then lately com- menced: suppose it had |
10,000 |

About | 1750.—Total of inhabitants in the Thirteen Colonies | 1,179,259 |

1790.—Whole number in the Thirteen States | 4,000,000 |

Being about 3.4 times the number of 1750. If this increase be computed

in the manner of simple interest, it affords a ratio of 5.98, or very nearly six

per cent. or in the manner of compound interest of between 3 and 3½ per

cent. Any number increased in the compound ration of 3 per cent. per

annum is doubled in about twenty-three years and a half, and at 3½ per

cent. in about twenty years; that is, it is equal to 5 per cent. simple increase

for the same period.

The next period which will be adverted to, is the year 1774.

* Douglas, Vol. II p. 363.

† Jefferson, p. 129.

‡ Jefferson's Notes, p. 122.

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An able and ingenious author^{[*]}, who was very thoroughly conversant in

Colonial affairs, supposes, that at that time, the whole number of colonists

could not exceed 2,141,307. The difference between this number and that

of 1750, gives a compound increase of hardly 3 per cent.—while the subse-

quent ratio, up to 1790, is more than 4 per cent. per annum. These differ-

ent rates of increase, while they confirm the general principles here contended

for, may lead to a suspicion, that Governor Pownall's calculation is too low,

or what perhaps is more probably, that the foregoing estimate for 1750 is

somewhat too high.

In 1782, a return was made to Congress of the inhabitants in the several states, by which there appeared to be |
2,389,300 | ||

This return was then believed to be accurate, for it was made the rule for the assessment of public burdens among the states. But in 1784, the accuracy of it was attacked by Lord Sheffield, who affirmed it was too grea; if it was in fact as much too great as he supposed, then the increase of numbers from that time to 1790 must have exceeded all credibility. But allowing it to have been accurate, the difference between the number of 1790 |
4,000,000 | ||

And this number of | 1782 | 1,610,700 | |

From this deduct for emigrants, viz. | |||

10,000 emigrants per annum, for nine years | 90,000 | ||

Increase of ditto at 5 per cent. for four years and one half |
20,250 | ||

110,250 | |||

Natural increase in nine years | 1,500,450 |

which calculated upon the number of inhabitants returned in 1782, gives

the astonishing natural increase of 6.97, or very nearly 7 per cent. per

annum.

From these statements compared with each other, it appears that in the

year 1790, the actual increase of inhabitants in the United States, beyond

the number ever imported must have been 3,200,000, or, after the most libe-

ral allowances, at least three millions. That the whole rate of increase upon

the numbers at any given period, has been more than 5 per cent. and deduct-

ing for emigrations, that it has been equal to about 5 per cent. for any

twenty years successively, or 3 and a half per cent. compound increase for

any period that has yet elapsed.

But it may be objected, that no inference as to the future population of

America can be derived from these facts, because as the country becomes

more thickly settled, the increase will be slower. We have an opportunity

of examining what weight the objection possesses.

The eastern states are the most thickly inhabited. The greater part of the

emigrations from them, have been either to other states in New England, or

to the State of New York.

In 1750, New England and New York together contained | 444,000 |

In 1790, Ditto | 1,348,942 |

having more than trebled their numbers in 40 years, and increased during all

that period, at the rate of more than 5 per cent. upon their original num-

ber; and the compound ratio of nearly 3 per cent. And as many more

persons have emigrated from these states, than have come into them from

abroad, all this, *and something more*, is their natural increase.

Pownall's Memorial, p. 62.

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In | 1750, Massachusetts contained thirty-two persons, and in |

1790, about sixty persons to each square mile. | |

In | 1750, Connecticut contained twenty persons, and in |

1790, about fifty persons to the square mile. | |

In | 1750, Rhode-Island contained about twenty-three, and in |

1790, about fifty-two inhabitants per square mile: so that besides |

the numerous emigrants these states have sent forth, they have more than

doubled their numbers in forty years, and nearly trebled them since they

contained twenty persons to each square mile.

^{[*]} Mr. Jefferson has taken some pains to prove that the inhabitants of Vir-

ginia double their numbers once in twenty-seven years and a quarter. He

also proves, by an ingenious, calculation that

^{[†]} In 1782, the numbers in Virginia were |
567,614 |

In 1790, the same country, (part of which made the State of Kentucky,) contained |
821,287 |

giving an increase of 4.96, or very nearly 5 per cent. and doubling their

numbers, not in twenty-seven years and a quarter, as Mr. Jefferson endea-

voured to prove, but in less than twenty-one years.

Virginia, (exclusive of Kentucky,) added about 180,000 to its numbers,

between 1782 and 1790, the period when the numerous emigrations to Ken-

tucky caused so great a drain upon its population.

^{[‡]} In 1710, the number of militia, west of the Blue Ridge, in Virginia,was 11,440, which multiplied by four, gives for the number of inhabitants | |

45,760 | |

In 1790, the same country contained | 151,235 |

those counties having more than trebled their numbers in ten years.

It is to be observed that these facts, (and many more of a similar tendency

might be adduced,) are drawn from the former and least prosperous state of

America; and from periods, which were either absolutely those of public

calamity, or at best, were not those of national prosperity: yet, it is appre-

hended, they sufficiently prove, that the inhabitants of the United States

increase, at least, as fast, as at the compound ratio of 3 and a half per cent.

—that should foreigners cease to remove there, it would not prevent more

than one fifteenth, or one twentieth of this increase; and that there are, as

yet, no symptoms of this rate of increase being at all diminished by the

crowded population of the country. The United States must contain eighteen

millions of people to equal the average of New England, and fifty-five mil-

lions to equal the rate of population in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

The causes of this great increase of population, so peculiar to America,

might be readily and satisfactorily explained, by a review of the state of

manners, society, property, and government in that country.—The discus-

sion would, however, be too long for the present sheet, and is therefore for-

borne.

Calculations of the present Number of Inhabitants in the United States
| ||
---|---|---|

At the end of the year | 1790 | 4,000,000 |

Increase 1 year at 3½ per cent. | 140,000 | |

1791 | 4,140,000 | |

Increase 1 year at 3½ per cent. | 144,900 | |

1792, Carried over, | 4,284,900 |

* Jefferson's Notes, p. 123.

† Ib. p. 128.

‡ Ib. 131.

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1792, Brought over, | 4,284,900 | |

Increase 1 year at 3½ per cent. | 149,971 | |

1793 | 4,434,871 | |

Increase 1 year at 3½ per cent. | 155,110 | |

1794 | 4,589,981 | |

Increase 1 year at 3½ per cent. | 160,649 | |

1795 | 4,750,630 | |

Increase 1 year at 3½ per cent. | 166,172 | |

1796 | 4,916,802 | |

Increase 1 year at 3½ per cent. | 172,088 | |

1797 | 5,088,890 |

[*To be continued*.]