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FOR THE LITERARY MAGAZINE.

THOUGHTS ON POPULATION.

THERE are many ways of judg-
ing of the population and cultivation
of any country. One of these is
very frequently inferred from the
other. As the food of men is gene-
rally derived from the earth on
which they live, we can form some
general notion of the extent to which
the ground is cultivated, by knowing
the numbers it sustains, and so, con-
versely, the number of consumers
can sometimes be inferred from the
quantity of product.

It is difficult, however, to find any
sufficient data whereon to build these
inferences. It is hard to ascertain,
when the number of a people is
known, in what proportions the va-
rious articles of their provision are
distributed, and what proportion the
quantity raised within their own
territory bears to that which is im-
ported.

One, accustomed to theory and
speculation only, sees no difficulty in
ascertaining all those circumstances
of a country and people, reducible
to the head of political economy,
not by inference or calculation, but
by actual inspection and enumera-

tion. He sees no difficulty, for ex-
ample, in discovering the number of
people in a state; the number of its
domestic animals; the number of
acres in its territory; the kind and
quantity of the products of those
acres, by actually measuring and
counting them. To him, these are
points of so much curiosity, as well
as use, that he thinks they would
obtain his principal regard, were he
the proprietor or governor of a
state, and is consequently greatly
astonished at the stupidity or indo-
lence of those actual governors or
proprietors, by whom these points
are overlooked or slighted.

When he observes that four cen-
turies of power, wealth, civilization,
and social order were suffered to
pass away, before the government
of England could prevail upon itself
to make an actual numeration of
the people, his surprize at national
indolence is increased, or he begins
to imagine that possibly there may
be greater obstacles to the settle-
ment of these important questions in
practice, than there appear to be in
speculation. And yet the number-

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ing of the people in Great Britain,
as well as in the American states,
was found, in fact, to be no such te-
dious, expensive, or arduous under-
taking.

Though there are half a score of
other points about which political
economists are anxious to be inform-
ed, the number of human heads
seems to be the only point which
the government of these two coun-
tries have thought worth their at-
tention. A project for numbering
the domestic animals within the
country would probably be laughed
at by politicians. There are, how-
ever, several things to be said in
justification of his curiosity, by one
who is inquisitive on this head.

In the first place, as animal ex-
istence is necessarily connected with
happiness or misery, it is not un-
worthy of a benevolent mind to re-
gard the human population of a
country, not merely as it is connect-
ed with trade, taxation, or defence,
but as it shows the amount of hap-
piness or misery that exists within
a given space; so, as the lower ani-
mals are likewise susceptible of
happiness and misery, though of a
different kind, and, perhaps, in a
less degree than men, their number
and condition may reasonably be
thought to deserve, on that account,
some regard.

Secondly, as the lower animals
are suffered to exist and miltiply in
a domestic state, merely as they are
subservient to the subsistence, con-
venience, or pleasure of man, the
knowledge of their number and
condition is necessary to the know-
ledge of the manners and condition
of the human population. They
form a most important article in
the sum of the wealth, the traffic,
the enjoyment of the whole society.

Thirdly, as men are employed to
clothe as well as to feed themselves,
and as a part of the labour bestowed
upon the culture of the ground, is
employed to raise food immediately
for those lower animals, the num-
ber and condition of these animals
is necessary to be known, in order
to enable ourselves to know to what

extent, and in what mode, the earth
is cultivated.

There is likewise another view in
which a speculative mind may be
permitted to place this subject…..
The number of a people is propor-
tioned to the quantity of food raised
from their own ground, or consum-
ed among them: the earth produces,
in the same space, different quanti-
ties of different kinds of food, and
the same portion of ground main-
tains a less or greater number of
people, according to the kind of
product that is raised from it, and
according as that product is applied
immediately to our subsistence, as
bread, or mediately, as flesh. The
population is likewise proportioned
to the degree in which the products
of cultivation are applied to the sup-
port of quadrupeds, whose flesh is
employed as food: this proportion
is less, as the quantity of this pro-
duct given to animals we do not
eat is greater: this proportion is
greater, as the quantity given to
such animals is less.

Now it is not unnatural for such
minds to dwell upon these propor-
tions, and to make the actual state
of things, in this respect, one crite-
rion among others of the civilization
of a people. As there is more hap-
piness, more wealth, more power,
among a hundred intelligent beings
than among ten, all other circum-
stances being equal, he is apt to
conclude, that where there are two
countries of equal extent and culti-
vation, that has greatly the advan-
tage of the other, in every moral and
political view, which supports the
greatest number of men and women.

He, indeed, is generally inclined
to maintain, that the more numerous
nation has necessarily the advantage
of the other, not only in point of
number, but as to individual health,
integrity, and comfort; that vegeta-
ble products, eaten in their simple
state, not only maintain a greater
number of people, but maintain them
more easily and wholesomely, than
when they are previously transmut-
ed into the flesh of sheep and kine,
or into certain fiery liquids called

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beer or gin. He will, at least, be
very positive in thinking, that peo-
ple who apply their products to the
maintenance of mankind, directly
or indirectly, in the form of bread
or of flesh, wiser than their neigh-
bours who apply the same products
to the support of quadrupeds, whose
flesh is never eaten.

If such a one takes a survey of
Great Britain, for example, one of
the greatest and most enlightened
nations in the world, he finds a very
large portion of the surface under
cultivation. The labour of men is
continually employed to raise from
it some kind of vegetable product.
There is, indeed, a very large pro-
portion, about one third, of the sur-
face which is wholly desolate, though
it be just as capable of culture as
the rest; but, without enquiring into
the cause of this strange abuse of
territory, or computing the increase
of wealth, power, and numbers
which would flow from reducing
this neglected space into the same
condition with the rest, his eye pas-
ses on to the rolls of population.
Here he finds the number of human
beings about ten millions. Compar-
ing this number with fifty millions
of cultivated acres, he finds that
there are five cultivated acres to
one person.

He is well aware, however, that
these five acres are by no means
appropriated to raising bread for
one man; that, on the contrary,
there are a vast number of other
animals which share with man the
product of these fifty millions of
acres. His curiosity pursuing this
subject, soon discovers that there
are three kinds of animals support-
ed by the national industry, who
either live in total idleness, or who
contribute to the service of mankind
in other ways than as food. These
are cats, dogs, and horses.

The British government never
deigned to make an actual enume-
ration of these animals; but, in con-
sequence of a resolution to extract
a revenue from them, enquiries
were made and estimates formed,
rather below than above the truth.

These calculations gave, in 1800,
about 750,000 cats, 2,000,000 of
dogs, 2,250,000 of horses; in all
5,000,000 of individuals, or half the
whole number of human beings.

Of those animals who contribute
to human accommodation by their
milk, flesh, skin, or hair, the prin-
cipal are sheep, kine, and swine.

Of sheep, the number usually
computed is 20,000,000; of kine
about 5,000,000; and of hogs about
10,000,000.

The cultivation, therefore, of
Great Britain supports a popula-
tion of 10,000,000 of men; but, in
reality, it maintains 50,000,000 of
considerable animals, including men.
Now some of these animals are
much more considerable in bulk
than man, and require a much
greater quantity of subsistence…..
They all either consume the same
kind of food which is proper to the
human animal, or they subsist upon
the product of ground, capable of
producing food proper to man.

When a stranger is informed that
the population of that small island
amounts to fifty millions of persons,
he is astonished at the number, and
proceeds to build large inferences
as to the power and felicity of a
community so numerous. But how
are his feelings and notions changed
when he is informed that, by the ca-
price of custom, only one fifth of
this number are men, and that the
rest are four-footed beasts, irration-
al and mute.

When he enquires into the mo-
tives of the people for dividing their
subsistence with so large a number
of the lower animals, and the uses
of swine, sheep, and cattle are point-
ed out to him, his disapprobation,
though not wholly removed, will be
somewhat lessened; but when horses
are described, and he is told that
they are never used as food, but
merely to drag or to carry men and
commodities from place to place, to
swell idle pomp and parade, or to
furnish amusement to the rich, his
astonishment will be raised to a high
pitch.

All the parts of every human so

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ciety, in its actual state, hang toge-
ther by innumerable links and liga-
tures. Many things are deemed,
upon one view, useless and perni-
cious, which, upon a more accurate
and comprehensive observation, will
often be found inseparable and essen-
tial. It would not be an unamusing,
nor, perhaps, an unprofitable, task
to weigh accurately the present
constitution of almost all human so-
cieties, by which the existence of
domestic animals is not merely to-
lerated, but deemed indispensible to
the general welfare. Whether all
the domestic animals that are at
present reared and fostered in
Great Britain, for example, or
some one class of them, might not
be entirely dispensed with, and
what effect the total extirpation
would have on human felicity, are
problems not unworthy the attention
of inquisitive minds.

Whatever solution these problems
should receive from a hundred or a
million of enquirers, the state of
things will doubtless remain the
same; but surely there is some ad-
vantage in seeing every object in its
proper light. The conduct of others
is seldom influenced by our opinion
of its rectitude, but to form just opi-
nions of the conduct of others is, at
least, to enlighten ourselves, to aug-
ment our own stock of truth, and
lessen our own stock of error.


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