Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub
[blocks in formation]

THERE are many ways of judg- tion. He sees no difficulty, for exing of the population and cultivation ample, in discovering the number of of any country. One of these is people in a state ; the number of its very frequently inferred from the domestic animals; the number of other. As the food of men is gene. acres in its territory; the kind and rally derived from the earth on quantity of the products of those which they live, we can form some acres, by actually measuring and general notion of the extent to which counting them. To him, these are the ground is cultivated, by knowing points of so much curiosity, as well the numbers it sustains, and so, con as use, that he thinks they would versely, the number of consumers obtain his principal regard, were he can sometimes be inferred from the the proprietor or governor of a quantity of product.

state, and is consequently greatly It is difficult, however, to find any astonished at the stupidity or indosufficient data whereon to build these lence of those actual governors or inferences. It is hard to ascertain, proprietors, by whom these points when the number of a people is are overlooked or slighted. known, in what proportions the va When he observes that four cenrious articles of their provision are turies of power, wealth, civilization, distributed, and what proportion the and social order were suffered to quantity raised within their own pass away, before the government territory bears to that which is im- of England could prevail upon itself ported.

to make an actual numeration of One, accustomed to theory and the people, his surprize at national speculation only, sees no difficulty in indolence is increased, or he begins ascertaining all those circumstances to imagine that possibly there may of a country and people, reducible be greater obstacles to the settle to the head of political economy, ment of these important questions in not by inference or calculation, but practice, than there appear to be in by actual inspection and enumera- speculation. And yet the number. VOL. III. NO. XVI.

1.

ing of the people in Great Britain, extent, and in what mode, the earth as well as in the American states, is cultivated. was found, in fact, to be no such te There is likewise another view in dious, expensive, or arduous under which a speculative mind may be taking.

permitted to place this subject..... Though there are half a score of The number of a people is propor. other points about which political tioned to the quantity of food raised economists are anxious to be inform- from their own ground, or consumed, the number of human heads ed among them : the earth produces, seems to be the only point which in the same space, different quantithe government of these two coun- ties of different kinds of food, and tries have thought worth their at the same portion of ground maintention. A project for numbering tains a less or greater number of the domestic animals within the people, according to the kind of country would probably be laughed product that is raised from it, and at by politicians. There are, how- according as that product is applied ever, several things to be said in immediaitly to our subsistence, as justification of his curiosity, by one bread, or mediately, as flesh. The who is inquisitive on this head. population is likewise proportioned

In the first place, as animal ex to the degree in which the products istence is necessarily connected with of cultivation are applied to the suphappiness or misery, it is not un- port of quadrupeds, whose fesh is worthy of a benevolent mind to re- employed as food : this proportion gard the human population of a is less, as the quantity of this procountry, not merely as it is connect- duct given to animals we do not ed with trade, taxation, or defence, eat is greater: this proportion is but as it shows the amount of hap- greater, as the quantity given to piness or misery that exists within such animals is less. a given space; so, as the lower ani Now it is not innatural for such mals are likewise susceptible of minds to dwell upon these proporhappiness and misery, though of a tions, and to make the actual state different kind, and, perhaps, in a of things, in this respect, one criteless degree than men, their number rion among others of the civilization and condition may reasonably be of a people. As there is more hapthought to deserve, on that account, piness, more wealth, more power, some regard.

among a hundred intelligent beings Secondly, as the lower animals than among ten, all other circum. are suffered to exist and multiply in stances being equal, he is apt to a domestic state, merely as they are conclude, that where there are two subservient to the subsistence, con- countries of equal extent and cultivenience, or pleasure of man, the vation, that has greatly the advanknowledge of their number and tage of the other, in every moral and condition is necessary to the know- political view, which supports the ledge of the manners and condition greatest number of men and women. of the human population. They He, indeed, is generally inclined form a most important article in to maintain, that the more numerous the sum of the wealth, the traffic, nation has necessarily the advantage the enjoyment of the whole society. of the other, not only in point of

Thirdly, as men are employed to number, but as to individual health, clothe as well as to feed themselves, integrity, and comfort; that vegetaand as a part of the labour bestowed ble products, eaten in their simple upon the culture of the ground, is state, not only maintain a greater employed to raise food immediately number of people, but maintain them for those lower animals, the num- more easily and wholesomely, than ber and condition of these animals when they are previously transmutis necessary to be known, in ordered into the flesh of sheep and kine, to enable ourselves to know to what or into certain fiery liquids called

beer or gin. He will, at least, be These calculations gave, in 1800, very positive in thinking, that peo- about 750,000 cats, 2,000,000 of ple who apply their products to the dogs, 2,250,000 of horses; in all maintenance of mankind, directly 5,000,000 of individuals, or half the or indirectly, in the form of bread whole number of human beings. or of flesh, wiser than their neigh Of those animals who contribute bours who apply the same products to human accommodation by their to the support of quadrupeds, whose milk, flesh, skin, or hair, the prinflesh is never eaten.

cipal are sheep, kine, and swine. If such a one takes a survey of Of sheep, the number usually Great Britain, for example, one of computed is 20,000,000 ; of kine the greatest and most enlightened about 5,000,000 ; and of hogs about nations in the world, he finds a very 10,000,000. large portion of the surface under The cultivation, therefore, of cultivation. The labour of men is Great Britain supports a popula. continually employed to raise from tion of 10,000,000 of men; but, in it some kind of vegetable product. reality, it maintains 50,000,000 of There is, indeed, a very large pro- considerable animals, including men. portion, about one third, of the sur. Now some of these animals are face which is wholly desolate, though much more considerable in bulk it be just as capable of culture as than man, and require a much the rest; but, without enquiring into greater quantity of subsistence..... the cause of this strange abuse of They all either consume the same territory, or computing the increase kind of food which is proper to the of wealth, power, and numbers human animal, or they subsist upon which would flow from reducing the product of ground, capable of this neglected space into the same producing food proper to man. condition with the rest, his eye pas When a stranger is informed that ses on to the rolls of population. the population of that small island Here he finds the number of human amounts to fifty millions of persons, beings about ten millions. Compar. he is astonished at the number, and ing this number with fifty millions proceeds to build large inferences of cultivated acres, he finds that as to the power and felicity of a there are five cultivated acres to community so numerous. But how one person.

are his feelings and notions changed He is well aware, however, that when he is informed that, by the cathese five acres are by no means price of custom, only one fifth of appropriated to raising bread for this number are men, and that the one man; that, on the contrary, rest are four-footed beasts, irrationthere are a vast number of other al and mute. animals which share with man the When he enquires into the moproduct of these fifty millions of tives of the people for dividing their acres. His curiosity pursuing this subsistence with so large a number subject, soon discovers that there of the lower animals, and the uses are three kinds of animals support- of swine, sheep, and cattle are pointed by the national industry, who ed out to him, his disapprobation, either live in total idleness, or who though not wholly removed, will be contribute to the service of mankind somewhat lessened; but when horses in other ways than as food. These are described, and he is told that are cats, dogs, and horses.

they are never used as food, but The British government never merely to drag or to carry men and deigned to make an actual enumc commodities from place to place, to ration of these animals; but, in con- swell idle pomp and parade, or to sequence of a resolution to extract furnish amusement to the rich, his a revenue from them, enquiries astonishment will be raised to a high were made and estimates formed, pitch. rather below than above the truth. All the parts of every human se

« ПредишнаНапред »