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"Where the inhabitants are found to be on the square mile From 50 to 100 (2 counties) the births to 100 marriages are
100 to 150 (9 counties)
150 to 200 (16 counties)
200 to 250 (4 counties)
250 to 300 (5 counties)
300 to 350 (3 counties)
500 to 600 (2 counties)
4000 and upwards (1 county)
Having given this table, he begins, as usual, to boast and triumph. "Were there not another document on the subject in existence," says he, "the facts thus deduced from the census of England are sufficient to demonstrate the position, that the fecundity of human beings varies inversely as their numbers." In no case would these facts demonstrate that the fecundity of human beings varies inversely as their numbers in the right sense of the words inverse variation. But certainly they would, "if there were no other document in existence," appear to indicate something like what Mr. Sadler means by inverse variation. Unhappily for him, however, there are other documents in existence; and he has himself furnished us with them. We will extract another of his tables:
Showing the Operation of the Law of Population in the different Hundreds of the County of Lancaster.
Mr. Sadler rejoices much over this table. The results, he says, have surprised himself; and, indeed, as we shall show, they might well have done so.
The result of his inquiries with respect to France he presents in the following table : —
"The legitimate births are, in those departments where there are to each inhabitant
From 4 to 5 hects. (2 departs.) to every 1000 marriages
3 to 4
2 to 3
Then comes the shout of exultation as regularly as the Gloria Patri at the end of a Psalm. "Is there any possibility of gainsaying the conclusions these facts force upon us; namely that the fecundity of marriages is regulated by the density of the population, and inversely to it?"
Certainly these tables, taken separately, look well for Mr. Sadler's theory. He must be a bungling gamester who cannot win when he is suffered to pack the cards his own way. We must beg leave to shuffle them a little; and we will venture to promise our readers that some curious results will follow from the operation. In nine counties of England, says Mr. Sadler, in which the population is from 100 to 150 on the square mile, the births to 100 marriages are 396. He afterwards expresses some doubts as to the accuracy of the documents from which this estimate has been formed, and rates the number of births as high as 414. Let him take his choice. We will allow him every advantage.
In the table which we have quoted, numbered lxiv., he tells us that in Almondness, where the population is 267 to the square mile, there are 415 births to 100 marriages. The population of Almondness is twice as thick as the population of the nine counties referred to in the other table. Yet the number of births to a marriage is greater in Almondness than in those counties.
Once more, he tells us that in three counties, in which the population was from 300 to 350 on the square mile, the births to 100 marriages were 353. He afterwards rates them at 375. Again we say, let him take his choice. But from his table of the population of Lancashire it appears that, in the hundred of Leyland, where the population is 354 to the square mile, the number of births to 100 marriages is 391. Here again we have the marriages becoming more fruitful as the population becomes denser.
Let us now shuffle the censuses of England and France together. In two English counties which contain from fifty to 100 inhabitants on the square mile, the births to 100 marriages are, according to Mr. Sadler, 420. But in forty-four departments of France, in which there are from one to two hecatares to each inhabitant, that is to say, in which the population is from 125 to 250, or rather more, to the square mile, the number of births to 100 marriages is 423 and a fraction.
Again, in five departments of France in which there is less than one hecatare to each inhabitant, that is to say, in which the population is more than 250 to the square mile, the number of births to 100 marriages is 414 and a fraction. But, in the four counties of England in which the population is from 200 to 250 on the square mile, the number of births to 100 marriages is,
according to one of Mr. Sadler's tables, only 388, and by his very highest estimate no more than 402.
Mr. Sadler gives us a long table of all the towns of England and Ireland, which, he tells us, irrefragably demonstrates his principle. We assert, and will prove, that these tables are alone sufficient to upset his whole theory.
It is very true that in the great towns the number of births to a marriage appears to be smaller than in the less populous towns. But we learn some other facts from these tables which we should be glad to know how Mr. Sadler will explain. We find that the fecundity in towns of fewer than 3,000 inhabitants is actually much greater than the average fecundity of the kingdom, and that the fecundity in towns of between 3,000 and 4,000 inhabitants is at least as great as the average fecundity of the kingdom. The average fecundity of a marriage in towns of fewer than 3,000 inhabitants is about four; in towns of between 3,000 and 4,000 inhabitants it is 3.60. Now the average fecundity of England, when it contained only 160 inhabitants to a square mile, and when, therefore, according to the new law of population, the fecundity must have been greater than it now is, was only, according to Mr. Sadler, 3.66 to a marriage. To proceed, the fecundity of a marriage in the English towns of between 4,000 and 5,000 inhabitants is stated at 3.56. But, when we turn to Mr. Sadler's table of the counties, we find the fecundity of a marriage in Warwickshire and Staffordshire rated at only 3.48, and in Lancashire and Surrey at only 3.41.
These facts disprove Mr. Sadler's principle; and the fact on which he lays so much stress that the fecundity is less in the great towns than in the small
towns- does not tend in any degree to prove his principle. There is not the least reason to believe that the population is more dense, on a given space, in London or Manchester than in a town of 4,000 inhabitants. But it is quite certain that the population is more dense in a town of 4,000 inhabitants than in Warwickshire or Lancashire. That the fecundity of Manchester is less than the fecundity of Sandwich or Guildford is a circumstance which has nothing whatever to do with Mr. Sadler's theory. But that the fecundity of Sandwich is greater than the average fecundity of Kent, that the fecundity of Guildford is greater than the average fecundity of Surrey, as from his own tables appears to be the case, these are facts utterly inconsistent
with his theory.
We need not here examine why it is that the human race is less fruitful in great cities than in small towns or in the open country. The fact has long been notorious. We are inclined to attribute it to the same causes which tend to abridge human life in great cities, to general sickliness and want of tone, produced by close air and sedentary employments. Thus far, and thus far only, we agree with Mr. Sadler, that, when population is crowded together in such masses that the general health and energy of the frame are impaired by the condensation, and by the habits attending on the condensation, then the fecundity of the race diminishes. But this is evidently a check of the same class with war, pestilence, and famine. It is a check for the operation of which Mr. Malthus has allowed.
That any condensation which does not affect the general health will affect fecundity, is not only not proved — it is disproved - by Mr. Sadler's own tables.