Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Miscellaneous Writings and Speeches of Lord Macaulay.

Part 5 out of 8

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.9 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

clearly nothing in Mr Sadler's boasted law of fecundity which
will keep the population from multiplying till the whole earth is
as thick with human beings as St Giles's parish. If Mr Sadler
denies this, he must hold that, in places less thickly peopled
than London, marriages may be less fruitful than in London, which
is directly contrary to his own principles; or that in places
less thickly peopled than London, and similarly situated, people
will die faster than in London, which is again directly contrary
to his own principles. Now, if it follows, as it clearly does
follow, from Mr Sadler's own doctrines, that the human race might
be stowed together by three or four hundred to the acre, and
might still, as far as the principle of propagation is concerned,
go on increasing, what advantage, in a religious or moral point
of view, has his theory over that of Mr Malthus? The principle
of Mr Malthus, says Mr Sadler, leads to consequences of the most
frightful description. Be it so. But do not all these
consequences spring equally from his own principle? Revealed
religion condemns Mr Malthus. Be it so. But Mr Sadler must
share in the reproach of heresy. The theory of Mr Malthus
represents the Deity as a Dionysius hanging the sword over the
heads of his trembling slaves. Be it so. But under what
rhetorical figure are we to represent the Deity of Mr Sadler?

A man who wishes to serve the cause of religion ought to hesitate
long before he stakes the truth of religion on the event of a
controversy respecting facts in the physical world. For a time
he may succeed in making a theory which he dislikes unpopular by
persuading the public that it contradicts the Scriptures and is
inconsistent with the attributes of the Deity. But, if at last
an overwhelming force of evidence proves this maligned theory to
be true, what is the effect of the arguments by which the
objector has attempted to prove that it is irreconcilable with
natural and revealed religion? Merely this, to make men
infidels. Like the Israelites, in their battle with the
Philistines, he has presumptuously and without warrant brought
down the ark of God into the camp as a means of ensuring
victory:--and the consequence of this profanation is that, when
the battle is lost, the ark is taken.

In every age the Church has been cautioned against this fatal and
impious rashness by its most illustrious members,--by the fervid
Augustin, by the subtle Aquinas, by the all-accomplished Pascal.
The warning has been given in vain. That close alliance which,
under the disguise of the most deadly enmity, has always
subsisted between fanaticism and atheism is still unbroken. At
one time, the cry was,--"If you hold that the earth moves round
the sun, you deny the truth of the Bible." Popes, conclaves, and
religious orders, rose up against the Copernican heresy. But, as
Pascal said, they could not prevent the earth from moving, or
themselves from moving along with it. One thing, however, they
could do, and they did. They could teach numbers to consider the
Bible as a collection of old women's stories which the progress
of civilisation and knowledge was refuting one by one. They had
attempted to show that the Ptolemaic system was as much a part of
Christianity as the resurrection of the dead. Was it strange,
then, that when the Ptolemaic system became an object of ridicule
to every man of education in Catholic countries, the doctrine of
the resurrection should be in peril? In the present generation,
and in our own country, the prevailing system of geology has
been, with equal folly, attacked on the ground that it is
inconsistent with the Mosaic dates. And here we have Mr Sadler,
out of his especial zeal for religion, first proving that the
doctrine of superfecundity is irreconcilable with the goodness of
God, and then laying down principles, and stating facts, from
which the doctrine of superfecundity necessarily follows. This
blundering piety reminds us of the adventures of a certain
missionary who went to convert the inhabitants of Madagascar.
The good father had an audience of the king, and began to
instruct his majesty in the history of the human race as given in
the Scriptures. "Thus, sir," said he, "was woman made out of the
rib of man, and ever since that time a woman has had one rib more
than a man." "Surely, father, you must be mistaken there," said
the king. "Mistaken!" said the missionary. "It is an
indisputable fact. My faith upon it! My life upon it!" The
good man had heard the fact asserted by his nurse when he was a
child,--had always considered it as a strong confirmation of the
Scriptures, and fully believed it without having ever thought of
verifying it. The king ordered a man and woman, the leanest that
could be found, to be brought before him, and desired his
spiritual instructor to count their ribs. The father counted
over and over, upward and downward, and still found the same
number in both. He then cleared his throat, stammered,
stuttered, and began to assure the king that though he had
committed a little error in saying that a woman had more ribs
than a man, he was quite right in saying that the first woman was
made out of the rib of the first man. "How can I tell that?"
said the king. "You come to me with a strange story which you
say is revealed to you from heaven. I have already made you
confess that one half of it is a lie: and how can you have the
face to expect that I shall believe the other half?"

We have shown that Mr Sadler's theory, if it be true, is as much
a theory of superfecundity as that of Mr Malthus. But it is not
true. And from Mr Sadler's own tables we will prove that it is
not true.

The fecundity of the human race in England Mr Sadler rates as

"Where the inhabitants are found to be on the square mile--

From To Counties Number of births per 100 marriages

50 100 2 420
100 150 9 396
150 200 16 390
200 250 4 388
250 300 5 378
300 350 3 353
500 600 2 331
4000 and upwards 1 246

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.

(In the following table the name of the Hundred is followed in
order by:
Population on each Square Mile.
Square Miles.
Population in 1821, exclusive of Towns of separate Jurisdiction.
Marriages from 1811 to 1821.
Baptisms from 1811 to 1821.
Baptisms to 100 Marriages.)

Lonsdale : 96 : 441 : 42,486 : 3,651 : 16,129 : 442
Almondness : 267 : 228 : 60,930 : 3,670 : 15,228 : 415
Leyland : 354 : 126 : 44,583 : 2,858 : 11,182 : 391
West Derby : 409 : 377 : 154,040 : 24,182 : 86,407 : 357
Blackburn : 513 : 286 : 146,608 : 10,814 : 31,463 : 291
Salford : 869 : 373 : 322,592 : 40,143 : 114,941 : 286

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:

"In those departments where there are to each inhabitant--

Hectares Departments Legitimate births to
every 1000 marriages

4 to 5 2 5130
3 to 4 3 4372
2 to 3 30 4250
1 to 2 44 4234
.06 to 1 5 4146
.06 1 2557

Then comes the shout of exaltation 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 doubt 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

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

Let us now shuffle the censuses of England and France together.
In two English counties which contain from 50 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 3000 inhabitants is actually
much greater than the average fecundity of the kingdom, and that
the fecundity in towns of between 3000 and 4000 inhabitants is at
least as great as the average fecundity of the kingdom. The
average fecundity of a marriage in towns of fewer than 3000
inhabitants is about four; in towns of between 3000 and 4000
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 4000 and
5000 inhabitants is stated at 3.56. But, when we turn to Mr
Sadler's table of 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 4000 inhabitants. But it is quite
certain that the population is more dense in a town of 4000
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.

Mr Sadler passes on to Prussia, and sums up his information
respecting that country as follows:--

(In the following table numbers appear in the order:
Inhabitants on a Square Mile, German.
Number of Provinces.
Births to 100 Marriages, 1754.
Births to 100 Marriages, 1784.
Births to 100 Marriages, Busching.)

Under 1000 : 2 : 434 : 472 : 503
1000 to 2000 : 4 : 414 : 455 : 454
2000 to 3000 : 6 : 384 : 424 : 426
3000 to 4000 : 2 : 365 : 408 : 394

After the table comes the boast as usual:

"Thus is the law of population deduced from the registers of
Prussia also: and were the argument to pause here, it is
conclusive. The results obtained from the registers of this and
the preceding countries, exhibiting, as they do most clearly, the
principle of human increase, it is utterly impossible should have
been the work of chance; on the contrary, the regularity with
which the facts class themselves in conformity with that
principle, and the striking analogy which the whole of them bear
to each other, demonstrate equally the design of Nature, and the
certainty of its accomplishment."

We are sorry to disturb Mr Sadler's complacency. But, in our
opinion, this table completely disproves his whole principle. If
we read the columns perpendicularly, indeed, they seem to be in
his favour. But how stands the case if we read horizontally?
Does Mr Sadler believe that, during the thirty years which
elapsed between 1754 and 1784, the population of Prussia had been
diminishing? No fact in history is better ascertained than that,
during the long peace which followed the seven years' war, it
increased with great rapidity. Indeed, if the fecundity were
what Mr Sadler states it to have been, it must have increased
with great rapidity. Yet, the ratio of births to marriages is
greater in 1784 than in 1754, and that in every province. It is,
therefore, perfectly clear that the fecundity does not diminish
whenever the density of the population increases.

We will try another of Mr Sadler's tables:


Showing the Estimated Prolificness of Marriages in England at the
close of the Seventeenth Century.

(In the following table the name of the Place is followed in
order by:
Number of Inhabitants.
One Annual Marriage, to.
Number of Marriages.
Children to one Marriage.
Total Number of Births.

London : 530,000 : 106 : 5,000 : 4. : 20,000
Large Towns : 870,000 : 128 : 6,800 : 4.5 : 30,000
Small Towns and
Country Places : 4,100,000 : 141 : 29,200 : 4.8 : 140,160
: 5,500,000 : 134 : 41,000 : 4.65 : 190,760

Standing by itself, this table, like most of the others, seems to
support Mr Sadler's theory. But surely London, at the close of
the seventeenth century, was far more thickly peopled than the
kingdom of England now is. Yet the fecundity in London at the
close of the seventeenth century was 4; and the average fecundity
of the whole kingdom now is not more, according to Mr Sadler,
than 3 1/2. Then again, the large towns in 1700 were far more
thickly peopled than Westmoreland and the North Riding of
Yorkshire now are. Yet the fecundity in those large towns was
then 4.5. And Mr Sadler tells us that it is now only 4.2 in
Westmoreland and the North Riding.

It is scarcely necessary to say anything about the censuses of
the Netherlands, as Mr Sadler himself confesses that there is
some difficulty in reconciling them with his theory, and helps
out his awkward explanation by supposing, quite gratuitously, as
it seems to us, that the official documents are inaccurate. The
argument which he has drawn from the United States will detain us
but for a very short time. He has not told us,--perhaps he had
not the means of telling us,--what proportion the number of
births in the different parts of that country bears to the number
of marriages. He shows that in the thinly peopled states the
number of children bears a greater proportion to the number of
grown-up people than in the old states; and this, he conceives,
is a sufficient proof that the condensation of the population is
unfavourable to fecundity. We deny the inference altogether.
Nothing can be more obvious than the explanation of the
phenomenon. The back settlements are for the most part peopled
by emigration from the old states; and emigrants are almost
always breeders. They are almost always vigorous people in the
prime of life. Mr Sadler himself, in another part of his book,
in which he tries very unsuccessfully to show that the rapid
multiplication of the people of America is principally owing to
emigration from Europe, states this fact in the plainest manner:

"Nothing is more certain, than that emigration is almost
universally supplied by 'single persons in the beginning of
mature life;' nor, secondly, that such persons, as Dr Franklin
long ago asserted, 'marry and raise families.'

"Nor is this all. It is not more true, that emigrants, generally
speaking, consist of individuals in the prime of life, than that
'they are the most active and vigorous' of that age, as Dr
Seybert describes them to be. They are, as it respects the
principle at issue, a select class, even compared with that of
their own age, generally considered. Their very object in
leaving their native countries is to settle in life, a phrase
that needs no explanation; and they do so. No equal number of
human beings, therefore, have ever given so large or rapid an
increase to a community as 'settlers' have invariably done."

It is perfectly clear that children are more numerous in the back
settlements of America than in the maritime states, not because
unoccupied land makes people prolific, but because the most
prolific people go to the unoccupied land.

Mr Sadler having, as he conceives, fully established his theory
of population by statistical evidence, proceeds to prove, "that
it is in unison, or rather required by the principles of
physiology." The difference between himself and his opponents he
states as follows:--

"In pursuing this part of my subject, I must begin by reminding
the reader of the difference between those who hold the
superfecundity of mankind and myself, in regard to those
principles which will form the basis of the present argument.
They contend, that production precedes population; I, on the
contrary, maintain that population precedes, and is indeed the
cause of, production. They teach that man breeds up to the
capital, or in proportion to the abundance of the food, he
possesses: I assert, that he is comparatively sterile when he is
wealthy, and that he breeds in proportion to his poverty; not
meaning, however, by that poverty, a state of privation
approaching to actual starvation, any more than, I suppose, they
would contend, that extreme and culpable excess is the grand
patron of population. In a word, they hold that a state of ease
and affluence is the great promoter of prolificness. I maintain
that a considerable degree of labour, and even privation, is a
more efficient cause of an increased degree of human fecundity."

To prove this point, he quotes Aristotle, Hippocrates, Dr Short,
Dr Gregory, Dr Perceval, M. Villermi, Lord Bacon, and Rousseau.
We will not dispute about it; for it seems quite clear to us that
if he succeeds in establishing it he overturns his own theory.
If men breed in proportion to their poverty, as he tells us
here,--and at the same time breed in inverse proportion to their
numbers, as he told us before,--it necessarily follows that the
poverty of men must be in inverse proportion to their numbers.
Inverse proportion, indeed, as we have shown, is not the phrase
which expresses Mr Sadler's meaning. To speak more correctly, it
follows, from his own positions, that, if one population be
thinner than another, it will also be poorer. Is this the fact?
Mr Sadler tells us, in one of those tables which we have already
quoted, that in the United States the population is four to a
square mile, and the fecundity 5.22 to a marriage, and that in
Russia the population is twenty-three to a square mile, and the
fecundity 4.94 to a marriage. Is the North American labourer
poorer than the Russian boor? If not, what becomes of Mr
Sadler's argument?

The most decisive proof of Mr Sadler's theory, according to him,
is that which he has kept for the last. It is derived from the
registers of the English Peerage. The peers, he says, and says
truly, are the class with respect to whom we possess the most
accurate statistical information.

"Touching their NUMBER, this has been accurately known and
recorded ever since the order has existed in the country. For
several centuries past, the addition to it of a single individual
has been a matter of public interest and notoriety: this
hereditary honour conferring not personal dignity merely, but
important privileges, and being almost always identified with
great wealth and influence. The records relating to it are kept
with the most scrupulous attention, not only by heirs and
expectants, but they are appealed to by more distant connections,
as conferring distinction on all who can claim such affinity.
Hence there are few disputes concerning successions to this rank,
but such as go back to very remote periods. In later times, the
marriages, births, and deaths, of the nobility, have not only
been registered by and known to those personally interested, but
have been published periodically, and, consequently, subject to
perpetual correction and revision; while many of the most
powerful motives which can influence the human mind conspire to
preserve these records from the slightest falsification.
Compared with these, therefore, all other registers, or reports,
whether of sworn searchers or others, are incorrectness itself."

Mr Sadler goes on to tell us that the peers are a marrying class,
and that their general longevity proves them to be a healthy
class. Still peerages often become extinct;--and from this fact
he infers that they are a sterile class. So far, says he, from
increasing in geometrical progression, they do not even keep up
their numbers. "Nature interdicts their increase."

"Thus," says he, "in all ages of the world, and in every nation
of it, have the highest ranks of the community been the most
sterile, and the lowest the most prolific. As it respects our
own country, from the lowest grade of society, the Irish peasant,
to the highest, the British peer, this remains a conspicuous
truth; and the regulation of the degree of fecundity conformably
to this principle, through the intermediate gradations of
society, constitutes one of the features of the system developed
in these pages."

We take the issue which Mr Sadler has himself offered. We agree
with him, that the registers of the English Peerage are of far
higher authority than any other statistical documents. We are
content that by those registers his principle should be judged.
And we meet him by positively denying his facts. We assert that
the English nobles are not only not a sterile, but an eminently
prolific, part of the community. Mr Sadler concludes that they
are sterile, merely because peerages often become extinct. Is
this the proper way of ascertaining the point? Is it thus that
he avails himself of those registers on the accuracy and fulness
of which he descants so largely? Surely his right course would
have been to count the marriages, and the number of births in the
Peerage. This he has not done;--but we have done it. And what
is the result?

It appears from the last edition of Debrett's "Peerage",
published in 1828, that there were at that time 287 peers of the
United Kingdom, who had been married once or oftener. The whole
number of marriages contracted by these 287 peers was 333. The
number of children by these marriages was 1437,--more than five
to a peer,--more than 4.3 to a marriage,--more, that is to say,
than the average number in those counties of England in which,
according to Mr Sadler's own statement, the fecundity is the

But this is not all. These marriages had not, in 1828, produced
their full effect. Some of them had been very lately contracted.
In a very large proportion of them there was every probability of
additional issue. To allow for this probability, we may safely
add one to the average which we have already obtained, and rate
the fecundity of a noble marriage in England at 5.3;--higher than
the fecundity which Mr Sadler assigns to the people of the United
States. Even if we do not make this allowance, the average
fecundity of marriages of peers is higher by one-fifth than the
average fecundity of marriages throughout the kingdom. And this
is the sterile class! This is the class which "Nature has
interdicted from increasing!" The evidence to which Mr Sadler
has himself appealed proves that his principle is false,--utterly
false,--wildly and extravagantly false. It proves that a class,
living during half of every year in the most crowded population
in the world, breeds faster than those who live in the country;--
that the class which enjoys the greatest degree of luxury and
ease breeds faster than the class which undergoes labour and
privation. To talk a little in Mr Sadler's style, we must own
that we are ourselves surprised at the results which our
examination of the peerage has brought out. We certainly should
have thought that the habits of fashionable life, and long
residence even in the most airy parts of so great a city as
London, would have been more unfavourable to the fecundity of the
higher orders than they appear to be.

Peerages, it is true, often become extinct. But it is quite
clear, from what we have stated, that this is not because
peeresses are barren. There is no difficulty in discovering what
the causes really are. In the first place, most of the titles of
our nobles are limited to heirs male; so that, though the average
fecundity of a noble marriage is upwards of five, yet, for the
purpose of keeping up a peerage, it cannot be reckoned at much
more than two and a half. Secondly, though the peers are, as Mr
Sadler says, a marrying class, the younger sons of peers are
decidedly not a marrying class; so that a peer, though he has at
least as great a chance of having a son as his neighbours, has
less chance than they of having a collateral heir.

We have now disposed, we think, of Mr Sadler's principle of
population. Our readers must, by this time, be pretty well
satisfied as to his qualifications for setting up theories of his
own. We will, therefore, present them with a few instances of
the skill and fairness which he shows when he undertakes to pull
down the theories of other men. The doctrine of Mr Malthus, that
population, if not checked by want, by vice, by excessive
mortality, or by the prudent self-denial of individuals, would
increase in a geometric progression, is, in Mr Sadler's opinion,
at once false and atrocious.

"It may at once be denied," says he, "that human increase
proceeds geometrically; and for this simple but decisive reason,
that the existence of a geometrical ratio of increase in the
works of nature is neither true nor possible. It would fling
into utter confusion all order, time, magnitude, and space."

This is as curious a specimen of reasoning as any that has been
offered to the world since the days when theories were founded on
the principle that nature abhors a vacuum. We proceed a few
pages further, however; and we then find that geometric
progression is unnatural only in those cases in which Mr Malthus
conceives that it exists; and that, in all cases in which Mr
Malthus denies the existence of a geometric ratio, nature changes
sides, and adopts that ratio as the rule of increase.

Mr Malthus holds that subsistence will increase only in an
arithmetical ratio. "As far as nature has to do with the
question," says Mr Sadler, "men might, for instance, plant twice
the number of peas, and breed from a double number of the same
animals, with equal prospect of their multiplication." Now, if
Mr Sadler thinks that, as far as nature is concerned, four sheep
will double as fast as two, and eight as fast as four, how can he
deny that the geometrical ratio of increase does exist in the
works of nature? Or has he a definition of his own for
geometrical progression, as well as for inverse proportion?

Mr Malthus, and those who agree with him, have generally referred
to the United States, as a country in which the human race
increases in a geometrical ratio, and have fixed on thirty-five
years as the term in which the population of that country doubles
itself. Mr Sadler contends that it is physically impossible for
a people to double in twenty-five years; nay, that thirty-five
years is far too short a period,--that the Americans do not
double by procreation in less than forty-seven years,--and that
the rapid increase of their numbers is produced by emigration
from Europe.

Emigration has certainly had some effect in increasing the
population of the United States. But so great has the rate of
that increase been that, after making full allowance for the
effect of emigration, there will be a residue, attributable to
procreation alone, amply sufficient to double the population in
twenty-five years.

Mr Sadler states the results of the four censuses as follows:--

"There were, of white inhabitants, in the whole of the United
States in 1790, 3,093,111; in 1800, 4,309,656; in 1810,
5,862,093; and in 1820, 7,861,710. The increase, in the first
term, being 39 per cent.; that in the second, 36 per cent.; and
that in the third and last, 33 per cent. It is superfluous to
say, that it is utterly impossible to deduce the geometric theory
of human increase, whatever be the period of duplication, from
such terms as these."

Mr Sadler is a bad arithmetician. The increase in the last term
is not as he states it, 33 per cent., but more than 34 per cent.
Now, an increase of 32 per cent. in ten years, is more than
sufficient to double the population in twenty-five years. And
there is, we think, very strong reason to believe that the white
population of the United States does increase by 32 per cent.
every ten years.

Our reason is this. There is in the United States a class of
persons whose numbers are not increased by emigration,--the negro
slaves. During the interval which elapsed between the census of
1810 and the census of 1820, the change in their numbers must
have been produced by procreation, and by procreation alone.
Their situation, though much happier than that of the wretched
beings who cultivate the sugar plantations of Trinidad and
Demerara, cannot be supposed to be more favourable to health and
fecundity than that of free labourers. In 1810, the slave-trade
had been but recently abolished; and there were in consequence
many more male than female slaves,--a circumstance, of course,
very unfavourable to procreation. Slaves are perpetually passing
into the class of freemen; but no freeman ever descends into
servitude; so that the census will not exhibit the whole effect
of the procreation which really takes place.

We find, by the census of 1810, that the number of slaves in the
Union was then 1,191,000. In 1820, they had increased to
1,538,000. That is to say, in ten years, they had increased 29
per cent.--within three per cent. of that rate of increase which
would double their numbers in twenty-five years. We may, we
think, fairly calculate that, if the female slaves had been as
numerous as the males, and if no manumissions had taken place,
the census of the slave population would have exhibited an
increase of 32 per cent. in ten years.

If we are right in fixing on 32 per cent. as the rate at which
the white population of America increases by procreation in ten
years, it will follow that, during the last ten years of the
eighteenth century, nearly one-sixth of the increase was the
effect of emigration; from 1800 to 1810, about one-ninth; and
from 1810 to 1820, about one-seventeenth. This is what we should
have expected; for it is clear that, unless the number of
emigrants be constantly increasing, it must, as compared with the
resident population, be relatively decreasing. The number of
persons added to the population of the United States by
emigration, between 1810 and 1820, would be nearly 120,000. From
the data furnished by Mr Sadler himself, we should be inclined to
think that this would be a fair estimate.

"Dr Seybert says, that the passengers to ten of the principal
ports of the United States, in the year 1817, amounted to 22,235;
of whom 11,977 were from Great Britain and Ireland; 4164 from
Germany and Holland; 1245 from France; 58 from Italy, 2901 from
the British possessions in North America; 1569 from the West
Indies; and from all other countries, 321. These, however, we
may conclude, with the editor of Styles's Register, were far
short of the number that arrived."

We have not the honour of knowing either Dr Seybert or the editor
of Styles's Register. We cannot, therefore, decide on their
respective claims to our confidence so peremptorily as Mr Sadler
thinks fit to do. Nor can we agree to what Mr Sadler very
gravely assigns as a reason for disbelieving Dr Seyberts's
testimony. "Such accounts," he says, "if not wilfully
exaggerated, must always fall short of the truth." It would be a
curious question of casuistry to determine what a man ought to do
in a case in which he cannot tell the truth except by being
guilty of wilful exaggeration. We will, however, suppose, with
Mr Sadler, that Dr Seybert, finding himself compelled to choose
between two sins, preferred telling a falsehood to exaggerating;
and that he has consequently underrated the number of emigrants.
We will take it at double of the Doctor's estimate, and suppose
that, in 1817, 45,000 Europeans crossed to the United States.
Now, it must be remembered that the year 1817 was a year of the
severest and most general distress all over Europe,--a year of
scarcity everywhere, and of cruel famine in some places. There
can, therefore, be no doubt that the emigration of 1817 was very
far above the average, probably more than three times that of an
ordinary year. Till the year 1815, the war rendered it almost
impossible to emigrate to the United States either from England
or from the Continent. If we suppose the average emigration of
the remaining years to have been 16,000, we shall probably not be
much mistaken. In 1818 and 1819, the number was certainly much
beyond that average; in 1815 and 1816, probably much below it.
But, even if we were to suppose that, in every year from the
peace to 1820, the number of emigrants had been as high as we
have supposed it to be in 1817, the increase by procreation among
the white inhabitants of the United States would still appear to
be about 30 per cent. in ten years.

Mr Sadler acknowledges that Cobbett exaggerates the number of
emigrants when he states it at 150,000 a year. Yet even this
estimate, absurdly great as it is, would not be sufficient to
explain the increase of the population of the United States on Mr
Sadler's principles. He is, he tells us, "convinced that
doubling in 35 years is a far more rapid duplication than ever
has taken place in that country from procreation only." An
increase of 20 per cent. in ten years, by procreation, would
therefore be the very utmost that he would allow to be possible.
We have already shown, by reference to the census of the slave
population, that this doctrine is quite absurd. And, if we
suppose it to be sound, we shall be driven to the conclusion that
above eight hundred thousand people emigrated from Europe to the
United States in a space of little more than five years. The
whole increase of the white population from 1810 to 1820 was
within a few hundreds of 2,000,000. If we are to attribute to
procreation only 20 per cent. on the number returned by the
census of 1810, we shall have about 830,000 persons to account
for in some other way;--and to suppose that the emigrants who
went to America between the peace of 1815 and the census of 1820,
with the children who were born to them there, would make up that
number, would be the height of absurdity.

We could say much more; but we think it quite unnecessary at
present. We have shown that Mr Sadler is careless in the
collection of facts,--that he is incapable of reasoning on facts
when he has collected them,--that he does not understand the
simplest terms of science,--that he has enounced a proposition of
which he does not know the meaning,--that the proposition which
he means to enounce, and which he tries to prove, leads directly
to all those consequences which he represents as impious and
immoral,--and that, from the very documents to which he has
himself appealed, it may be demonstrated that his theory is
false. We may, perhaps, resume the subject when his next volume
appears. Meanwhile, we hope that he will delay its publication
until he has learned a little arithmetic, and unlearned a great
deal of eloquence.



(January 1831.)

"A Refutation of an Article in the Edinburgh Review (No. CII.)
entitled, 'Sadler's Law of Population, and disproof of Human
Superfecundity;' containing also Additional Proofs of the
Principle enunciated in that Treatise, founded on the Censuses of
different Countries recently published." By Michael Thomas
Sadler, M.P. 8vo. London: 1830.

"Before anything came out against my Essay, I was told I must
prepare myself for a storm coming against it, it being resolved
by some men that it was necessary that book of mine should, as it
is phrased, be run down."--John Locke.

We have, in violation of our usual practice, transcribed Mr
Sadler's title-page from top to bottom, motto and all. The
parallel implied between the Essay on the Human Understanding and
the Essay on Superfecundity is exquisitely laughable. We can
match it, however, with mottoes as ludicrous. We remember to
have heard of a dramatic piece, entitled "News from Camperdown,"
written soon after Lord Duncan's victory, by a man once as much
in his own good graces as Mr Sadler is, and now as much forgotten
as Mr Sadler will soon be, Robert Heron. His piece was brought
upon the stage, and damned, "as it is phrased," in the second
act; but the author, thinking that it had been unfairly and
unjustly "run down," published it, in order to put his critics to
shame, with this motto from Swift: "When a true genius appears
in the world, you may know him by this mark--that the dunces are
all in confederacy against him." We remember another anecdote,
which may perhaps be acceptable to so zealous a churchman as Mr
Sadler. A certain Antinomian preacher, the oracle of a barn, in
a county of which we do not think it proper to mention the name,
finding that divinity was not by itself a sufficiently lucrative
profession, resolved to combine with it that of dog-stealing. He
was, by ill-fortune, detected in several offences of this
description, and was in consequence brought before two justices,
who, in virtue of the powers given them by an act of parliament,
sentenced him to a whipping for each theft. The degrading
punishment inflicted on the pastor naturally thinned the flock;
and the poor man was in danger of wanting bread. He accordingly
put forth a handbill solemnly protesting his innocence,
describing his sufferings, and appealing to the Christian charity
of the public; and to his pathetic address he prefixed this most
appropriate text: "Thrice was I beaten with rods.--St Paul's
Epistle to the Corinthians." He did not perceive that, though St
Paul had been scourged, no number of whippings, however severe,
will of themselves entitle a man to be considered as an apostle.
Mr Sadler seems to us to have fallen into a somewhat similar
error. He should remember that, though Locke may have been
laughed at, so has Sir Claudius Hunter; and that it takes
something more than the laughter of all the world to make a

The body of this pamphlet by no means justifies the parallel so
modestly insinuated on the title-page. Yet we must own that,
though Mr Sadler has not risen to the level of Locke, he has done
what was almost as difficult, if not as honourable--he has fallen
below his own. He is at best a bad writer. His arrangement is
an elaborate confusion. His style has been constructed, with
great care, in such a manner as to produce the least possible
effect by means of the greatest possible number of words.
Aspiring to the exalted character of a Christian philosopher, he
can never preserve through a single paragraph either the calmness
of a philosopher or the meekness of a Christian. His ill-nature
would make a very little wit formidable. But, happily, his
efforts to wound resemble those of a juggler's snake. The bags
of poison are full, but the fang is wanting. In this foolish
pamphlet, all the unpleasant peculiarities of his style and
temper are brought out in the strongest manner. He is from the
beginning to the end in a paroxysm of rage, and would certainly
do us some mischief if he knew how. We will give a single
instance for the present. Others will present themselves as we
proceed. We laughed at some doggerel verses which he cited, and
which we, never having seen them before, suspected to be his own.
We are now sure that if the principle on which Solomon decided a
famous case of filiation were correct, there can be no doubt as
to the justice of our suspicion. Mr Sadler, who, whatever
elements of the poetical character he may lack, possesses the
poetical irritability in an abundance which might have sufficed
for Homer himself, resolved to retaliate on the person, who, as
he supposed, had reviewed him. He has, accordingly, ransacked
some collection of college verses, in the hope of finding, among
the performances of his supposed antagonist, something as bad as
his own. And we must in fairness admit that he has succeeded
pretty well. We must admit that the gentleman in question
sometimes put into his exercises, at seventeen, almost as great
nonsense as Mr Sadler is in the habit of putting into his books
at sixty.

Mr Sadler complains that we have devoted whole pages to mere
abuse of him. We deny the charge. We have, indeed,
characterised, in terms of just reprehension, that spirit which
shows itself in every part of his prolix work. Those terms of
reprehension we are by no means inclined to retract; and we
conceive that we might have used much stronger expressions,
without the least offence either to truth or to decorum. There
is a limit prescribed to us by our sense of what is due to
ourselves. But we think that no indulgence is due to Mr Sadler.
A writer who distinctly announces that he has not conformed to
the candour of the age--who makes it his boast that he expresses
himself throughout with the greatest plainness and freedom--and
whose constant practice proves that by plainness and freedom he
means coarseness and rancour--has no right to expect that others
shall remember courtesies which he has forgotten, or shall
respect one who has ceased to respect himself.

Mr Sadler declares that he has never vilified Mr Malthus
personally, and has confined himself to attacking the doctrines
which that gentleman maintains. We should wish to leave that
point to the decision of all who have read Mr Sadler's book, or
any twenty pages of it. To quote particular instances of a
temper which penetrates and inspires the whole work, is to weaken
our charge. Yet, that we may not be suspected of flinching, we
will give two specimens,--the two first which occur to our
recollection. "Whose minister is it that speaks thus?" says Mr
Sadler, after misrepresenting in a most extraordinary manner,
though, we are willing to believe, unintentionally, one of the
positions of Mr Malthus. "Whose minister is it that speaks thus?
That of the lover and avenger of little children?" Again, Mr
Malthus recommends, erroneously perhaps, but assuredly from
humane motives, that alms, when given, should be given very
sparingly. Mr Sadler quotes the recommendation, and adds the
following courteous comment:--"The tender mercies of the wicked
are cruel." We cannot think that a writer who indulges in these
indecent and unjust attacks on professional and personal
character has any right to complain of our sarcasms on his
metaphors and rhymes.

We will now proceed to examine the reply which Mr Sadler has
thought fit to make to our arguments. He begins by attacking our
remarks on the origin of evil. They are, says he, too profound
for common apprehension; and he hopes that they are too profound
for our own. That they seem profound to him we can well believe.
Profundity, in its secondary as in its primary sense, is a
relative term. When Grildrig was nearly drowned in the
Brobdingnagian cream-jug he doubtless thought it very deep. But
to common apprehension our reasoning would, we are persuaded,
appear perfectly simple.

The theory of Mr Malthus, says Mr Sadler, cannot be true, because
it asserts the existence of a great and terrible evil, and is
therefore inconsistent with the goodness of God. We answer thus.
We know that there are in the world great and terrible evils. In
spite of these evils, we believe in the goodness of God. Why may
we not then continue to believe in his goodness, though another
evil should be added to the list?

How does Mr Sadler answer this? Merely by telling us, that we
are too wicked to be reasoned with. He completely shrinks from
the question; a question, be it remembered, not raised by us--a
question which we should have felt strong objections to raising
unnecessarily--a question put forward by himself, as intimately
connected with the subject of his two ponderous volumes. He
attempts to carp at detached parts of our reasoning on the
subject. With what success he carries on this guerilla war after
declining a general action with the main body of our argument our
readers shall see.

"The Reviewer sends me to Paley, who is, I confess, rather more
intelligible on the subject, and who, fortunately, has decided
the very point in dispute. I will first give the words of the
Reviewer, who, when speaking of my general argument regarding the
magnitude of the evils, moral and physical, implied in the theory
I oppose, sums up his ideas thus:--'Mr Sadler says, that it is
not a light or transient evil, but a great and permanent evil.
What then? The question of the origin of evil is a question of
aye or no,--not a question of MORE or LESS.' But what says
Paley? His express rule is this, that 'when we cannot resolve
all appearances into benevolence of design, we make the FEW give
place to the MANY, the LITTLE to the GREAT; that we take our
judgment from a large and decided preponderancy.' Now in
weighing these two authorities, directly at issue on this point,
I think there will be little trouble in determining which we
shall make 'to give place;' or, if we 'look to a large and
decided preponderancy' of either talent, learning, or
benevolence, from whom we shall 'take our judgment.' The
effrontery, or, to speak more charitably, the ignorance of a
reference to Paley on this subject, and in this instance, is
really marvellous."

Now, does not Mr Sadler see that the very words which he quotes
from Paley contain in themselves a refutation of his whole
argument? Paley says, indeed, as every man in his senses would
say, that in a certain case, which he has specified, the more and
the less come into question. But in what case? "When we CANNOT
resolve all appearances into the benevolence of design." It is
better that there should be a little evil than a great deal of
evil. This is self-evident. But it is also self-evident, that
no evil is better than a little evil. Why, then, is there any
evil? It is a mystery which we cannot solve. It is a mystery
which Paley, by the very words which Mr Sadler has quoted,
acknowledges himself unable to solve; and it is because he cannot
solve that mystery that he proceeds to take into consideration
the more and the less. Believing in the divine goodness, we must
necessarily believe that the evils which exist are necessary to
avert greater evils. But what those greater evils are, we do not
know. How the happiness of any part of the sentient creation
would be in any respect diminished if, for example, children cut
their teeth without pain, we cannot understand. The case is
exactly the same with the principle of Mr Malthus. If
superfecundity exists, it exists, no doubt, because it is a less
evil than some other evil which otherwise would exist. Can Mr
Sadler prove that this is an impossibility?

One single expression which Mr Sadler employs on this subject is
sufficient to show how utterly incompetent he is to discuss it.
"On the Christian hypothesis," says he, "no doubt exists as to
the origin of evil." He does not, we think, understand what is
meant by the origin of evil. The Christian Scriptures profess to
give no solution of that mystery. They relate facts: but they
leave the metaphysical question undetermined. They tell us that
man fell; but why he was not so constituted as to be incapable of
falling, or why the Supreme Being has not mitigated the
consequences of the Fall more than they actually have been
mitigated, the Scriptures did not tell us, and, it may without
presumption be said, could not tell us, unless we had been
creatures different from what we are. There is something, either
in the nature of our faculties or in the nature of the machinery
employed by us for the purpose of reasoning, which condemns us,
on this and similar subjects, to hopeless ignorance. Man can
understand these high matters only by ceasing to be man, just as
a fly can understand a lemma of Newton only by ceasing to be a
fly. To make it an objection to the Christian system that it
gives us no solution of these difficulties, is to make it an
objection to the Christian system that it is a system formed for
human beings. Of the puzzles of the Academy, there is not one
which does not apply as strongly to Deism as to Christianity, and
to Atheism as to Deism. There are difficulties in everything.
Yet we are sure that something must be true.

If revelation speaks on the subject of the origin of evil it
speaks only to discourage dogmatism and temerity. In the most
ancient, the most beautiful, and the most profound of all works
on the subject, the Book of Job, both the sufferer who complains
of the divine government, and the injudicious advisers who
attempt to defend it on wrong principles, are silenced by the
voice of supreme wisdom, and reminded that the question is beyond
the reach of the human intellect. St Paul silences the supposed
objector, who strives to force him into controversy, in the same
manner. The church has been, ever since the apostolic times,
agitated by this question, and by a question which is inseparable
from it, the question of fate and free-will. The greatest
theologians and philosophers have acknowledged that these things
were too high for them, and have contended themselves with
hinting at what seemed to be the most probable solution. What
says Johnson? "All our effort ends in belief that for the evils
of life there is some good reason, and in confession that the
reason cannot be found." What says Paley? "Of the origin of
evil no universal solution has been discovered. I mean no
solution which reaches to all cases of complaint.--The
consideration of general laws, although it may concern the
question of the origin of evil very nearly, which I think it
does, rests in views disproportionate to our faculties, and in a
knowledge which we do not possess. It serves rather to account
for the obscurity of the subject, than to supply us with distinct
answers to our difficulties." What says presumptuous ignorance?
"No doubt whatever exists as to the origin of evil." It is
remarkable that Mr Sadler does not tell us what his solution is.
The world, we suspect, will lose little by his silence.

He falls on the reviewer again.

"Though I have shown," says he, "and on authorities from which
none can lightly differ, not only the cruelty and immorality
which this system necessarily involves, but its most revolting
feature, its gross partiality, he has wholly suppressed this, the
most important part of my argument; as even the bare notice of it
would have instantly exposed the sophistry to which he has had
recourse. If, however, he would fairly meet the whole question,
let him show me that 'hydrophobia,' which he gives as an example
of the laws of God and nature, is a calamity to which the poor
alone are liable; or that 'malaria,' which, with singular
infelicity, he has chosen as an illustration of the fancied evils
of population, is a respecter of persons."

We said nothing about this argument, as Mr Sadler calls it,
merely because we did not think it worth while: and we are half
ashamed to say anything about it now. But, since Mr Sadler is so
urgent for an answer, he shall have one. If there is evil, it
must be either partial or universal. Which is the better of the
two? Hydrophobia, says this great philosopher, is no argument
against the divine goodness, because mad dogs bite rich and poor
alike; but if the rich were exempted, and only nine people
suffered for ten who suffer now, hydrophobia would forthwith,
simply because it would produce less evil than at present, become
an argument against the divine goodness! To state such a
proposition, is to refute it. And is not the malaria a respecter
of persons? It infests Rome. Does it infest London? There are
complaints peculiar to the tropical countries. There are others
which are found only in mountainous districts; others which are
confined to marshy regions; others again which run in particular
families. Is not this partiality? Why is it more inconsistent
with the divine goodness that poor men should suffer an evil from
which rich men are exempt, than that a particular portion of the
community should inherit gout, scrofula, insanity, and other
maladies? And are there no miseries under which, in fact, the
poor alone are suffering? Mr Sadler himself acknowledges, in
this very paragraph, that there are such; but he tells us that
these calamities are the effects of misgovernment, and that this
misgovernment is the effect of political economy. Be it so. But
does he not see that he is only removing the difficulty one step
further? Why does Providence suffer men, whose minds are filled
with false and pernicious notions, to have power in the state?
For good ends, we doubt not, if the fact be so; but for ends
inscrutable to us, who see only a small part of the vast scheme,
and who see that small part only for a short period. Does Mr
Sadler doubt that the Supreme Being has power as absolute over
the revolutions of political as over the organisation of natural
bodies? Surely not: and, if not, we do not see that he
vindicates the ways of Providence by attributing the distresses,
which the poor, as he confesses, endure, to an error in
legislation rather than to a law of physiology. Turn the
question as we may, disguise it as we may, we shall find that it
at last resolves itself into the same great enigma,--the origin
of physical and moral evil: an enigma which the highest human
intellects have given up in despair, but which Mr Sadler thinks
himself perfectly able to solve.

He next accuses us of having paused long on verbal criticism. We
certainly did object to his improper use of the words "inverse
variation." Mr Sadler complains of this with his usual

"Now what is the Reviewer's quarrel with me on this occasion?
That he does not understand the meaning of my terms? No. He
acknowledges the contrary. That I have not fully explained the
sense in which I have used them? No. An explanation, he knows,
is immediately subjoined, though he has carefully suppressed it.
That I have varied the sense in which I have applied them? No.
I challenge him to show it. But he nevertheless goes on for many
pages together in arguing against what he knows, and, in fact,
acknowledges, I did not mean; and then turns round and argues
again, though much more feebly, indeed, against what he says I
did mean! Now, even had I been in error as to the use of a word,
I appeal to the reader whether such an unworthy and disingenuous
course would not, if generally pursued, make controversy on all
subjects, however important, that into which, in such hands, it
always degenerates--a dispute about words."

The best way to avoid controversies about words is to use words
in their proper senses. Mr Sadler may think our objection
captious; but how he can think it disingenuous we do not well
understand. If we had represented him as meaning what we knew
that he did not mean, we should have acted in a disgraceful
manner. But we did not represent him, and he allows that we did
not represent him, as meaning what he did not mean. We blamed
him, and with perfect justice and propriety, for saying what he
did not mean. Every man has in one sense a right to define his
own terms; that is to say, if he chooses to call one two, and two
seven, it would be absurd to charge him with false arithmetic for
saying that seven is the double of one. But it would be
perfectly fair to blame him for changing the established sense of
words. The words, "inverse variation," in matters not purely
scientific, have often been used in the loose way in which Mr
Sadler has used them. But we shall be surprised if he can find a
single instance of their having been so used in a matter of pure

We will illustrate our meaning thus. Lord Thurlow, in one of his
speeches about Indian affairs, said that one Hastings was worth
twenty Macartneys. He might, with equal propriety, have said ten
Macartneys, or a hundred Macartneys. Nor would there have been
the least inconsistency in his using all the three expressions in
one speech. But would this be an excuse for a financier who, in
a matter of account, should reason as if ten, twenty, and a
hundred were the same number?

Mr Sadler tells us that he purposely avoided the use of the word
proportion in stating his principle. He seems, therefore, to
allow that the word proportion would have been improper. Yet he
did in fact employ it in explaining his principle, accompanied
with an awkward explanation intended to signify that, though he
said proportion, he meant something quite different from
proportion. We should not have said so much on this subject
either in our former article, or at present, but that there is in
all Mr Sadler's writings an air of scientific pedantry, which
renders his errors fair game. We will now let the matter rest;
and, instead of assailing Mr Sadler with our verbal criticism,
proceed to defend ourselves against his literal criticism.

"The Reviewer promised his readers that some curious results
should follow from his shuffling. We will enable him to keep his

"'In two English counties,' says he, 'which contain from 50 to
100 inhabitants on the square mile, the births to 100 marriages
are, according to Mr Sadler, 420; but in 44 departments of
France, in which there are from one to two hecatares [hectares]
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 one hundred marriages is 423 and a fraction.'

"The first curious result is, that our Reviewer is ignorant, not
only of the name, but of the extent, of a French hectare;
otherwise he is guilty of a practice which, even if transferred
to the gambling-table, would, I presume, prevent him from being
allowed ever to shuffle, even there, again. He was most ready to
pronounce upon a mistake of one per cent. in a calculation of
mine, the difference in no wise affecting the argument in hand;
but here I must inform him, that his error, whether wilfully or
ignorantly put forth, involves his entire argument.

"The French hectare I had calculated to contain 107,708 67/100
English square feet, or 2 47265/100000 acres; Dr Kelly takes it,
on authority which he gives, at 107,644 143923/1000000 English
square feet, or 2 471169/1000000 acres. The last French
"Annuaires", however, state it, I perceive, as being equal to 2
473614/1000000 acres. The difference is very trifling, and will
not in the slightest degree cover our critic's error. The first
calculation gives about 258 83/100 hectares to an English square
mile; the second, 258 73/100; the last, or French calculation 258
98/100. When, therefore, the Reviewer calculates the population
of the departments of France thus: 'from one to two hectares to
each inhabitant, that is to say, in which the population is from
125 to 250, or rather more, to the square mile; his 'that is to
say,' is that which he ought not to have said--no rare case with
him, as we shall show throughout."

We must inform Mr Sadler, in the first place, that we inserted
the vowel which amuses him so much, not from ignorance or from
carelessness, but advisedly, and in conformity with the practice
of several respectable writers. He will find the word hecatare
in Ree's Cyclopaedia. He will find it also in Dr Young. We
prefer the form which we have employed, because it is
etymologically correct. Mr Sadler seems not to know that a
hecatare is so-called, because it contains a hundred ares.

We were perfectly acquainted with the extent as well as with the
name of a hecatare. Is it at all strange that we should use the
words "250, or rather more," in speaking of 258 and a fraction?
Do not people constantly employ round numbers with still greater
looseness, in translating foreign distances and foreign money?
If indeed, as Mr Sadler says, the difference which he chooses to
call an error involved the entire argument, or any part of the
argument, we should have been guilty of gross unfairness. But it
is not so. The difference between 258 and 250, as even Mr Sadler
would see if he were not blind with fury, was a difference to his
advantage. Our point was this. The fecundity of a dense
population in certain departments of France is greater than that
of a thinly scattered population in certain counties of England.
The more dense, therefore, the population in those departments of
France, the stronger was our case. By putting 250, instead of
258, we understated our case. Mr Sadler's correction of our
orthography leads us to suspect that he knows very little of
Greek; and his correction of our calculation quite satisfies us
that he knows very little of logic.

But, to come to the gist of the controversy. Our argument, drawn
from Mr Sadler's own tables, remains absolutely untouched. He
makes excuses indeed; for an excuse is the last thing that Mr
Sadler will ever want. There is something half laughable and
half provoking in the facility with which he asserts and
retracts, says and unsays, exactly as suits his argument.
Sometimes the register of baptisms is imperfect, and sometimes
the register of burials. Then again these registers become all
at once exact almost to an unit. He brings forward a census of
Prussia in proof of his theory. We show that it directly
confutes his theory; and it forthwith becomes "notoriously and
grossly defective." The census of the Netherlands is not to be
easily dealt with; and the census of the Netherlands is therefore
pronounced inaccurate. In his book on the Law of Population, he
tells us that "in the slave-holding States of America, the male
slaves constitute a decided majority of that unfortunate class."
This fact we turned against him; and, forgetting that he had
himself stated it, he tells us that "it is as erroneous as many
other ideas which we entertain," and that "he will venture to
assert that the female slaves were, at the nubile age, as
numerous as the males." The increase of the negroes in the
United States puzzles him; and he creates a vast slave-trade to
solve it. He confounds together things perfectly different; the
slave-trade carried on under the American flag, and the slave-
trade carried on for the supply of the American soil,--the slave-
trade with Africa, and the internal slave-trade between the
different States. He exaggerates a few occasional acts of
smuggling into an immense and regular importation, and makes his
escape as well as he can under cover of this hubbub of words.
Documents are authentic and facts true precisely in proportion to
the support which they afford to his theory. This is one way,
undoubtedly, of making books; but we question much whether it be
the way to make discoveries.

As to the inconsistencies which we pointed out between his theory
and his own tables, he finds no difficulty in explaining them
away or facing them out. In one case there would have been no
contradiction if, instead of taking one of his tables, we had
multiplied the number of three tables together, and taken the
average. Another would never have existed if there had not been
a great migration of people into Lancashire. Another is not to
be got over by any device. But then it is very small, and of no
consequence to the argument.

Here, indeed, he is perhaps right. The inconsistencies which we
noticed, were, in themselves, of little moment. We give them as
samples,--as mere hints, to caution those of our readers who
might also happen to be readers of Mr Sadler against being
deceived by his packing. He complains of the word packing. We
repeat it; and, since he has defied us to the proof, we will go
fully into the question which, in our last article, we only
glanced at, and prove, in such a manner as shall not leave even
to Mr Sadler any shadow of excuse, that his theory owes its
speciousness to packing, and to packing alone.

That our readers may fully understand our reasoning, we will
again state what Mr Sadler's proposition is. He asserts that, on
a given space, the number of children to a marriage becomes less
and less as the population becomes more and more numerous.

We will begin with the census of France given by Mr Sadler. By
joining the departments together in combinations which suit his
purpose, he has contrived to produce three tables, which he
presents as decisive proofs of his theory.

The first is as follows:--

"The legitimate births are, in those departments where there are
to each inhabitant--

Hectares Departments To every 1000 marriages

4 to 5 2 130
3 to 4 3 4372
2 to 3 30 4250
1 to 2 44 4234
.06 to 1 5 4146
.06 1 2657

The two other computations he has given in one table. We subjoin

Hect. to each Number of Legit. Births to Legit. Births to
Inhabitant Departments 100 Marriages 100 Mar. (1826)

4 to 5 2 497 397
3 to 4 3 439 389
2 to 3 30 424 379
1 to 2 44 420 375
under 1 5 415 372
and .06 1 263 253

These tables, as we said in our former article, certainly look
well for Mr Sadler's theory. "Do they?" says he. "Assuredly
they do; and in admitting this, the Reviewer has admitted the
theory to be proved." We cannot absolutely agree to this. A
theory is not proved, we must tell Mr Sadler, merely because the
evidence in its favour looks well at first sight. There is an
old proverb, very homely in expression, but well deserving to be
had in constant remembrance by all men, engaged either in action
or in speculation--"One story is good till another is told!"

We affirm, then, that the results which these tables present, and
which seem so favourable to Mr Sadler's theory, are produced by
packing, and by packing alone.

In the first place, if we look at the departments singly, the
whole is in disorder. About the department in which Paris is
situated there is no dispute: Mr Malthus distinctly admits that
great cities prevent propagation. There remain eighty-four
departments; and of these there is not, we believe, a single one
in the place which, according to Mr Sadler's principle, it ought
to occupy.

That which ought to be highest in fecundity is tenth in one
table, fourteenth in another, and only thirty-first according to
the third. That which ought to be third is twenty-second by the
table, which places it highest. That which ought to be fourth is
fortieth by the table, which places it highest. That which ought
to be eighth is fiftieth or sixtieth. That which ought to be
tenth from the top is at about the same distance from the bottom.
On the other hand, that which, according to Mr Sadler's
principle, ought to be last but two of all the eighty-four is
third in two of the tables, and seventh in that which places it
lowest; and that which ought to be last is, in one of Mr Sadler's
tables, above that which ought to be first, in two of them, above
that which ought to be third, and, in all of them, above that
which ought to be fourth.

By dividing the departments in a particular manner, Mr Sadler has
produced results which he contemplates with great satisfaction.
But, if we draw the lines a little higher up or a little lower
down, we shall find that all his calculations are thrown into
utter confusion; and that the phenomena, if they indicate
anything, indicate a law the very reverse of that which he has

Let us take, for example, the thirty-two departments, as they
stand in Mr Sadler's table, from Lozere to Meuse inclusive, and
divide them into two sets of sixteen departments each. The set
from Lozere and Loiret inclusive consists of those departments in
which the space to each inhabitant is from 3.8 hecatares to 2.42.
The set from Cantal to Meuse inclusive consists of those
departments in which the space to each inhabitant is from 2.42
hecatares to 2.07. That is to say, in the former set the
inhabitants are from 68 to 107 on the square mile, or
thereabouts. In the latter they are from 107 to 125. Therefore,
on Mr Sadler's principle, the fecundity ought to be smaller in
the latter set than in the former. It is, however, greater, and
that in every one of Mr Sadler's three tables.

Let us now go a little lower down, and take another set of
sixteen departments--those which lie together in Mr Sadler's
tables, from Herault to Jura inclusive. Here the population is
still thicker than in the second of those sets which we before
compared. The fecundity, therefore, ought, on Mr Sadler's
principle, to be less than in that set. But it is again greater,
and that in all Mr Sadler's three tables. We have a regularly
ascending series, where, if his theory had any truth in it, we
ought to have a regularly descending series. We will give the
results of our calculation.

The number of children to 1000 marriages is--

1st Table 2nd Table 3rd Table

In the sixteen departments where
there are from 68 to 107 people
on a square mile................ 4188 4226 3780

In the sixteen departments where
there are from 107 to 125 people
on a square mile................ 4374 4332 3855

In the sixteen departments where
there are from 134 to 155 people
on a square mile................ 4484 4416 3914

We will give another instance, if possible still more decisive.
We will take the three departments of France which ought, on Mr
Sadler's principle, to be the lowest in fecundity of all the
eighty-five, saving only that in which Paris stands; and we will
compare them with the three departments in which the fecundity
ought, according to him, to be greater than in any other
department of France, two only excepted. We will compare Bas
Rhin, Rhone, and Nord, with Lozere, Landes, and Indre. In
Lozere, Landes, and Indre, the population is from 68 to 84 on the
square mile or nearly so. In Bas Rhin, Rhone, and Nord, it is
from 300 to 417 on the square mile. There cannot be a more
overwhelming answer to Mr Sadler's theory than the table which we

The number of births to 1000 marriages is--

1st Table 2nd Table 3rd Table

In the three departments in which
there are from 68 to 84 people
on the square mile............... 4372 4390 3890

In the three departments in which
there are from 300 to 417 people
on the square mile............... 4457 4510 4060

These are strong cases. But we have a still stronger case. Take
the whole of the third, fourth, and fifth divisions into which Mr
Sadler has portioned out the French departments. These three
divisions make up almost the whole kingdom of France. They
contain seventy-nine out of the eighty-five departments. Mr
Sadler has contrived to divide them in such a manner that, to a
person who looks merely at his averages, the fecundity seems to
diminish as the population thickens. We will separate them into
two parts instead of three. We will draw the line between the
department of Gironde and that of Herault. On the one side are
the thirty-two departments from Cher to Gironde inclusive. On
the other side are the forty-six departments from Herault to Nord
inclusive. In all the departments of the former set, the
population is under 132 on the square mile. In all the
departments of the latter set, it is above 132 on the square
mile. It is clear that, if there be one word of truth in Mr
Sadler's theory, the fecundity in the latter of these divisions
must be very decidedly smaller than in the former. Is it so? It
is, on the contrary, greater in all the three tables. We give
the result.

The number of births to 1000 marriages is--

1st Table 2nd Table 3rd Table

In the thirty-two departments in
which there are from 86 to 132
people on the square mile....... 4210 4199 3760

In the forty-seven departments in
which there are from 132 to 417
people on the square mile........ 4250 4224 3766

This fact is alone enough to decide the question. Yet it is only
one of a crowd of similar facts. If the line between Mr Sadler's
second and third division be drawn six departments lower down,
the third and fourth divisions will, in all the tables, be above
the second. If the line between the third and fourth divisions
be drawn two departments lower down, the fourth division will be
above the third in all the tables. If the line between the
fourth and fifth division be drawn two departments lower down,
the fifth will, in all the tables, be above the fourth, above the
third, and even above the second. How, then, has Mr Sadler
obtained his results? By packing solely. By placing in one
compartment a district no larger than the Isle of Wight; in
another, a district somewhat less than Yorkshire; in the third, a
territory much larger than the island of Great Britain.

By the same artifice it is that he has obtained from the census
of England those delusive averages which he brings forward with
the utmost ostentation in proof of his principle. We will
examine the facts relating to England, as we have examined those
relating to France.

If we look at the counties one by one, Mr Sadler's principle
utterly fails. Hertfordshire with 251 on the square mile;
Worcester with 258; and Kent with 282, exhibit a far greater
fecundity than the East Riding of York, which has 151 on the
square mile; Monmouthshire, which has 145; or Northumberland,
which has 108. The fecundity of Staffordshire, which has more
than 300 on the square mile, is as high as the average fecundity
of the counties which have from 150 to 200 on the square mile.
But, instead of confining ourselves to particular instances, we
will try masses.

Take the eight counties of England which stand together in Mr
Sadler's list, from Cumberland to Dorset inclusive. In these the
population is from 107 to 150 on the square mile. Compare with
these the eight counties from Berks to Durham inclusive, in which
the population is from 175 to 200 on the square mile. Is the
fecundity in the latter counties smaller than in the former? On
the contrary, the result stands thus:

The number of children to 100 marriages is--

In the eight counties of England, in which there are
from 107 to 146 people on the square mile............. 388

In the eight counties of England, in which there are
from 175 to 200 people on the square mile..............402

Take the six districts from the East Riding of York to the County
of Norfolk inclusive. Here the population is from 150 to 170 on
the square mile. To these oppose the six counties from Derby to
Worcester inclusive. The population is from 200 to 260. Here
again we find that a law, directly the reverse of that which Mr
Sadler has laid down, appears to regulate the fecundity of the

The number of children to 100 marriages is--

In the six counties in which there are from 150 to 170
people on the square mile................................392

In the six counties in which there are from 200 to 260
people on the square mile................................399

But we will make another experiment on Mr Sadler's tables, if
possible more decisive than any of those which we have hitherto
made. We will take the four largest divisions into which he has
distributed the English counties, and which follow each other in
regular order. That our readers may fully comprehend the nature
of that packing by which his theory is supported, we will set
before them this part of his table.

(Here follows a table showing for population on a square mile the
proportion of births to 100 marriages, based on figures for the
years 1810 to 1821.

100 to 150...396
150 to 200...390
200 to 250...388
250 to 300...378)

These averages look well, undoubtedly, for Mr Sadler's theory.
The numbers 396, 390, 388, 378, follow each other very speciously
in a descending order. But let our readers divide these thirty-
four counties into two equal sets of seventeen counties each, and
try whether the principle will then hold good. We have made this
calculation, and we present them with the following result.

The number of children to 100 marriages is--

In the seventeen counties of England in which there
are from 100 to 177 people on the square mile..........387

In the seventeen counties in which there
are from 177 to 282 people on the square mile..........389

The difference is small, but not smaller than differences which
Mr Sadler has brought forward as proofs of his theory. We say
that these English tables no more prove that fecundity increases
with the population than that it diminishes with the population.
The thirty-four counties which we have taken make up, at least
four-fifths of the kingdom: and we see that, through those
thirty-four counties, the phenomena are directly opposed to Mr
Sadler's principle. That in the capital, and in great
manufacturing towns, marriages are less prolific than in the open
country, we admit, and Mr Malthus admits. But that any
condensation of the population, short of that which injures all
physical energies, will diminish the prolific powers of man, is,
from these very tables of Mr Sadler, completely disproved.

It is scarcely worth while to proceed with instances, after
proofs so overwhelming as those which we have given. Yet we will
show that Mr Sadler has formed his averages on the census of
Prussia by an artifice exactly similar to that which we have
already exposed.

Demonstrating the Law of Population from the Censuses of Prussia
at two several Periods.

(Here follows a table showing for inhabitants on a square league
the average number of births to each marriage from two different

1756 1784

832 to 928...4.34 and 4.72
1175 to 1909...4.14 and 4.45 (including East Prussia at 1175)
2083 to 2700...3.84 and 4.24
3142 to 3461...3.65 and 4.08

Of the census of 1756 we will say nothing, as Mr Sadler, finding
himself hard pressed by the argument which we drew from it, now
declares it to be grossly defective. We confine ourselves to the
census of 1784: and we will draw our lines at points somewhat
different from those at which Mr Sadler has drawn his. Let the
first compartment remain as it stands. Let East Prussia, which
contains a much larger population than his last compartment,
stand alone in the second division. Let the third consist of the
New Mark, the Mark of Brandenburg, East Friesland and
Guelderland, and the fourth of the remaining provinces. Our
readers will find that, on this arrangement, the division which,
on Mr Sadler's principle, ought to be second in fecundity stands
higher than that which ought to be first; and that the division
which ought to be fourth stands higher than that which ought to
be third. We will give the result in one view.

The number of births to a marriage is--

In those provinces of Prussia where there are fewer than
1000 people on the square league.......................4.72

In the province in which there are 1175 people on the
square league..........................................5.10

In the provinces in which there are from 1190 to 2083
people on the square league............................4.10

In the provinces in which there are from 2314 to 3461
people on the square league............................4.27

We will go no further with this examination. In fact, we have
nothing more to examine. The tables which we have scrutinised
constitute the whole strength of Mr Sadler's case; and we
confidently leave it to our readers to say, whether we have not
shown that the strength of his case is weakness.

Be it remembered too that we are reasoning on data furnished by
Mr Sadler himself. We have not made collections of facts to set
against his, as we easily might have done. It is on his own
showing, it is out of his own mouth, that his theory stands

That packing which we have exposed is not the only sort of
packing which Mr Sadler has practised. We mentioned in our
review some facts relating to the towns of England, which appear
from Mr Sadler's tables, and which it seems impossible to explain
if his principles be sound. The average fecundity of a marriage
in towns of fewer than 3000 inhabitants is greater than the
average fecundity of the kingdom. The average fecundity in towns
of from 4000 to 5000 inhabitants is greater than the average
fecundity of Warwickshire, Lancashire, or Surrey. How is it, we
asked, if Mr Sadler's principle be correct, that the fecundity of
Guildford should be greater than the average fecundity of the
county in which it stands?

Mr Sadler, in reply, talks about "the absurdity of comparing the
fecundity in the small towns alluded to with that in the counties
of Warwick and Stafford, or in those of Lancaster and Surrey."
He proceeds thus--

"In Warwickshire, far above half the population is comprised in
large towns, including, of course, the immense metropolis of one
great branch of our manufactures, Birmingham. In the county of
Stafford, besides the large and populous towns in its iron
districts, situated so close together as almost to form, for
considerable distances, a continuous street; there is, in its
potteries, a great population, recently accumulated, not
included, indeed, in the towns distinctly enumerated in the
censuses, but vastly exceeding in its condensation that found in
the places to which the Reviewer alludes. In Lancashire, again,
to which he also appeals, one-fourth of the entire population is
made up of the inhabitants of two only of the towns of that
county; far above half of it is contained in towns, compared with
which those he refers to are villages: even the hamlets of the
manufacturing parts of Lancashire are often far more populous
than the places he mentions. But he presents us with a climax of
absurdity in appealing lastly to the population of Surrey as
quite rural compared with that of the twelve towns having less
than 5000 inhabitants in their respective jurisdictions, such as
Saffron-Walden, Monmouth, etc. Now, in the last census, Surrey
numbered 398,658 inhabitants, and to say not a word about the
other towns of the county, much above two hundred thousands of
these are WITHIN THE BILLS OF MORTALITY! 'We should, therefore,
be glad to know' how it is utterly inconsistent with my principle
that the fecundity of Guildford, which numbers about 3000
inhabitants, should be greater than the average fecundity of
Surrey, made up, as the bulk of the population of Surrey is, of
the inhabitants of some of the worst parts of the metropolis? Or
why the fecundity of a given number of marriages in the eleven
little rural towns he alludes to, being somewhat higher than that
of an equal number, half taken, for instance, from the heart of
Birmingham or Manchester, and half from the populous districts by
which they are surrounded, is inconsistent with my theory?

"Had the Reviewer's object, in this instance, been to discover
the truth, or had he known how to pursue it, it is perfectly
clear, at first sight, that he would not have instituted a
comparison between the prolificness which exists in the small
towns he has alluded to, and that in certain districts, the
population of which is made up, partly of rural inhabitants and
partly of accumulations of people in immense masses, the
prolificness of which, if he will allow me still the use of the
phrase, is inversely as their magnitude; but he would have
compared these small towns with the country places properly so
called, and then again the different classes of towns with each
other; this method would have led him to certain conclusions on
the subject."

Now, this reply shows that Mr Sadler does not in the least
understand the principle which he has himself laid down. What is
that principle? It is this, that the fecundity of human beings
ON GIVEN SPACES, varies inversely as their numbers. We know what
he means by inverse variation. But we must suppose that he uses
the words, "given spaces," in the proper sense. Given spaces are
equal spaces. Is there any reason to believe, that in those
parts of Surrey which lie within the bills of mortality, there is
any space equal in area to the space on which Guildford stands,
which is more thickly peopled than the space on which Guildford
stands? We do not know that there is any such. We are sure that
there are not many. Why, therefore, on Mr Sadler's principle,
should the people of Guildford be more prolific than the people
who live within the bills of mortality? And, if the people of
Guildford ought, as on Mr Sadler's principle they unquestionably
ought, to stand as low in the scale of fecundity as the people of
Southwark itself, it follows, most clearly, that they ought to
stand far lower than the average obtained by taking all the
people of Surrey together.

The same remark applies to the case of Birmingham, and to all the
other cases which Mr Sadler mentions. Towns of 5000 inhabitants
may be, and often are, as thickly peopled "on a given space," as
Birmingham. They are, in other words, as thickly peopled as a
portion of Birmingham, equal to them in area. If so, on Mr
Sadler's principle, they ought to be as low in the scale of
fecundity as Birmingham. But they are not so. On the contrary,
they stand higher than the average obtained by taking the
fecundity of Birmingham in combination with the fecundity of the
rural districts of Warwickshire.

The plain fact is, that Mr Sadler has confounded the population
of a city with its population "on a given space,"--a mistake
which, in a gentleman who assures us that mathematical science
was one of his early and favourite studies, is somewhat curious.
It is as absurd, on his principle, to say that the fecundity of
London ought to be less than the fecundity of Edinburgh, because
London has a greater population than Edinburgh, as to say that
the fecundity of Russia ought to be greater than that of England,
because Russia has a greater population than England. He cannot
say that the spaces on which towns stand are too small to
exemplify the truth of his principle. For he has himself brought
forward the scale of fecundity in towns, as a proof of his
principle. And, in the very passage which we quoted above, he
tells us that, if we knew how to pursue truth or wished to find
it, we "should have compared these small towns with country
places, and the different classes of towns with each other."
That is to say, we ought to compare together such unequal spaces
as give results favourable to his theory, and never to compare
such equal spaces as give results opposed to it. Does he mean
anything by "a given space?" Or does he mean merely such a space
as suits his argument? It is perfectly clear that, if he is
allowed to take this course, he may prove anything. No fact can
come amiss to him. Suppose, for example, that the fecundity of
New York should prove to be smaller than the fecundity of
Liverpool. "That," says Mr Sadler, "makes for my theory. For
there are more people within two miles of the Broadway of New
York, than within two miles of the Exchange of Liverpool."
Suppose, on the other hand, that the fecundity of New York should
be greater than the fecundity of Liverpool. "This," says Mr
Sadler again, "is an unanswerable proof of my theory. For there
are many more people within forty miles of Liverpool than within
forty miles of New York." In order to obtain his numbers, he
takes spaces in any combinations which may suit him. In order to
obtain his averages, he takes numbers in any combinations which
may suit him. And then he tells us that, because his tables, at
the first glance, look well for his theory, his theory is
irrefragably proved.

We will add a few words respecting the argument which we drew
from the peerage. Mr Sadler asserted that the peers were a class
condemned by nature to sterility. We denied this, and showed
from the last edition of Debrett, that the peers of the United
Kingdom have considerably more than the average number of
children to a marriage. Mr Sadler's answer has amused us much.
He denies the accuracy of our counting, and, by reckoning all the
Scotch and Irish peers as peers of the United Kingdom, certainly
makes very different numbers from those which we gave. A member
of the Parliament of the United Kingdom might have been expected,
we think, to know better what a peer of the United Kingdom is.

By taking the Scotch and Irish peers, Mr Sadler has altered the
average. But it is considerably higher than the average
fecundity of England, and still, therefore, constitutes an
unanswerable argument against his theory.

The shifts to which, in this difficulty, he has recourse, are
exceedingly diverting. "The average fecundity of the marriages
of peers," said we, "is higher by one-fifth than the average
fecundity of marriages throughout the kingdom."

"Where, or by whom did the Reviewer find it supposed," answers Mr
Sadler, "that the registered baptisms expressed the full
fecundity of the marriages of England?"

Assuredly, if the registers of England are so defective as to
explain the difference which, on our calculation, exists between
the fecundity of the peers and the fecundity of the people, no
argument against Mr Sadler's theory can be drawn from that
difference. But what becomes of all the other arguments which Mr
Sadler has founded on these very registers? Above all, what
becomes of his comparison between the censuses of England and
France? In the pamphlet before us, he dwells with great
complacency on a coincidence which seems to him to support his
theory, and which to us seems, of itself, sufficient to overthrow

"In my table of the population of France in the forty-four
departments in which there are from one to two hectares to each
inhabitant, the fecundity of 100 marriages, calculated on the
average of the results of the three computations relating to
different periods given in my table, is 406 7/10. In the twenty-
two counties of England in which there is from one to two
hectares to each inhabitant, or from 129 to 259 on the square
mile,--beginning, therefore, with Huntingdonshire, and ending
with Worcestershire,--the whole number of marriages during ten
years will be found to amount to 379,624, and the whole number of
the births during the same term to 1,545,549--or 407 1/10 births
to 100 marriages! A difference of one in one thousand only,
compared with the French proportion!"

Does not Mr Sadler see that, if the registers of England, which
are notoriously very defective, give a result exactly
corresponding almost to an unit with that obtained from the
registers of France, which are notoriously very full and
accurate, this proves the very reverse of what he employs it to
prove? The correspondence of the registers proves that there is
no correspondence in the facts. In order to raise the average
fecundity of England even to the level of the average fecundity
of the peers of the three kingdoms, which is 3.81 to a marriage,
it is necessary to add nearly six per cent. to the number of
births given in the English registers. But, if this addition be
made, we shall have, in the counties of England, from
Huntingdonshire to Worcestershire inclusive, 4.30 births to a
marriage or thereabouts: and the boasted coincidence between the
phenomena of propagation in France and England disappears at
once. This is a curious specimen of Mr Sadler's proficiency in
the art of making excuses. In the same pamphlet he reasons as if
the same registers were accurate to one in a thousand, and as if
they were wrong at the very least by one in eighteen.

He tries to show that we have not taken a fair criterion of the
fecundity of the peers. We are not quite sure that we understand
his reasoning on this subject. The order of his observations is
more than usually confused, and the cloud of words more than
usually thick. We will give the argument on which he seems to
lay most stress in his own words:--

"But I shall first notice a far more obvious and important
blunder into which the Reviewer has fallen; or into which, I
rather fear, he knowingly wishes to precipitate his readers,
since I have distinctly pointed out what ought to have preserved
him from it in the very chapter he is criticising and
contradicting. It is this:--he has entirely omitted 'counting'
the sterile marriages of all those peerages which have become
extinct during the very period his counting embraces. He counts,
for instance, Earl Fitzwilliam, his marriages, and heir; but has
he not omitted to enumerate the marriages of those branches of
the same noble house, which have become extinct since that
venerable individual possessed his title? He talks of my having
appealed merely to the extinction of peerages in my argument;
but, on his plan of computation, extinctions are perpetually and
wholly lost sight of. In computing the average prolificness of
the marriages of the nobles, he positively counts from a select
class of them only, one from which the unprolific are constantly
weeded, and regularly disappear; and he thus comes to the
conclusion, that the peers are 'an eminently prolific class!'
Just as though a farmer should compute the rate of increase; not
from the quantity of seed sown, but from that part of it only
which comes to perfection, entirely omitting all which had failed
to spring up or come to maturity. Upon this principle the most
scanty crop ever obtained, in which the husbandman should fail to
receive 'seed again,' as the phrase is, might be so 'counted' as
to appear 'eminently prolific' indeed."

If we understand this passage rightly, it decisively proves that
Mr Sadler is incompetent to perform even the lowest offices of
statistical research. What shadow of reason is there to believe
that the peers who were alive in the year 1828 differed as to
their prolificness from any other equally numerous set of peers
taken at random? In what sense were the peers who were alive in
1828 analogous to that part of the seed which comes to
perfection? Did we entirely omit all that failed? On the
contrary, we counted the sterile as well as the fruitful
marriages of all the peers of the United Kingdom living at one
time. In what way were the peers who were alive in 1828 a select
class? In what way were the sterile weeded from among them? Did
every peer who had been married without having issue die in 1827?
What shadow of reason is there to suppose that there was not the
ordinary proportion of barren marriages among the marriages
contracted by the noblemen whose names are in Debrett's last
edition? But we ought, says Mr Sadler, to have counted all the
sterile marriages of all the peers "whose titles had become
extinct during the period which our counting embraced;" that is
to say, since the earliest marriage contracted by any peer living
in 1828. Was such a proposition ever heard of before? Surely we
were bound to do no such thing, unless at the same time we had
counted also the children born from all the fruitful marriages
contracted by peers during the same period. Mr Sadler would have
us divide the number of children born to peers living in 1828,
not by the number of marriages which those peers contracted, but
by the number of marriages which those peers contracted added to
a crowd of marriages selected, on account of their sterility,
from among the noble marriages which have taken place during the
last fifty years. Is this the way to obtain fair averages? We
might as well require that all the noble marriages which during
the last fifty years have produced ten children apiece should be
added to those of the peers living in 1828. The proper way to
ascertain whether a set of people be prolific or sterile is, not
to take marriages selected from the mass either on account of
their fruitfulness or on account of their sterility, but to take
a collection of marriages which there is no reason to think
either more or less fruitful than others. What reason is there
to think that the marriages contracted by the peers who were
alive in 1828 were more fruitful than those contracted by the
peers who were alive in 1800 or in 1750?

We will add another passage from Mr Sadler's pamphlet on this
subject. We attributed the extinction of peerages partly to the
fact that those honours are for the most part limited to heirs

"This is a discovery indeed! Peeresses 'eminently prolific,' do
not, as Macbeth conjured his spouse, 'bring forth men-children
only;' they actually produce daughters as well as sons!! Why,
does not the Reviewer see, that so long as the rule of nature,
which proportions the sexes so accurately to each other,
continues to exist, a tendency to a diminution in one sex proves,
as certainly as the demonstration of any mathematical problem, a
tendency to a diminution in both; but to talk of 'eminently
prolific' peeresses, and still maintain that the rapid extinction
in peerages is owing to their not bearing male children
exclusively, is arrant nonsense."

Now, if there be any proposition on the face of the earth which
we should not have expected to hear characterised as arrant
nonsense, it is this,--that an honour limited to males alone is
more likely to become extinct than an honour which, like the
crown of England, descends indifferently to sons and daughters.
We have heard, nay, we actually know families, in which, much as
Mr Sadler may marvel at it, there are daughters and no sons.
Nay, we know many such families. We are as much inclined as Mr
Sadler to trace the benevolent and wise arrangements of
Providence in the physical world, when once we are satisfied as
to the facts on which we proceed. And we have always considered
it as an arrangement deserving of the highest admiration, that,
though in families the number of males and females differs
widely, yet in great collections of human beings the disparity
almost disappears. The chance undoubtedly is, that in a thousand
marriages the number of daughters will not very much exceed the
number of sons. But the chance also is, that several of those
marriages will produce daughters, and daughters only. In every
generation of the peerage there are several such cases. When a
peer whose title is limited to male heirs dies, leaving only
daughters, his peerage must expire, unless he have, not only a
collateral heir, but a collateral heir descended through an
uninterrupted line of males from the first possessor of the
honour. If the deceased peer was the first nobleman of his
family, then, by the supposition, his peerage will become
extinct. If he was the second, it will become extinct, unless he
leaves a brother or a brother's son. If the second peer had a
brother, the first peer must have had at least two sons; and this
is more than the average number of sons to a marriage in England.
When, therefore, it is considered how many peerages are in the
first and second generation, it will not appear strange that
extinctions should frequently take place. There are peerages
which descend to females as well as males. But, in such cases,
if a peer dies, leaving only daughters, the very fecundity of the
marriage is a cause of the extinction of the peerage. If there
were only one daughter, the honour would descend. If there are
several, it falls into abeyance.

But it is needless to multiply words in a case so clear; and,
indeed it is needless to say anything more about Mr Sadler's
book. We have, if we do not deceive ourselves, completely
exposed the calculations on which his theory rests; and we do not
think that we should either amuse our readers or serve the cause
of science if we were to rebut in succession a series of futile
charges brought in the most angry spirit against ourselves;
ignorant imputations of ignorance, and unfair complaints of
unfairness,--conveyed in long, dreary, declamations, so prolix
that we cannot find space to quote them, and so confused that we
cannot venture to abridge them.

There is much indeed in this foolish pamphlet to laugh at, from
the motto in the first page down to some wisdom about cows in the
last. One part of it indeed is solemn enough, we mean a certain
jeu d'esprit of Mr Sadler's touching a tract of Dr Arbuthnot's.
This is indeed "very tragical mirth," as Peter Quince's playbill
has it; and we would not advise any person who reads for
amusement to venture on it as long as he can procure a volume of
the Statutes at Large. This, however, to do Mr Sadler justice,
is an exception. His witticisms, and his tables of figures,
constitute the only parts of his work which can be perused with
perfect gravity. His blunders are diverting, his excuses
exquisitely comic. But his anger is the most grotesque
exhibition that we ever saw. He foams at the mouth with the love
of truth, and vindicates the Divine benevolence with a most
edifying heartiness of hatred. On this subject we will give him
one word of parting advice. If he raves in this way to ease his
mind, or because he thinks that he does himself credit by it, or
from a sense of religious duty, far be it from us to interfere.
His peace, his reputation, and his religion are his own concern;
and he, like the nobleman to whom his treatise is dedicated, has
a right to do what he will with his own. But, if he has adopted
his abusive style from a notion that it would hurt our feelings,
we must inform him that he is altogether mistaken; and that he
would do well in future to give us his arguments, if he has any,
and to keep his anger for those who fear it.



(July 1832.)

"Souvenirs sur Mirabeau, et sur les deux Premieres Assemblees
Legislatives". Par Etienne Dumont, de Geneve: ouvrage posthume
publie par M.J.L. Duval, Membre du Conseil Representatif du
Canton du Geneve. 8vo. Paris: 1832.

This is a very amusing and a very instructive book: but even if
it were less amusing and less instructive, it would still be
interesting as a relic of a wise and virtuous man. M. Dumont was
one of those persons, the care of whose fame belongs in an
especial manner to mankind. For he was one of those persons who

Book of the day: