« AnteriorContinuar »
try, till there who die bei these bear tomade from
tal! The rearing and educating yearly for London 7 or 8000 persons require an immense sum.
In Paris, if the bills of mortality can be relied on, the births and burials are nearly equal, being each of them about 19,000 yearly ; and according to that computation, Paris should need no recruits from the country. But in that city, the bills of mortality cannot be depended on for burials. It is there universally the practice of high and low, to have their infants nursed in the country, till they be three years of age; and consequently those who die before that age are not enlisted. What proportion these bear to the whole is uncertain. But a guess may be made from such as die in London before the age of three, which are computed to be one half of the whole that die (a). Now giving the utmost allowance for the healthiness of the country above that of a town, children from Paris that die in the country before the age of three, cannot be brought so low as a third of those who die. On the other hand, the London bills of mortality are less to be depended on for births than for burials. None are inlisted but infants baptized by clergymen of the English church ; and the numerous children of Papists, Dissenters, and other sectaries, are left out of the account. Upon the whole, the difference between the births and burials in Paris and in London, is much less than it appears to be on comparing the bills of mortality of these two cities.
At the same time, giving full 'allowance for children who are not brought into the London bills of mortality, there is the highest probability that a greater number of children are born in Paris than in London; and consequently, that the former requires fewer recruits from the country, than
the latter. In Paris, domestic fervants are encouraged to marry : they are observed to be more settled than when bachelors, and more attentive to their duty In London, such marriages are difcouraged, as rendering a servant more attentive to his own family than to that of his master. But a servant 'attentive to his own family, will not for his own fake, neglect that of his master. At any rate, is he not more to be depended on, than a servant who continues single ? What can be expected of idle and pampered bachelors, but debauchery and every sort of corruption ? Nothing restrains them from absolute profligacy, but the eye of the master ; who for that reason is their averfion, not their love. If the poor-laws be named the folio of corruption, bachelor-servants in London may well be considered as a large appendix. And this attracts the eye' to the poor-laws, which indeed make the chief difference between Paris and London, with respect to the present point. In Paris, certain funds are established for the poor, the yearly produce of which admits but a limited number. As that fund is always pre occupied, the low people who are not on the list, have little or no prospect of bread, but from their own industry; and to the industrious, marriage is in a great meafure necessary. In London, à parish is taxed in proportion to the number of its poor ; and every person who is pleased to be idle, is entitled to maintenance.' Most things thrive by encourage. ment, and idleness above all. Certainty of maintenance renders the low people in England idle and profligate ; efpecially in London, where luxury prevails, and infects every rank. So insolent are the London poor, that scarce one of them will condescend to eat brown bread. There are accordingly in London, a much greater number of idle and profligate wretches, than in Paris, or in any other town in proportion to the number of ced botiche spleen about
inhabitants. These wretches, in Doctor Swift's style, never think of posterity, because posterity never thinks of them : men who hunt after pleasure, and live from day to day, have no notion of submitting to the burden of a family. These causes produce a greater number of children in Paris than in London; though probably they differ not much in populousness.
I shall add but one other objection to a great city, which is not flight. An over grown capital, far above a rival, has, by numbers and riches, a distressing influence in public affairs. The populace are ductile, and easily milled by ambitious and designing magistrates. Nor are there wanting critical times, in which such magistrates, acquiring artificial influence, may have power to disturb the public peace. That an overgrown capital may prove dangerous to sovereignty, has more than once been experienced both in Paris and London. .
It would give one the spleen, to hear the French and English zealously disputing about the extent of their capitals, as if the prosperity of their country depended on that circumstance. To me it appears like one glorying in the king's-evil, or in any contagious distemper. Much better einploy. ed would they be, in contriving means for lessen. ing these cities. There is not a political measure, that would tend more to aggrandize the kingdom of France, or of Britain, than to split its capital into several great towns. My plan would be, to confine the inhabitants of London to 100,000, composed of the King and his houshold, supreme courts of justice, government-boards, prime nobility and gentry, with necessary shopkeepers, artifts, and other dependents. Let the rest of the inhabitants be diftributed into nine towns properly fituated, fome for internal commerce, some for foreign. Such a plan would diffuse life and vigour through every corner of the island,
To execute such a plan, would, I acknowledge, require great penetration and much perseverance. I shall suggest what occurs at present. The first step must be, to mark proper spots for the nine towns, the most advantageous for trade, or for manufactures. If any of these fpots be occupied al. ready with small towns, so much the better. The next step, is a capitation-tax on the inhabitants of London ; the sum levied to be apropriated for encouraging the new towns. '. One encouragement would have a good effect; which is, a premium
to every man who builds in any of these towns, - more or less, in proportion to the size of the house. . . This tax would banish from London every ma- .
nufacture but of the most lucrative kind. When by this means, the inhabitants of London are re• duced to a number not much above 100,000, the · near prospect of being relieved from the tax, will
make householders active to banish all above that : number : and to prevent a renewal of the tax,
a greater number will never again be permitted.
It would require much political skill to proporti. · on the sums to be levied and distributed, so as
to have their proper effect, without overburdening · the capital on the one hand, or giving too great : encouragement for building on the other, which . might tempt people to build for the premium mere.
ly without any further view. Much will depend · on an advantageous situation , houses built there
will always find inhabitants. · : The two great cities of London and Westmin· ster are extremely ill fitted for local union. The · latter, the seat of government and of the noblesse, · infects the former with luxury and with love of · show. The former, the seat of commerce, infects · the latter with love of gain,' The mixture of - these opposite. , passions, is productive of every
S K E
T C H
Origin and Progress of American Nations.
N1 AVING no authentic materials for a natural history of all the Americans, the following observations are confined to a few tribes, the best known; and to the kingdoms of Peru and Mexico, as they were at the date of the Spanish conquest.
As there has not been discovered any paffage by land to America from the old world, no problem has more embarrassed the learned than to account for the origin of American nations : there are as many different opinions as there are writers. Many attempts have been made for discovering a pas. fage by land, but hitherto in vain. Kamikatka, it is true, is divided from America by a narrow ftrait, full of islands': and M. Buffon, to render the passage still more eafy than by these islands, conjectures, that thereabout there may formerly have been a land-passage, swallowed up in later times by the ocean. There is indeed great appearance of truth in this conjecture; as all the quadrupeds of the north of Asia seem to have made their way to America : the bear, for example, the roe; the deer, the rain-deer, the beaver, the wolf; the fox, the hare, the rat, the mole. He admits, that in America there is not to be
seen a lion, a tiger, a panther, or any other Alie · atic quadruped of a hot climate: not, says he, for want of a land-passage; but because the cold