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birth appears to be only 31 years. This, however, he thinks, must be too low, as it exceeds but little the calculations for the town of Edinburgh.

The Scotch registers appeared to be in general so incomplete, that the returns of 99 parishes only are published in the Population Abstracts of 1801 ; and, if any judgment can be formed from these, they shew a very extraordinary degree of healthiness and a very small proportion of births. The sum of the population of these parishes in 1801 was 217,873 by the average of burials, for five

years ending in 1800, was about 3,815 ; and of births 4,928°: from which it wouldappear that the mortality in these parishes was only 1 in 56, and the proportion of births 1 in 44. But these proportions are so extraordinary, that it is difficult to conceive that they approach near the truth. Combining them with the calculations of Mr. Wilkie, it will not appear probable that the proportion of deaths and births in Scotland should be smaller than what has been allowed for England and Wales ; namely, 1 in 40 for the deaths, and 1 in 30 for the births; and it seems to be generally agreed that the proportion of births to deaths is 4 to 3%.

a Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xxi. p. 383.

Population Abstracts, Parish Registers, p. 459. . Id. p. 458.

should

With respect to the marriages, it will be still more difficult to form a conjecture. They are registered so irregularly, that no returns of them are given in the Population Abstract. I should naturally have thought, from the Statistical Account, that the tendency to marriage in Scotland was upon the whole greater than in England ; but if it be true that the births and deaths bear the same proportion to each other, and to the whole population, in both countries, the proportion of marriages cannot be very different. It should be remarked, however, that, supposing the operation of the preventive check to be exactly the same in both countries, and the climates to be equally salubrious, a greater degree of want and poverty would take place in Scotland, before the same mortality was produced as in • Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xxi. p. 383.

England,

England, owing to the smaller proportion of towns and manufactories in the former country than in the latter.

From a general view of the statistical accounts the result seems clearly to be, that the condition of the lower classes of people in Scotland has been considerably improved of late years. The price of provisions has risen, but almost invariably the price of labour has risen in a greater proportion; and it is remarked in most parishes, that more butcher's meat is consumed among the common people than formerly; that they are both better lodged and better clothed ; and that their habits with respect to cleanliness are decidedly improved.

A part of this improvement is probably to be attributed to the increase of the preventive check. In some parishes a habit of later marriages is noticed ; and in many places, where it is not mentioned, it may be fairly inferred from the proportions of births and marriages and other circumstances. The writer of the account of the parish of Elgin“, in enumerating the general causes • Vol. v. p. 1.

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of depopulation in Scotland, speaks of the discouragement to marriage from the union of farms, and the consequent emigration of the flower of their young men of every class and description, very few of whom ever return. Another cause that he mentions is the discouragement to marriage from luxury; at least he observes, till people are advanced in years, and then a puny race of children are produced. “ Hence how

many men of every description remain single? and how many young women of every rank are never married, who in the beginning of this century, or even so late as 1745, would have been the parents of a numerous and healthy progeny ?

In those parts of the country where the population has been rather diminished by the introduction of grazing, or an improved system of husbandry which requires fewer hands, this effect has chiefly taken place; and I have little doubt that in estimating the decrease of the population since the end of the last, or the beginning of the present century, by the proportion of births at the different periods, they have fallen into

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the error which has been particularly noticed with regard to Switzerland and France, and have in consequence made the difference greater than it really is a.

The general inference on this subject which I should draw from the different accounts is, that the marriages are rather later than formerly. There are however some decided exceptions. In those parishes where manufactures have been introduced which afford employment to children as soon as they have reached their 6th or 7th year, a habit of marrying early naturally follows; and while the manufacture continues to flourish and increase, the evil arising from it is not very perceptible ; though humanity must confess with a sigh, that one of the reasons why it is not so per: ceptible is, that room is made for fresh families by the unnatural mortality which

• One writer takes notice of this circumstance, and observes, that formerly the births seem to have borne a greater proportion to the whole population than at present. Probably, he says, more were born, and there was a greater mortality. Parish of Montquitter, vol vi. p. 121.

takes

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