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A great national work, founded on the reports of the prefects in the different departments, is at present in some state of forwardness at Paris, and when completed may reasonably be expected to form a very valuable accession to the materials of statistical science in general. The returns of all the prefects are not however yet complete ; but I was positively assured by the person who has the principal superintendence of them, that enough is already known to be certain that the population of the old territory of France has rather increased than diminished during the revolution.
Such an event, if true, very strongly confirms the general principles of this work; and assuming it for the present as a fact, it may tend to throw some light on the subject, to trace a little in detail the manner in which such an event might happen.
In every country there is always a considerable body of unmarried persons, formed by the gradual accumulation of the excess of the number arising annually to the age of puberty above the number of persons annually married. The stop to the further accumulation of this body is when its num
ber is such, that the yearly mortality equals the yearly accessions that are made to it. In the Pays de Vaud, as appeared in the last chapter, this body, including widowsand widowers, persons who are not actually in the state of marriage, equals the whole number of married persons. But in a country like France, where both the mortality and the tendency to marriage are much greater than in Switzerland, this body does not bear so large a proportion to the population,
According to a calculation in an Essai d'une Statistique Générale, published at Paris in 1800, by M. Peuchet, the number of unmarried males in France between 18 and 50 is estimated at 1,451,063; and the number of males, whether married or not, between the same ages, at 5,000,000 a.
It does not appear at what period exactly this calculation was made; but as the author uses the expression en tems ordinaire, it is probable that he refers to the period before the revolution. Let us suppose, then, that this number of 1,451,063 expresses the collective body of unmarried males of a military age at the commencement of the revolution.
• P. 32, 8vo. 78 pages.
The population of France before the beginning of the war was estimated by the Constituent Assembly at. 26,363,074; and there is no reason to believe that this calculation was too high. Necker, though he mentions the number 24,800,000, expresses his firm belief that the yearly births åt that time amounted to above a million, and consequently, according to his multiplier of 251, the whole population was nearly 26 millions b; and this calculation was made ten years previous to the estimate of the Constituent Assembly.
Taking then the annual births at rather above a million, and estimating that rather above would die under 18, which appears to be the case from some calculations of M. Peuchet, it will follow, that about 600,000 persons will annually arrive at the
of 18. The annual marriages, according to Necker, are 213,774d; but as this number
• A. Young's Travels in France, vol. i. c. 17, p. 466, 4to. 1792.
b De l'Administration des Finances, tom.i. c. ix. p. 256, 12mo. 1785.
Essai, p. 31. d De l'Administration des Finances, tom.i. c. ix. p. 255.
is an average of ten years, taken while the population was increasing, it is probably too low. If we take 220,000, then 440,000 persons will be supposed to marry out of the 600,000 rising to a marriageable age; and, consequently, the excess of those rising to the
of 18 above the number wanted to complete the usual proportion of annual marriages, will be 160,000, or 80,000 males. It is evident, therefore, that the accumulated body of 1,451,063 unmarried males, of a military age, and the annual supply of 80,000 youths of 18, might be taken for the service of the state, without affecting in any degree the number of annual marriages. But we cannot suppose that the 1,451,063 should be taken all at once; and many soldiers are married, and in a situation not to be entirely useless to the population. Let us suppose 600,000 of the
of unmarried males to be embodied at once; and this number to be kept up by the annual supply of 150,000 persons, taken partly from the 80,000, rising annually to the age of 18, and not wanted to complete the number of annual marriages, and partly from
the 851,063 remaining of the body of unmarried males, which existed at the beginning of the war.
It is evident, that from these two sources 150,000 might be supplied each year, for ten years, and yet allow of an increase in the usual number of annual marriages of above 10,000.
It is true that in the course of the ten years many of the original body of unmarried males will have passed the military age; but this will be balanced, and indeed much more than balanced, by their utility in the married life. From the beginning it should be taken into consideration, that though a man of fifty be generally considered as past the military age, yet, if he marry a fruitful subject, he may by no means be useless to the population; and in fact the supply of 150,000 recruits each year would be taken principally from the 300,000 males rising annually to 18; and the annual marriages would be supplied in a great measure from the remaining part of the original body of unmarried persons. Widowers and bachelors of forty and fifty,