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births are as one to 28 or, and the deaths as one to 30,2. This is the precise result deduced by M. Peuchet from the tables of births, marriages, and deaths, drawn up in the year nine, in 98 departments, by order of the minister of the interior. Farther north, in the Prussian monarchy, there were in 1802, for nine millions of inhabitants, 436,616 births, and 282,109 deaths: hence the births are one in 20 and the deaths one in 32. But in Sweden, a country less favoured by nature, according to the tables of M. Nicander, the most exact and extensive that were ever drawn up, the births are one in 30, and the deaths one in 39. It appears, in general, that in the kingdom of New Spain the proportion of the births to the population is one in 17, and of the deaths one in 30. We may estimate the present number of births at nearly 350,000, and the deaths at 200,000. This excess of births in favourable circumstances, that is to say, in years without famine, epidemical smallpox, or matlazahuatl, the most mortal disease of the Indians, is nearly 150,000. In general, we observe every where on the globe that the population augments with a prodigious rapidity in countries : still thinly inhabited, with an eminently fertile soil, a soft and equal temperature, and particularly where there is a robust race of men incited by nature to marriage at a very early age. The parts of Europe in which cultivation only commenced in the last half of the past century
afford very striking examples of this excess of . births. In West Prussia there were in 1784, in a population of 560,000 inhabitants, 27,134 births, and 15,669 deaths. These numbers give the proportion of births to deaths 36 to 20, or 180 : 100, a proportion equally favourable with that of the Indian villages situated in the central plain of Mexico. In the Russian empire, in 1806, the births amounted to 1,361,134, and the deaths to 818,433. The same causes every where produce the same effects. The newer the cultivation of a country is, so much the easier is subsistence on a soil newly torn up, and consequently so much the more rapid the progress of population. To confirm this thesis, we have only to cast our eyes over the proportions of the births to the deaths in the following table.
In France - - = 1 10 : 100
* Essay on the principles of population, by M. Malthus, one of the most profound works in political economy which has ever appeared.
United States (state of
New Jersey) . - = 300 : 100 The data which we have taken for the proportion of the births to the deaths, and of both to the whole population, prove that if the order of nature were not inverted from time to time by some extraordinary cause, the population of New Spain would double every nineteen years ". In a period of ten years it should have augmented roo. In the United States we have seen the population double, since 1784, every twenty or twenty-three years. The curious tables published by Mr. Samuel Blodget in his Statistical Manual for the United States of America (1806), show that in some states this happy cycle is only thirteen or fourteen years. In France the population would double in the space of 214 years, if no war or no contagious disease were to diminish the annual excedent of the births. Such is the difference between countries already very populous, and those
which have yet but a nascent industry.
* Let p represent the actual population of a country, n the proportion of the population to the births, d the proportion of the deaths to the births, and k the number of years at the end of which it is wished to estimate the population, we shall have the state of the population at the epoqua k, expressed by p (1 + n (1 – d)); so that if we would know in how many
years the population doubles, this number of years k will be
log. 2 expressed by k =E (TFTFT)
The only true sign of a real and permanent increase of population is an increase in the means of subsistence. This increase, this augmentation of the produce of agriculture, is evident in Mexico; and appears even to indicate a much more rapid progress of population than has been supposed, in deducing the population of 1803 from the imperfect enumeration of 1793. In a catholic country, the ecclesiastical tenths are, as it were, the thermometer by which we may judge of the state of agriculture; and these tenths, as we shall afterward, state, have doubled in less than 24 years.
All these considerations suffice to prove that in admitting 5,800,000 inhabitants for the kingdom of Mexico at the end of the year 1803, I have taken a number, which, far from being exaggerated, is probably much below the evisting population. No public calamity has afflicted the country since the enumeration of 1793. If we add, 1st, a tenth for the individuals not included in the enumeration, and 2d, two tenths for the progress of population in ten years, we suppose an excess of births which is less by one half than the result of the parish registers. According to this supposition the number of inhabitants would double every 36 or 40 years. Yet well informed persons who have attentively observed the progress of agriculture, increase of villages and cities, and the augmentation of all the revenues of the crown depending on the consumption of commodities, are
tempted to believe that the population of Mexico has made a much more rapid progress. I am far from pronouncing on so delicate a matter: it is enough for me to have exhibited a detail of the materials hitherto collected, which may lead to accurate results. I consider it as extremely probable, that the population of Mexico in 1808 exceeds 6,500,000. In the Russian empire, of which the political and moral state bears, in many respects, a strong analogy to the country we are describing, the increase of population from the excess of births is much more rapid than what we admit for Mexico. According to the statistical work of M. Hermann, the enumeration of 1763 gave 14,726,000 souls. The result of that made in 1783 was nearly 25,677,000; and the total population of Russia in 1805 was estimated at 40,000,000. Yet what obstacles does not nature oppose to the progress of population in the most northern parts of Europe and Asia! And what a contrast between the fertility of the Mexican soil, enriched with the most precious vegetable productions of the torrid zone, and the sterility of plains for more than half the year buried under ice and snow.