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PEACE OF PARIS,
November 20, 1815,
RESPECTING THE PEOPLE; THEIR DOMESTIC ENERGIES; THEIR AGRICULTURE; THEIR TRADE; THEIR SHIPPING; AND THEIR FINANCES.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair.—2 COR,
BY GEORGE CHALMERS, F. R. S, S. A.
AUTHOR OF CONSIDERATIONS ON COMMERCE, BULLION, AND COIN, CIRCULATION AND EXCHANGES.
HE, who sometimes publishes big books, may seem to have a right to publish a little book.
Having communicated the following Statements, in manuscript, to a few friends, who were struck with the efficacy of their information, I was advised to publish them. I hesitated: but seeing that a pamphlet had been circulated at Paris, with some applause, inculcating THE DECLINE OF THE UNITED KINGDOM, I no longer delayed to send to the press the irrefragable documenis, which evince, that the British Nation is most prosperous in all which constitutes opulence, and power, while it enjoys unrivalled glory, as much from its perseverance in a noble cause, as from its valour, and its conduct.
AFTER SO violent a convulsion in Europe, with its natural effects, a war of two and twenty years' continuance, it is a very reasonable wish, to inquire what has been its real consequences to Great Britain and Ireland, in the genuine sources of their energies, and their wealth.
I-OF THE PEOPLE.
In every inquiry of this kind, the people are the chief object: whether they have increased, or diminished, throughout so long a struggle, is a question of great importance. During the war of 1756, it was disputed, between Brakenridge and Foster, whether the people had increased, or diminished, and what was their amount? but without any decision. During the colonial war, Doctor Price revived the same question; but he was more successfully opposed; he insisted, that there could not be more than 5,000,000 of inhabitants in England and Wales: his opponents shewed, from very sufficient documents, that there were, in England and Wales, upwards of 8,447,000
souls. These contrarieties of opinion were at length settled by the parliamentary enumeration of 1801, which, in opposition to the doctrine of Dr. Price, found in England and Wales 9,340,000 souls: but did the population continue to increase during the subsequent war? Yes; as the people had continued to multiply during the wars of 1756 and 1776, so did they multiply during the war of 1803; for the parliamentary enumeration of 1811 found, in England and Wales, 10,150,615. The state of the inhabitants of Scotland, at successive periods, gives the same result in 1801 the enumeration found 1,618,303 souls in that country, the enumeration of 1811 found 1,805,000. The same observation equally applies to Ireland: the population of Ireland, when the Union was formed, in 1800, was supposed to be 4,000,000; by the late imperfect enumeration, in 1814, it appeared that Ireland contained near 6,000,000 of people. It is a fact, then, that the people of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland have increased, during the late long wars, to 17,208,918 souls, and continue to increase and multiply.
II. OF THE DOMESTIC ENTERPRIZES OF THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED KINGDOM.
The best evidence of those enterprizes, together with their extent, and of their increase, is the Journals of Parliament. From this record, we know how many Acts of Parliament have passed, session after session, for making local improvements of every kind, during the last thirty years, of which there have been so many periods of distressful hostilities.
In the first period of eight years, when the peace ended in 1792, and the first war began, there were passed, of Acts of Parliament, for local improvements
In the subsequent period of war, which ended with 1801, the number of such laws, for such local improvements, amounted to
In the eight years ending with 1814, the number of such laws amounted to
These enumerations evince clearly three points: the first, that the energy and enterprizes of the people continued to increase, without interruption, during those long periods of warfare; secondly, that the people, making those local improvements, turned their energies upon the improvement of their several districts; and thirdly, that the undertakers of those vast enterprizes found the means, and money, to carry them into effect, in their own industry, their reproductions, and consequent wealth. Ireland, in the mean time, has had her full share of those domestic improvements.
III-OF THE AGRICULTURE OF THE UNITED KINGDOM.
During the present reign, at least 3,500,000 acres of waste, or common land, have been inclosed, and brought into tilth. Of those local improvements, there were 1,591 Acts of Parliament passed, for dividing common lands, for draining wet lands, and for inclosing open lands: those facts alone demonstrate, that the United Kingdom has been much improved in its surface, during the last thirty years; and, consequently, is much more valuable, as a collection