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INTRODUCTION - Sir William Petty, The Economic Writings of Sir William Petty, vol. 1 
The Economic Writings of Sir William Petty, together with The Observations upon Bills of Mortality, more probably by Captain John Graunt, ed. Charles Henry Hull (Cambridge University Press, 1899), 2 vols.
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William Petty1 was born on Monday, 26 May, 1623, at the house of his father, a poor clothier of Romsey in Hampshire.
According to the detailed account of his childhood which he gave to Aubrey, his chief amusement consisted in “looking on the artificers, e.g. smyths, the watchmaker, carpenters, joiners, etc.”2 until he “could have worked at any of their trades.” “At twelve years of age he had acquired a competent smattering of Latin,” and before his sixteenth year he was well advanced in Greek, mathematics and navigation. It was, perhaps, in his fourteenth year that Petty was overtaken by an accident which gave him opportunity to turn his precocity to good account. After some ten months' service as cabin boy on an English merchantman, he had the misfortune to break his leg. Hereupon the crew set him ashore on the French coast, not far from Caen. The unhappy lad, thus left to shift for himself, recounted his misfortunes in Latin so excellent that the Jesuit fathers of that city not only cared for him but straightway admitted him a pupil of their college1 . Here he prosecuted his former studies and incidentally learned the French language as well. Meanwhile he supported himself in part by teaching navigation to a French officer and English to a gentleman who desired to visit England—Latin serving, apparently, as the medium of communication in both cases—and in part by traffic in “pittiful brass things with cool'd glasse in them instead of diamonds and rubies.” Upon his return to England he appears to have spent some months in the Royal Navy, but in 1643, “when the civil war betwixt the King and Parliament grew hot,” he joined the army of English refugees in the Netherlands and “vigorously followed his studies, especially that of medicine,” at Utrecht, Leyden2 and Amsterdam. By November, 1645, he had made his way to Paris where he continued his anatomical studies, reading Vesalius with Hobbes and forming many acquaintances in the group of scholars that gathered around Father Mersen and the Marquis of Newcastle. In the following year he returned to Romsey, and appears to have taken up for a time the business formerly carried on by his father3 . At Romsey he busied himself also with an instrument for double writing, which he had so far completed by March, 1647, that a patent upon it was then granted him for a term of seventeen years. In November, if not earlier, he went to London with the intention of selling this device4 . His expectations were not realized, and it may be inferred from his subsequent remarks upon patent monopolies5 that his career as an inventor proved far from gainful. In London Petty was “admitted into several clubbs of the virtuosi,” and secured the friendship, among others, of Milton's friend, Samuel Hartlib, to whom he addressed the “Advice of W. P. for the Advancement of some Particular Parts of Learning1 .” It was upon Hartlib's encouragement, also, that he began his abortive “History of Trades2 .”
In 1648 Petty removed from London to Oxford, where the University had been recently reorganized by the parliamentary party. He was soon made deputy to Clayton, the professor of anatomy, and succeeded him in January, 1650, “Dr Clayton resigning his interest” in the professorship “purposely to serve him.” Meanwhile he had become a doctor of medicine and a fellow of Brasenose College3 , and, in December, 1650, had added to his reputation by participating in the reanimation of one Ann Green, a wench hanged at Oxford for the supposed murder of her child4 . At about the same time he was chosen vice-principal of Brasenose and professor of music in Gresham College. The vice-principalship he retained until 9 August, 1659, the Gresham professorship until 8 March, 16605 . In April, 1651, the visitors to the University had granted him the unusual favour of two years’ leave of absence, with an allowance of £30 per annum6 . The occasion of this grant and the nature of his occupation during the next few months are unknown; Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice conjectures that he travelled. However that may be, there soon came to him an appointment which exercised a determining influence upon the entire course of his subsequent life; he was made physician to the army in Ireland and to the family and person of the Lieutenant-General. Thenceforward his chief interests, both material and intellectual, were intimately connected with affairs beyond St George's Channel.
As physician to the army Petty resided in Ireland nearly seven years, returning to England in 16591 as the bearer of Henry Cromwell's letter of acquiescence in the government set up by the Rump. It was during this first period of his Irish residence that he made the “Down Survey” of Ireland2 , a work which laid the foundation of his fortune and constituted his earliest title to fame. After the suppression of the Irish rebellion of 1641 the government prepared to distribute the forfeited lands of the rebels, one moiety among the soldiers of the victorious army, the other among the adventurers who, under the provisions of 17 Car. I., c. 34, had advanced money for the army's support. As a preliminary to the proposed distribution, it was necessary that the situation and area of the forfeited holdings be determined. When Petty first reached Ireland he found a survey for this purpose already in progress. He soon concluded that this survey was being “most insufficiently and absurdly managed” by its director, one Benjamin Worsley, and he promptly proposed to make a more satisfactory survey himself3 . This he promised to complete, duly set down in maps and books, within a year and a month. After much discussion his proposals were accepted, 11 December, 1654, but the time for the completion of the survey was afterwards extended to thirteen months from February, 1655. Petty thus agreed to measure and record, on a scale of forty perches to an inch, all forfeited lands, profitable and unprofitable, set aside for the satisfaction of the officers and soldiers,—the so-called “army lands”—down to the smallest recognized civil denominations. He also undertook to survey and map, for general use and upon a smaller scale, the bounds of all baronies, whether forfeited or not, in all counties which contained forfeited lands. By March, 1656, the survey of the army lands was virtually completed, and he applied to the Council for payment and for release from his bond. His work was referred to a committee representing the army and was by them pronounced satisfactory. Worsley, on the contrary, pointed out a number of minor errors. These were such, in Petty's view, as should “bee not charged uppon” him “as faults” but rather such accidents and disasters as ever attend vast and variable undertakings1 .” Nevertheless he attempted a detailed answer to Worsley's objections. General Larcom, a judge eminently competent, declares that he met the charges “satisfactorily, indeed triumphantly: for whatever shortcomings or blemishes might be detected in so great a work, performed with such extraordinary rapidity, over so great an extent of country at the same time, there can be no doubt that, on the whole, it exceeded the articles of agreement, and that the delay which will be seen to have taken place in the payment, was vexatious and unjust.” Nevertheless Petty was obliged to wage a prolonged contest for his rights, the final order for his payment being postponed until March, 1657, while his bond was not released until December of the same year. The publication of the results of the general survey, on the other hand, appears to have been delayed for several years2 .
The completion of the Down Survey of the army lands by no means concluded Petty's “services and sufferings” in Ireland. On the 7th July, 1656, he was named a member of the commission to distribute among the officers and soldiers the forfeited lands which he had surveyed. Vincent Gookin, one of his associates on the commission, presently departed for England to attend Parliament, and fear of offending military friends deterred the other member, Major Miles Symner, from taking an active part in its labours1 . Petty was therefore, obliged, “to manage the executive part of that vast and intricate work, as if it were alone, Few other Commissioners (for fear of falling into some Error) adventuring to do business without” him, “Whereby all displeasures real or imaginary, were accounted not onely” his “Permission but Commission: Not onely” his “simple Act, but design, contrivance and revenge2 .” Working thus single-handed, he set out their lands to the army with such dispatch that the distribution was completed in February, 1657. Meanwhile he had begun, in conjunction with Worsley, a survey of the adventurers’ moiety of the forfeited lands. Distribution based upon this survey was delayed by disagreements among the adventurers at London until finally, in May, 1658, the patience of the Lord Deputy was exhausted by their indecision and he sent Petty to treat with them for the appointment of a commission which should adjust their claims out of hand. Upon his arrival in London, Petty found the adventurers already in receipt of an anonymous communication from Dublin, alleging that he intended if possible to cheat them as, it was charged, he had cheated the army. In the face of this charge he won the entire confidence of the adventurers’ committee, and was provided by them with a petition to the Council at Dublin requesting “that, instead of all the said Commissioners, Dr Petty alone may bee authorized and approved by your Lordshipps, to act as well in behalfe of your Lordshipps as the adventurers, as a person best able to give the business a dispatch3 .” The news of his triumph at London stirred up Petty's enemies at Dublin to prepare a second letter—Petty called it a libel4 —directed ostensibly to the adventurers and assuring them that his dishonesty in surveying and setting out the army lands had gone unpunished only because of his position as a clerk of the Council and prime favourite of the Lord Deputy. By prearrangement this letter was intercepted on its way to London and was brought to the attention of Henry Cromwell. Cromwell, whose confidence in Petty never wavered, at once referred the charges to a committee of seven officers. “Whilst these things were doeing in Ireland, the doctor rides night and day from London, in the end of December , and through many hazards comes to Dublyn, God having kept him safe in the greatest storme that ever was knowne, as he thankfully construed it, to preserve him for his vindication.” At Petty's request the officers’ committee already appointed was increased by the addition of “the Receiver-General, Auditors-General, and one Mr Jeoffryes, a person well reputed for his integrity and skill in accompts, that, having given a satisfactory accompt unto these able and proper ministers of the State, he might all under one bee discharged both from the State and armyes further question or suspicion.” A majority of the committee as thus constituted declared the charges to be without foundation. Three of the officers, a minority of the original committee, for a time dissented from this finding, but eventually, affecting to believe that in a new attack brought against Petty from an unexpected quarter “his Excellency himselfe was strucke att,” they declined to “muddle or make further in the business.”
The scruples of the officers in Ireland were by no means groundless. The death of the Lord Protector had reanimated the purely parliamentarian party of the army in England to an activity that boded no good to his sons. Petty was, throughout his life, a firm supporter of the family of Cromwell, and it was as Henry Cromwell's friend that he had been elected member for West Looe in Richard's parliament. It is not surprising, therefore, that the charges of bribery and breach of trust now preferred against him in the House of Commons by Sir Jerome Sanchey1 should have appeared to the officers at Dublin as a blow struck at the Lord Deputy himself. A letter from speaker Bampfield2 brought Sanchey's3 charges to Petty's attention: On the day set for his reply he appeared in the House and defended himself with great moderation. The charges were vague and there was no proof. In so extensive and difficult a work as the distribution of the army's lands it was inevitable that he should make many enemies, while he had the opportunity to make scarce any friends. He had nothing to conceal. He had often endeavoured to bring himself to a trial, but his adversaries had now done more for him than he was ever able to do for himself: they had brought him to the very fountam of justice and he willingly threw himself into it to be washed of all that was foul and superfluous. The manner of his trial and vindication he committed to the wisdom and justice of the House, asking only that instead of Sanchey's heaps of calumnies and reproach, he might receive a more distinct and particular charge, whereby he might be put in a way to vindicate himself effectually. Sanchey replied in a speech which, as reported by Petty, is remarkable for its violence and incoherence1 The House lost all patience with him and he was ordered to bring in his charges in writing. The next day, 22 April, Richard Cromwell dissolved Parliament and Petty was once more defrauded of his desired vindication.
Upon the dissolution of Parliament Petty hastened to Ireland, but soon returned to England again, being sent by Henry Cromwell to Fleetwood as one whom he could best trust now his nearest concernments were at stake2 . Sanchey, now a person of importance in the republican reaction, took advantage of Petty's presence in London to present to the Rump Parliament, 12 July, no less than eleven “new Articles of high misdemeanours, frauds, breach of trusts and several other crimes “chargeable against him. The Rump promptly referred them to the Commissioners for Ireland, before whom they never came to trial. The possibility of an official vindication being thus precluded, Petty resolved to carry his case before the bar of public opinion. With this end in view he published a succinct account of the dispute with Sanchey down to 13 July, 16591 , and the succeeding year he followed it up with a volume of nearly two hundred pages2 describing the work of survey and distribution, answering the charges brought against him, and explaining how they arose “from the envy and hatred of several parties promiscuously” and “from particular designing persons and parties” in Ireland. About October, 1659, he also prepared for the press, at great length, a History of the Down Survey3 containing what he regarded as a complete vindication of his conduct, and two further works, now probably lost, upon the same subject.4
Among the clubs of the virtuosl to which, as Petty's will relates, it was his privilege to be admitted5 soon after he came to London,6 none is more memorable than that company of “capacious and searching spirits inquisitive into natural philosophy and other parts of human knowledge,” whose habit it was to meet for discussion either at Dr Goddard's lodgings in Wood Street or at the Bull's Head Tavern in Cheapside7 . There is no evidence that Petty was an original member of this company. But it appears probable that he was early invited to join their Invisible College8 , and it is certain that when parliamentary reorganization of the more visible colleges at Oxford brought Goddard, Wallis, Wilkins, and other followers of the new philosophy to the venerable home of the old, they there found in Petty an enthusiastic colleague. Their Oxford meetings were held first in his lodgings at the apothecary's because of the convenience of examining drugs and the like when there was an occasion, “and after his removal to Ireland (though not so constantly) at the lodgings of Dr Wilkins1 .” Those of the company who remained in London meanwhile continued their inquiries in a somewhat desultory manner until the Restoration brought back to the city the more prominent members of the Oxford branch, when it became necessary to change their place of meeting from the Bull's Head to the halls of Gresham College. Here the reunited company was in the habit of assembling for the discussion of questions in natural philosophy. They met regularly on Wednesdays and Thursdays, after the astronomy lectures of Christopher Wren and the geometry lectures of Lawrence Rooke2 , and on Wednesday, the 28th of November, 1660, after Wren's lecture, the conversation chancing to turn upon foreign institutions for promoting physico-mathematical experimental learning, the company then present, of whom Petty was one, resolved to improve this meeting to a more regular way of debating things and that they might do something answerable and according to the manner in other countryes for the promoting of experimental philosophy3 . Among those who, in pursuance of this plan, were invited to read papers before the association thus informally organized, Petty's name appears repeatedly4 , and when, with fitting circumstance, the association was incorporated (15 July, 1662) as the Royal Society for Improving of Natural Knowledge, he was named a charter member of its council.
Petty's famous plan for a “double bottomed” vessel, a sort of catamaran, which should excel in swiftness, weatherliness and stability any “single body” afloat, was probably set forth in one of his papers5 before the Society. To demonstrate the correctness of his views he built at least three such “sluice boats.” The first was laid down at Dublin in 1662. She distinguished herself by beating all the boats in the harbour, and subsequently outsailed the Holyhead packet, the swiftest vessel that the King had there. Hereupon Petty brought her to England1 , where, probably through the intervention of his friend Pepys, the attention of the Duke of York, then Lord High Admiral, and eventually the notice of the King himself was turned to the novel craft. Charles II. appears to have combined wonder at Petty's energy with quizzical amusement at his numerous projects. He at first chaffed the naviarchal Doctor without mercy2 , but relented sufficiently to attend the launching of a new Double Bottom which he dubbed “The Experiment3 .” She also proved herself a swift sailor, but was presently lost in the Irish Channel. This disaster, followed by the burning of several of his London houses in the great fire and by the adverse decisions of some of his Irish law suits4 , restrained Petty from further shipbuilding experiments for nearly a score of years; but in 1682, while he was considering the establishment at Dublin of a philosophical society similar to that of London, the fit of the Double Bottom, as he tells us, did return very fiercely upon him. His new vessel, however, performed as abominably, as if built on purpose to disappoint in the highest degree every particular that was expected of her and caused him to stagger in much that he had formerly said. But so much did he prefer truth before vanity and imposture that he resolved to spend his life in examining the greatest and noblest of all machines, a ship, and if he found just cause for it to write a book against himself5 .
The Restoration brought Petty no misfortune. A royal letter dated 2 Jan., 16606 , secured to him all lands that he had held on the 7th May, 1659, and the Acts of Settlement and of Explanation confirmed them to him by name. Like other owners of forfeited lands in Ireland, he suffered by the operation of the Court of Innocents in 1662, and was never able to convince himself that all who claimed innocency were in fact innocent1 . But in spite of his losses, he retained large Irish estates, and, in evidence of the King's approval, he was knighted2 and appears to have been appointed Surveyor-General of Ireland3 . The duties of this office at the time cannot have been more than nominal, for Petty continued to reside in London. During the Plague he withdrew to Durdens in Surrey where Evelyn found him, with Dr Wilkins and Mr Hooke, busied in contriving mechanical inventions4 .
In the spring of 1666 Petty was once more called to Ireland by the operations of the Court of Claims, and took up his residence in Dublin. During the ensuing period of his second prolonged stay in Ireland, he thoroughly identified himself with the material interests of that kingdom. As an army physician and surveyor of forfeitures, he had felt himself at most but a sojourner. As a Kerry landholder, able from Mount Mangerton in that country to behold 50,000 acres of his own land5 , he found abundant occupation, first in defending his titles during the sessions of the Court of Claims, and subsequently in managing his property. The uncertainity of titles in Ireland was great. “The Truth is,” said Essex, “ye Lands of Ireland have bin a meer scramble6 .” Flaws and defects of various sorts, based on allegations of illegal forfeiture, or of unpaid quit rents, were being continually found out, and it had become “A principal trade in Ireland to…prevail with persons conversant with the Higher Powers to give grants of these Discoveries, and thereupon, right or wrong, to vex the Prosecutors1 .” Petty by no means escaped such attacks. He refused to compromise, and in consequence his time was so fully occupied with defending himself that in 1667 he grimly entered “Lawsuits” as his only work accomplished2 .
Upon his escape from “the fire of this legal purgatory” Petty at once set about the improvement of what remained. His household was established at Dublin3 , but his most extensive possessions were at Kenmare in Kerry, and there he gradually built up an “industrial colony” of protestants. To this enterprise he gave the closest attention, making the difficult overland journey to that “obscure corner of the world twice a year through thick and thin4 .” The prospect was not encouraging. His Irish neighbours were hostile, and of Kenmare itself a well informed contemporary reported that while the harbours were very good for ships to load at, the place was so rocky and bare that it would hardly maintain people enough to keep a brogue-maker employed5 . But there were compensating advantages. The remote bay abounded with salmon. Abundance of wood made charcoal cheap and therefore he established iron and copper works, hoping vainly to discover Irish ores for their supply. The protestant colonists prospered in trade, as he had observed the heterodox everywhere to do1 , and Kenmare clearly demonstrated what thrift, backed by sufficient capital and directed by conspicuous shrewdness, could do for the real settlement of Ireland even under Charles II. After the accession of James II. the colonists fell victims to the jealousy of the surrounding Irish, whose violence was encouraged by Tyrconnel's policy, and thus the most successful of Petty's numerous experiments finally came to naught2 .
As Petty's stake in the prosperity of Ireland grew larger, his interest in the affairs of the kingdom likewise increased. He had been a member of the Irish parliament of the Restoration3 , and one of the commissioners appointed to execute the Act of Settlement, he had taken a prominent part in opposing the bill which prohibited the importation of Irish cattle into England4 , and he had even attempted, though apparently quite ignorant of the law, to fill the position of a judge of admiralty; but the incidental discharge of these public duties had little or no effect upon the subsequent course of his life. His concern with the public revenues of Ireland was far more significant. As early as 1662 he had “frequently applied to present state and affairs of Ireland” certain of the conclusions reached in his “Treatise of Taxes.” To the mere theoretical interest in the subject thus evinced, the events of later years added an interest of a very practical character. In 1668 charges of mismanagement of the Irish revenues were brought against Ormond, the Lord Lieutenant, and Anglesey, the Lord Treasurer5 , by certain persons who desired to farm the revenues themselves. Their intrigue was successful, and the King agreed with them for seven years from Christmas, 1668, for £219,500 per annum6 . The management of the new farm was both unsatisfactory to the exchequer and oppressive to the subject1 . Especially did the energy of the farmers in collecting alleged arrears of quit-rents stir the landowners thus charged to active resistance. Among them was Petty. He promptly took up a “legal fight with the farmers,” an account of which occupies for several years a large space in his correspondence with Southwell. His tone makes it evident that a considerable spice of personal animosity was thus added to his previous disgust with the inequalities of Irish taxation and in part explains his subsequent conduct. As the time drew near for the farm of 1668 to expire, he resolved to carry the war into the enemy's camp. Accordingly in the latter part of 1673 he made his way to London and became a bidder, on what he considered a reformed basis, for the new farm beginning Christmas Day, 1675. It appears that an agreement with him was actually made2 but Ranelagh's influence with Buckingham was sufficient to procure its abrogation and the substitution of the scandalous contract under which Ranelagh, Lord Kingston, and Sir James Shaen continued to mismanage the finances of Ireland until Ormond finally exposed them3 . Meanwhile Petty remained more than two years in London, renewing his old acquaintances and becoming once more a member of the Council of the Royal Society4 .
In the summer5 of 1676 Petty once more took up his residence in Ireland, where, save for visits to London in the spring of 1680, he remained almost five years6 . It was during this period that he wrote the “Political Anatomy of Ireland,” the “Political Arithmetick,” and the “Observations on the Dublin Bills7 .” He also fell into a new quarrel with the farmers, the result of which for a time overclouded even his invincible cheerfulness. His chief adversary, Ranelagh, being Chancellor of the Exchequer as well as farmer of the taxes, was able to procure his imprisonment for contempt of court.1 Thus vexed by the wicked works of man, he refreshed himself by pondering the wonderful works of God. The result was a Latin metrical translation of the 104th psalm, copies of which he sent with long complaints to Southwell and to Pepys. But his native whimsically soon reasserted itself. “Lord,” he exclaims, “that a man fifty-four years old should, after thirty-six years discontinuance, return to the making of verses which boys of fifteen years old can correct: and then trouble Clerks of the Council and Secretaries of the Admiralty with them.2 “
The reappointment of Ormond in 1677 to the Lord Lieutenancy of Ireland, in the room of Essex, whose opinon of Petty was not high3 brought about a lull in his dispute with the farmers, and after his recovery from the illness which had alarmed him in November of that year, there remained nothing to mar his pleasure in the prosperity of his affairs. He even began to think seriously of the possibility of exercising greater influence in public matters. About the time of his marriage he had been approached concerning a peerage. The condition then suggested was the payment of such a sum as, in view of his recent losses, Petty did not care to spend “in the market of ambition,” and he thanked the royal emissary with scant courtesy.4 In 1679, when Temple was planning to remodel the Irish Privy Council upon the same lines that he had followed in England and the protestant party at court had marked Petty for appointment to the reconstituted body,5 the offer of a peerage was again made to him. He seems in the mean time to have changed his opinion of “people who make use of titles and tools” and accordingly he made a journey to London, apparently with the intention of securing both the title and the seat at the Council table.1 But Charles II. answered the protestants that by their good leave he would chose his own council for Ireland, and Petty fearing that “a bare title without some trust might seem to the world a body without soul or spirit2 ,” declined the peerage for a second time. Perhaps he consoled himself, as on the previous occasion, by reflecting that he “had rather be a copper farthing of intrinsic value than a brass half-crown, how gaudily soever it be stamped and guilded.”
Upon his return to Ireland, 22 March, 1680, his old controversy with the farmers broke out again, and the vigour of his attack upon their abuses3 attracted such attention that he was summoned to London in June, 1682, to take part in the discussion then going on before the Privy Council, as to the reorganization of the Irish revenues. He proposed the abolition of the farm, which was finally accomplished, and the imposition of a heavy ale license. Apparently he was not adverse to undertaking the direct collection of the taxes himself, but “by good luck” he “never solicited anybody in the case.” His old rival, Sir James Shaen, now offered to increase the King's revenue nearly £80,000 a year upon a new farm—” a farm indeed, as it was drawn up” says Temple, “not of the revenue but of the crown of Ireland4 “But the powerful influence of Essex, whom Temple charges with intriguing for a reappoinment to the Lord Lieutenancy, was thrown in Shaen's favour, Petty was represented by some to be a conjurer and by some to be notional and fanciful near up to madness5 the needs of the Exchequer were urgent, and the plan that promised ready cash was adopted. Deeply disappointed, Petty returned to Ireland in the summer of 1683 and solaced himself with a journey into Kerry, and presently with a renewal of the experiments that had occupied his mind some twenty years before1 . He built a new double bottom and was active in the establishment of the Dublin Philosophical Society2 , for which he wrote several papers.3
News of the accession of James II caused Petty to return to London in the early summer of 1685. The new occupant of the royal office had been not less gracious to him than was his predecessor, and Petty fancied the time now ripe to secure for Ireland the adminstrative reforms on which his heart was set. His plans for the revision of the farm and for the establishment, under his own supervision, of an Irish statistical office4 seemed for a time to be going well, and he attributed undue importance to the interviews which the King granted him5 upon this and other Irish matters. It was not until later that he appreciated the extent to which, under the new regime, his own personal interests were being drawn to his disadvantage into the larger currents of public affairs. Among the policies which, from time to time, were indistinctly indicated by the vacillations of James II., that looking towards independence of Louis XIV. and the resumption by England of a leading place in the affairs of Europe appealed to Petty with peculiar force. Ten years before, in the “Political Arithmetick,” he had argued England's material fitness for such a place, and had proved, to his own satisfaction at least, that in wealth and strength she was potentially, if not actually, as considerable as France. He now reverted to the same theme, writing a series of essays, in order, by the methods of his political arithmetick, to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the King that London was the greatest city in the world. These efforts excited some attention among the curious, both at home and abroad6 , but they produced no traceable effect upon the policy of James II.
Petty appears to have realized that independence of France demanded harmony at home, and to have welcomed James's Declarations of Indulgence as wise measures for the unification of national sentiment. Knowing as he did the immense material preponderance of the protestant interest both in England1 and especially in Ireland2 —a preponderance of which he did his best to convince the King by written and by oral argument3 —he was unable to believe that the Declarations, whose sentiments quite accorded with his own views4 were really issued in the sole interest of the Roman Catholics, and he continued to regard the boastings of Tyrconnel and the extreme Irish faction as without foundation in the intentions of the king5 . But at length tidings of the alarm prevalent among the English protestants in Ireland, and especially the news that McCarthy had been appointed governor of the province of Kerry, brought home to him the danger with which he himself, as well as the other protestants in Ireland, were threatened.
It is not certain whether Petty lived to know that Kenmare was destroyed. For some months he had been unwell. In spite of a “great lameness” he attended the annual dinner of the Royal Society on St Andrew's day. He went home ill. His foot gangrened and on December 16 he died at his house in Piccadilly.
On Trinity Sunday, June 2, 1667, Petty had married Elizabeth, daughter of his old friend Sir Hardress Waller, and widow of Sir Maurice Fenton. Though Lady Petty, “a very beautifull and ingeniose lady, browne, with glorious eies1 ,” was much younger than her husband and of a taste as magnificent as his was simple2 , their married life was most happy. Nowhere does Petty appear to greater advantage than in his letters to his wife, and her letters to him fully bear out Evelyn's judgment, “she was an extraordinary wit as well as beauty and a prudent woman.”
Three of Petty's contemporaries, men of different temperaments and attainments, have put on record their impressions of him. John Aubrey says that he was a proper handsome man, measured six-foot high, with a good head of brown hair moderately turning up. His eyes were a kind of goose-grey, very short sighted and as to aspect beautiful; they promised sweetness of nature and they did not deceive, for he was a marvellous good natured person. His eye-brows were thick, dark and straight, his head very large. Evelyn declared him so exceeding nice in sifting and examining all possible contingencies that he ventured at nothing which is not demonstration. There was not in the whole world his equal for a superintendent of manufactures and improvement of trade, or to govern a plantation. “If I were a prince, I should make him my second counsellor at least. There is nothing difficult to him… Sir William was, with all this, facetious and of easy conversation, friendly and courteous, and had such a faculty of imitating others that he would take a text and preach, now like a grave orthodox divine, then falling into the Presbyterian way, then to the fanatical, the Quaker, the monk and friar, the Popish priest, with such admirable action and alteration of voice and tone, as it was not possible to abstain from wonder, and one would swear to hear several persons, or forbear to think he was not in good earnest an enthusiast and almost beside himself; then, he would fall out of it into a serious discourse; but it was very rarely he would be prevailed on to oblige the company with this faculty, and that only amongst most intimate friends. My Lord Duke of Ormond once obtained it of him, and was almost ravished with admiration; but bye and bye, he fell upon a serious reprimand of the faults and miscarriages of some Princes and Governors, which, though he named none, did so sensibly touch the Duke, who was then Lieutenant of Ireland, that he began to be very uneasy, and wished the spirit laid which he had raised, for he was neither able to endure such truths, nor could he but be delighted. At last, he melted his discourse to a ridiculous subject, and came down from the joint stool on which he had stood; but my lord would not have him preach any more. He never could get favour at Court, because he outwitted all the projectors who came near him. Having never known such another genius, I cannot but mention these particulars, among a multitude of others that I could produce.” And Pepys, who had heard everybody, found Petty “the most rational man that ever he heard speak with a tongue.”
John Graunt, the author of the “Natural and Political Observations upon the Bills of Mortality” was the son of Henry Graunt, a Hampshire man1 but a citizen of London2 , who carried on the business of a draper at the sign of the Seven Stars in Birchin Lane. Of the eight children born to Henry Graunt and Mary, his wife, John, who first saw the light between seven and eight in the morning of April 24th, 1620, was probably the eldest3 . While a boy he had been educated in English learning and he afterwards acquired Latin and French by studying mornings before shop-time. There is also some indication that he was not lacking in artistic tastes. He was apparently not only the friend of samuel Cooper, the miniaturist4 , and of the portrait painter John Hayls5 , but he was also a collector himself. Pepys found his prints “indeed the best collection of anything almost that ever I saw, there being the prints of most of the greatest houses, churches and antiquitys in Italy and France, and brave cutts6 .” Graunt was bound apprentice to a haberdasher of small wares, and he mostly followed that trade, though free of the Drapers’ Company. That he became a person of standing in his world we have ample assurance. He went through all the offices of the City as far as common council-man, bearing that office two years. He was known as a great peacemaker and was often chosen an arbitrator between disputing merchants. He had, before the completion of his thirtieth year, sufficient influence to secure for his friend Petty the professorship of music at Gresham College1 , and at the time of the Fire he had become “an opulent merchant of London, of great weight and consideration in the city2 .” So much, in large part but inference, it is still possible to collect concerning the earlier career of John Graunt, citizen and draper. It is, however, to his “Observations upon the Bills of Mortality,” first published in 1662, that Graunt owes whatever posthumous reputation he has attained, and the merit of that book is great enough to entitle him to wider fame than he has achieved.
Why Graunt began his examination of the London Bills, or when, we can but conjecture. He himself speaks of his studies with a certain lightness. Having engaged his thoughts, he knew not by what accident, upon the bills of mortality, he happened to make observations, for he designed them not, which have fallen out to be both political and natural3 . Thus does Graunt insist, somewhat over-elaborately, upon the casualness of studies which must, in fact, have demanded both time and patience. In the appendix to the third edition, however, after the recognized success of the “Observations” had established their author's position in the scientific world, he speaks with more assurance of his “long and serious perusal of all the bills of mortality which this great city hath afforded for almost four score years4 .” This is certainly in strong contrast not only to the apologetic air of the original dedication, but also to the care with which, in the preface to the first edition, the tradesman-author excused himself, as it were, to the philosophers of Gresham College, for his presumption in invading the field of scientific investigation. He had observed that the weekly bills were put by those who took them in to little use other than to furnish a text to talk upon in the next company5 ; and he “thought that the Wisdom of our City had certainly designed in the laudable practice of taking and distributing these Accompts for other and greater uses…or at least that some other uses might be made of them.” It is probably to the latter suggestion, supplied perhaps by his friend Petty, and perhaps by Graunt's own “excellent working head,” rather than to his belief in the prescience of the corporation of London that we owe the writing of the “Observations.”
The preface to the first edition of the “Observations” is dated 25 January, 166½. They met apparently a favourable reception. Before they had been in print two months, Pepys, ever alert to hear some new thing, was buying a copy at Westminster Hall1 . To others, as to him, they must have “appeared at first sight to be very pretty,” for a new edition was called for within the year2 . The greatest compliment however, which Graunt received on account of his book, and doubtless the compliment which he most appreciated, was his election into the Royal Society. The 5th February, 1662, fifty copies of the “Observations” were presented by Dr Whistler on behalf of the author to the “Society of Philosophers meeting at Gresham Colledg.” The epistle dedicatory to their president, Sir Robert Moray, was at once read, whereupon thanks were ordered to be returned to Graunt, and he was proposed a candidate3 . Bishop Sprat says that Graunt was recommended to the Royal Society—for as such the Society of Philosophers were presently incorporated—by no one less than the King himself, and that “in his election it was so far from being a prejudice that he was a shopkeeper of London, that His Majesty gave this particular charge to His Society, that if they found any more such tradesmen, they should be sure to admit them all, without any more ado4 .” The Society, however, seems to have had, even thus early in its history, a fitting sense of its own dignity. At any rate it took adequate precautions that Graunt be not admitted until his fitness for membership had been established beyond question. On the 12th February a formidable committee, composed of Sir William Petty, Dr Needham, Dr Wilkins, Dr Goddard, Dr Whistler, and Dr Ent, was appointed to examine the book. Their report is not preserved by Birch, but it must have been favourable, for 26th February Graunt was elected a fellow of the Society. In spite of his assertion, in the epistle dedicatory to Sir Robert Moray, that he was none of their number nor had the least ambition to be so5 , Graunt promptly accepted the election and subscribed his name at the next meeting of the Society6 . His connection with the Royal Society appears to have been, on the whole, rather formal than vital. He was, indeed, for some five years after his election a frequent attendant at its meetings, he proposed one candidate, Sir John Portman, for election as a member, he served on several committees, and he was even a member of the Council of the Society from 30 Nov., 1664 to 11 April, 1666. He took, however, but small part in the scientific proceedings. Only once did he make a communication in any way similar to his “Observations,” and in that communication1 , although he spoke of the rapid increase of carp by generation, what obviously interested him was not, as we might have expected, the increase of the fish in numbers, but rather their growth in size.
The disappearance of Graunt's name from the minutes of the Royal Society's meetings after 1666 must be accounted one of the results of his large losses by the Fire of London. Even with the substantial assistance of his devoted friend Petty2 , Graunt could not recover from the business reverses he then sustained. His conversion from protestantism to the Roman Catholic Church3 seems also to have worked to his disadvantage in worldly matters, and his affairs went from bad to worse until his death, 18 April, 1674. He was buried in St Dunstan's church, Fleet Street. “A great number of ingeniose persons attended him to his grave. Among others, with teares, was that great ingeniose virtuoso, Sir William Petty.”
Of the esteem in which John Graunt was held by his contemporaries we have sufficient evidence. His old acquaintance Richard Smith, the famous book-collector, esteemed him “an understanding man of quick witt and a pretty schollar4 .” Pepys, who also knew him well, considered his “most excellent discourses” well worth hearing5 .” Aubrey, who had found him “a pleasant facetious companion and very hospitable,” declares that “his death was lamented by all good men that had the happinesse to knowe him1 .” And Anthony à-Wood, professing to give only “an exact history of all the bishops and writers who have had their education in the most antient and famous University of Oxford,” goes out of his way to append to a sketch of Edward Grant, the classicist, an account of this man who owed his education to no university. The account begins with these enthusiastic words, “Now that I am got into the name of Grant I cannot without the guilt of concealment but let you know some things of the most ingenious person, considering his education and employment, that his time hath produced.… The said John Graunt was an ingenious and studious person, generally beloved, was a faithful friend, a great peace-maker, and one that had often been chosen for his prudence and justness an arbitrator. But above all his excellent working head was much commended, and rather for this reason, that it was for the public good of learning, which is very rare in a trader or mechanic.”
THE AUTHORSHIP OF THE NATURAL AND POLITICAL OBSERVATIONS UPON THE BILLS OF MORTALITY.1
Concerning the authorship of the “Natural and Political Observations upon the Bills of Mortality “there seems at first to be no possibility of raising a question. Their title-page bears the name of Captain John Graunt, and the preface gives a plausible account of the manner in which he came to write them. At the time of their publication he was commonly reputed their author. Because of this repute he was elected a member of the Royal Society, and he accepted the membership. Such conduct by such a man would seem to leave no room for doubt that he was the author of the book issued under his name. There are, nevertheless, certain grounds for thinking that the book was in fact written not by Graunt, but by Sir William Petty. Persons who knew one or both of them have asserted that Petty was the author, and later writers2 have added certain lines of argument to the same- effect, based on internal evidence and on corroborative probabilities.
The first of Petty's friends to assert his authorship of the London Observations was John Evelyn.
In his diary, under date of March 22, 1675, Evelyn wrote:
Supp'd at S’ William Petty's with the Bp of Salisbury and divers honorable persons. We had a noble entertainment in a house gloriously furnish'd; the master and mistress of it were extraordinary persons.… He is the author of the ingenious deductions from the bills of mortality, which go under the name of Mr Graunt; also of that useful discourse of the manufacture of wool1 , and several others in the register of the Royal Society. He was also author of that paraphrase on the 104th Psalm in Latin verse2 , which goes about in MS. and is inimitable. In a word, there is nothing impenetrable to him.
The next witness for Petty—and also against him—is his intimate friend, John Aubrey, the antiquary. Aubrey assisted Anthony à-Wood in the compilation of his “Athenæ Oxonienses” by furnishing him a number of “minutes of lives3 .” From his letters to Wood concerning them4 , it appears that Aubrey began his sketch of Petty in February, 1680, and that shortly before March 27, “Sir W. P. perused my copie all over & would have all stand.” The chaotic condition of Aubrey's notes5 renders it impossible to say how much of the manuscript now in the Bodleian Library was approved by Petty, but it seems not improbable that Aubrey showed him folios 13 and 14, bringing the narrative down to Petty's departure for Ireland, 22 March, 1680. If so, we have Petty's approval of the statement (on folio 14) that he was elected professor in Gresham College by the interest of “his friend captaine John Graunt (who wrote the Observations on the Bills of Mortality)6 .” In June, 1680, Aubrey sent this manuscript to Wood7 , but he appears to have recalled it, about ten years later, for the purpose of making additions and corrections. To this later period at least a portion of the memoranda on folio 15 must be assigned, for one of them speaks of certain matters subsequent to Petty's death (1687) which have already escaped Aubrey's memory, It is not so clear that the very incomplete catalogue of Petty's writings on folio 15 was likewise added after the return of the manuscript to Aubrey, since there stand opposite two of the titles mentioned in it notes by Wood telling where copies of the books may be found. Still it is at least probable that this, like what immediately follows it on the same folio, was added by Aubrey after Petty had perused his copy all over. And the probability is heightened by the presence on folio 15 of an assertion directly contradictory to what Petty had approved in 1680. Near the end of the list of Petty's writings Aubrey writes, “Observations on the Bills of Mortality were really his.”
The third witness for Petty is Edmund Halley. Halley was the most famous of English students of the Bills of Mortality, and the vast results that have flowed from his “Estimate of the Degrees of Mortality of Mankind “predispose us to regard as authoritative anything that he may have said as to the work of his predecessors. It should be remembered, however, that Halley was a much younger man than Petty and did not become a member of the Royal Society until five years after Graunt's death. His famous memoir1 begins with these words:
The contemplation of the mortality of mankind has, besides the moral, its physical and political uses, both which have some time since been most judiciously considered by the curious Sir William Petty, in his moral and political Observations upon the Bills of Mortality of London, owned by Captain John Graunt. And since in a like treatise on the Bills of Mortality of Dublin.… But the deductions from those bills of mortality seemed even to their authors [sic] to be defective.
Bishop Burnet, the fourth of Petty's contemporaries to assert his authorship of the Observations, had no such interest in them as did Halley indeed his allusion to the subject is merely casual. In the first volume of his “History of his own Time,” published in 1723, but probably written before 1705, he makes the charge2 that Graunt, being a member of the New River Company, stopped the pipes at Islington the night before the London fire, September 2, 1666. Burnet's account of this alleged occurrence begins: “There was one Graunt, a papist, under whose name Sir William Petty published his observations on the bills of mortality.”
Such is the direct testimony for Petty. The direct testimony in favour of Graunt comes from five sources. First, from the work whose authorship is in issue. Four editions of the “Observations” published during his lifetime and one published by Petty after Graunt's death, all bear on their title-pages Graunt's name as author. Second, Petty's own testimony in his books and in his private correspondence. In his acknowledged writings he mentions the Observations at least seventeen times3 . In nine of these instances Graunt's name is mentioned, in seven he is not named, and in the remaining case, the “Political Arithmetick,” as printed in 1690, makes Petty speak of “the observators upon the bills of mortality.” Since the “Political Arithmetick” was written in 1676, i.e., before Petty's own “Observations upon the Dublin Bills,” this expression might be construed as a claim by Petty to a share in the authorship of the “Observations” of 1662. But reference to the Southwell and the Rawlinson manuscripts of the “Political Arithmetick” in the Bodleian Library, bearing Petty's autograph corrections, shows conclusively that he here intended to set up no such claim1 . Moreover, in a private letter, to his most intimate friend and relative, Sir Robert Southwell (August 20, 1681), Petty twice speaks of “Graunt's” and once of “our friend Graunt's” book2 .
In contrast with Petty's direct testimony to Graunt's authorship of the London “Observations” stands the title-page of his statistical firstling, the Dublin “Observations” (1683), which reads “By the Observator on the London Bills of Mortality3 .” This might be construed as claiming the London Observations for Petty, but an explanation at least equally plausible would make it a mere bookseller's trick of Mark Pardoe4 , the publisher, to commend the Dublin “Observations” to a public that had recently greeted a fifth edition of the London “Observations” with favour. The device, if such it were, appears to have failed, for Pardoe had sheets of the Dublin “Observations” still on hand in 1686, and when he reissued them, with additions, as a “Further Observation on the Dublin Bills,” Petty's name appeared5 on the title-page, without any mention of the London “Observations.” Nor did the change occur here alone. In the first (1683) edition of “Another Essay in Political Arithmetick. By Sir William Petty,” the original Dublin “Observations” are advertised as “by the Observator on the London Bills of Mortality.” In the second edition of the Essay, published in 1686, but before the “Further Observation,” the advertisement of the original Dublin “Observations” reads: “By Sir William Petty6 .”
Contemporary testimony in favour of Graunt comes, thirdly, from the Royal Society and from various members of it. The circumstances of his election have been recounted in the preceding section7 . The opinion of the Society and of its historian as there expressed was later confirmed by its Secretary. During the Plague1 Oldenburg wrote from London:
Though we had some abatement in our last week's bill, yet we are much afraid it will run as high this week as ever. Mr Graunt, in his appendix to his Observations upon those bills (now reprinted) takes notice, that forasmuch as the people of London have, from Anno 1625 to this time, increased from eight to thirteen, so the mortality shall not exceed that of 1625, except the burials should exceed 8400 per week2 .
The case for Graunt is further strengthened by the testimony of John Bell, clerk of the Company of Parish Clerks3 . The author of the “Observations” asserts4 that he visited the hall of the Parish Clerks, and used their records in the preparation of his book. Bell, therefore, who was in charge of the Clerks'register, could scarcely have been deceived as to his identity. Now in London's Remembrancer, after explaining and defending the manner in which the bills of mortality were prepared by the Company of Parish Clerks, Bell proceeds:
I think I need not trouble myself herein [i.e., in describing the form of the bills], since that worthy and ingenious Gentleman, Captain John Graunt, in his Book of Natural and Political Observations on the Bills of Mortality, hath already so well described them.
The last of the witnesses in the case is Sir Peter Pett. Born, probably, in 1627, a member of Oxford University while Petty was there, a charter fellow of the Royal Society, Pett was a life-long friend of Sir William5 , and it is probable that he knew Graunt also6 . In 1688 Pett published a folio volume designed to vindicate the Earl of Anglesey from the charge of being a Roman Catholic7 . This gigantic pamphlet discusses many matters not germane to the charge against Anglesey, and among them England's growth in population. In the course of the discussion Pett alludes four times to the London“Observations,” but without mentioning the name of either Petty or Graunt:
If any of our monkish historians… had given the world rational estimates of the numbers of… the males then between the years of 16 and 60 [from the military returns]… we might now easily by the help we have from the Observator on the Bills of Mortality conclude, what the entire number of the people then was. [page 91.]
T is very remarkable that in the Code Louys which he [Louis XIV.] published in April, 1667, he made some ordinances with great care for the registring the christenings and marriages and burials, in each Parish… having perhaps been informed by his ministers that many political inferences, as to the knowing the number of people and their encrease in any state, are to be made from the bills of mortality, on the occasion of some such published about 3 years before by the Observator on the Bills of Mortality in England. [Pages 248–249.]
It must be acknowledged that the thanks of the age are due to the Observator on the Bills of Mortality, for those solid and rational calculations he hath brought to light, relating to the numbers of our people: but such is the modesty of that excellent author that I have often heard him wish that a thing of so great publick importance to be certainly known, might be so by an actual numbering of them…. Mr James Howel… saith, that in the year 1636… the Lord Mayor of London… took occasion to make a cense of all the people and that there were of men, women and children, above 7 hundred thousand that lived within the barrs of his jurisdiction alone… and… more now… But I am to suspect that there was no such return in the year 1636… and do suppose that Mr Howel did in that point mistake… partly because I find it mentioned by the curious Observator on the Bills of Mortality, p.113 and 114 [of the 1676 ed.] that anno 1631, ann. 7 Caroli I. the number of men, women and children in the several wards of London and liberties… came in all to but 130178, and finally because the said curious Observator (for that name I give that author after My Lord Chief Justice Hales[sic]hath given or adjudged it to him in his Origination of Mankind) having by rational calculations proved that there dyes within the Bills of Mortality a thirtieth part, or one in thirty yearly, and that there dies there 22000 per annum…. If there were there according to Howel a million and a half people, it would follow that there must dye but I out of 70 per annum.[Pages 112-113.]
We are told by the Observator on the Bills of Mortality, that anxiety of mind hinders Breeding, and from sharp anxieties of divers kinds hath the Protestant Religion rescued English minds.[Page 119.]
In these passages from Pett two peculiarities need to be explained. The first is the omission of Petty's name. If Pett regarded Petty as the author of the “Observations,” why should he consistently omit to mention him here as “Sir W. P.”—a form of reference which he repeatedly uses when speaking elsewhere of Petty's other works1 ? The second fact to be explained is Pett's manifest desire to avoid mentioning by name “that excellent author,” “the most curious Observator.” It certainly is not by chance that Pett, whose laborious book is a medley of duly credited extracts from almost all English and classical literature, instead of mentioning the author of the “Observations,” here carefully took refuge behind a quotation—or rather a misquotation2 —from Sir Matthew Hale. I believe that Pett's peculiar course at this point can be best explained on the assumption that he considered Graunt the author of the work. He was attempting, at a time when Oates’ absurd stories of the popish plot were still heartily believed3 , to vindicate Anglesey from the charge of leaning towards Roman Catholicism. He was therefore careful not to betray any sympathy with the Romanists. Now according to Wood, when Graunt had been a major two or three years, he
then laid down his trade and all public employments upon account of religion. For though he was puritanically bred, and had several years taken sermon-notes by his most dextrous and incomparable faculty in short-writings and afterwards did profess himself for some time a Socinian, yet in his later days he turned Roman Catholic, in which persuasion he zealously lived for some time and died.
May not this explain Pett's obvious unwillingness to praise the author of the “Observations,” Graunt, by name? Pett does not afford demonstration, but he furnishes corroboration.
The second line of argument includes all appeals to internal evidence, whether advanced by supporters of Graunt or of Petty. Here again the supporters of Petty shall speak first. Between parts of the “Observations” and portions of his acknowledged writings they find numerous similarities so striking as to constitute, in the opinion of Dr Bevan, an effective way of testing the question of authorship1 . An examination of these parallel passages reveals their very unequal significance for the present discussion. For example, the remark in both the London “Observations” and the “Treatise of Taxes” concerning the causes of the westward growth of London cannot be used to establish their common authorship, John Evelyn having set the idea afloat in the preceding year2 . In like manner the talk about equalizing the parishes was a current commonplace of the Restoration3 . On the other hand the remaining parallels, especially that between Graunt's Conclusion (pp. 395–397, post) and various passages in Petty's writings, are doubtless important.
In addition to these parallel passages, other bits of internal evidence have been adduced by the supporters of Petty. “The most notable thing in the first few pages of the ‘Bills,’” says Dr Bevan, “is the amount of space devoted to a description of different diseases. They are described with a familiarity and precision which only a physician could be expected to have4 .” Upon a layman the discussions in chapters two and three of the similarities between rickets and liver-growth, and between the green sickness, stopping of the stomach, mother, and rising of the lights, undoubtedly make a learned impression. Whether they were in fact the discussions of a learned or of an ignorant man, a specialist in the history of English medicine before Sydenham could probably say. But one need not be a medical antiquarian to see that, in the most elaborate of these discussions, the one concerning rickets and liver growth, and indeed, throughout all the discussions of this sort, the method of the writer of the “Observations” is distinctly statistical, is marked, indeed, by considerable statistical acuteness, and is scarcely at all diagnostic or pathological, as a physician's method, nowadays at any rate, would probably be. He enquires whether the same disease has been returned in different years under different rubrics; and he finds his answer by investigating the fluctuations from year to year in the number of deaths from each. Moreover, it is in the midst of these discussions of diseases that the variations in the number of those who died of rickets from year to year provokes this curious passage:
Now, such back-startings seem to be universal in all things; for we do not only see in the progressive motion of wheels of Watches, and in the rowing of Boats, that there is a little starting or jerking backwards between every step forwards, but also (if I am not much deceived) there appeared the like in the motion of the Moon, which in the long Telescopes at Gresham College one may sensibly discern. [Page 358 post.]
De Morgan points out1 the improbability that “that excellent machinist, Sir William Petty, who passed his day among the astronomers,” should attribute to the motion of the moon in her orbit all the tremors which she gets from a shaky telescope2 .
Other peculiarities of the “Observations” which are held by Dr Bevan to indicate Petty's authorship are the “references to Ireland derived apparently from personal observation,” and the fact that “Hampshire, Petty's native county, is the only English county mentioned.” The latter inference might have been made much stronger for Petty. The author of the “Observations” bases many of his most interesting conclusions upon a comparison between the tables of London mortality and the “Table of a Country Parish,” and this country table is unquestionably derived from the parish register of the Abbey of St mary and St Ethelfleda, at Romsey, the church in which Petty's baptism is recorded and in which he lies buried1 . But the fact by no means implies Petty's authorship of the “Observations.” It is not less reasonable to suppose that Graunt, when studying the London bills, applied to Petty for such comparative material as he afterwards sought from four other friends in various parts of England2 . As for the allusions to Ireland, they indicate rather that the author had not been in that kingdom at all than that he had made personal observations there. One of them is a casual remark in connection with his belief that deaths in child-bed are abnormally frequent “in these countries where women hinder the facility of their child-bearing by affected straitening of their bodies… What I have heard of the Irish women confirms me herein3 .” In the other passage the author says “I have heard,… I have also heard” this and that about Ireland4 .
Those who have agreed that Graunt was the author of the “Observations,” need not leave to their opponents the exclusive use of internal evidence. They, for their part, may first point out that there are considerable differences of language between Petty's works and Graunt's5 . Every one at all familiar with seventeenth-century English pamphlets has sympathized with Sir Thomas Browne's solicitude lest “if elegancy still proceedeth, and English pens maintain that stream, which we have of late observed to flow from many, we shall within few years be fain to learn Latin to understand English.” Petty's “Reflections” and his “Treatise of Taxes and Contributions” are of about the same size as the “Observations.” I have run through all three and counted the Latin words, phrases and quotations, excluding those which, like anno, per annum, per centum, are virtually English. The “Reflections,” in the 154 pages which are indisputably by Petty6 , contain at least twenty-four Latin phrases, the “Treatise” at least forty-two. The “Observations” show, aside from the sentiment on the title-page, but six Latin phrases; and of the six, three are within as many pages of the “Conclusion” (pages 395–397, post) in precisely the passage which exhibits the most conspicuous of all the parallels between the “Observations” and the “Treatise1 .”
The supporters of Graunt may properly claim, in the second place—and upon this they may insist, since heretofore it has not received adequate emphasis—that the statistical method of the “Observations” is greatly superior to the method of Petty's acknowledged writings upon similar subjects. Graunt exhibits a patience in investigation, a care in checking his results in every possible way, a reserve in making inferences, and a caution about mistaking calculation for enumeration, which do not characterize Petty's work to a like degree. This difference cannot escape any person of statistical training who may read carefully first the “Observations” and then Petty's “Essays.”
In the third place, it deserves to be noted that the chief parallels to Petty's writings do not occur in parts of the “Observations” which are vital or organic. In his patient investigations of the movement of London's population, imperfect and frequently erroneous though they were, and, for lack of data, necessarily must have been the author of the “Observations” displays admirable traits for which Petty's writings, however meritorious otherwise, may still be searched in vain. The passages in which the parallels occur are, as it were, the embroideries with which Graunt's solid work is decorated—possibly by Petty's hand. For example, the passage concerning beggars and charity in Holland2 is appended to the contention that, since “of the 229,250, which have died, we find not above fifty-one to have been starved, except helpless infants at nurse,” therefore there can be no “want of food in the country, or of means to get it.” The argument is statistical; the appended passage about beggars is not. It has no real connection, and if it were omitted, the argument proper would lose nothing of its cogency. The longest and closest parallel between the “Observations” and the “Treatise” is of like character. It occurs in and indeed pervades “The Conclusion.” And this conclusion, instead of offering, as one might expect, a sober summary in the style of the book itself3 , is an obvious and, one must own, a not altogether unsuccessful attempt “to write wittily about these matters1 .”
The third group of arguments—those based upon the probabilities of the case—should be considered as corroborative, rather than as of independent weight. In advancing them the partisans of each writer must seek to strengthen a case already built up by direct testimony and internal evidence rather than to establish their contentions ab initio1 . In general, the probabilities strongly favour Graunt. In the first place, he was a citizen and a native of London. He thus had opportunity to collect the bills and incentive to study them; and the author's account of the way in which he came to make the study tallies in every particular with the known facts of Graunt's life. Petty, on the other hand, was of provincial birth, and had been a resident of London but a short time when the “Observations” were published. In the second place, the “Observations” are not the product of a few leisure hours, or even of a few hurried weeks. Their laborious compilation demanded time—how much, those will best appreciate who have attempted similar tasks. Graunt may well have had the necessary leisure, whereas Petty, in defending his Irish survey, in writing for the Royal Society, and in working for political self-advancement at the Restoration, must have been otherwise well occupied during the years 1660 and 16613 . In the third place, the assumption that a man of Graunt's standing in the city would consent to be a screen for Petty's book, has never been put upon a sound basis, or indeed upon any basis at all. Finally it may be noted that the “Observations” contained nothing offensive4 ; they were not only novel, but popular, and it was by no means Petty's nature to refuse credit for a good thing which he had done5 . Nevertheless the “Observations” had been out almost fifteen years, had passed through four editions, and had received unusual honours at the hands of the Royal Society, and apparently of the king also, before there was a whisper of Petty's authorship.
Opposed to these probabilities in favour of Graunt stand two analogous arguments for Petty. One argument Dr Bevan advances:
“We are not able to assign a reason for Petty's wish to conceal his authorship under the name of a friend, but we do know that several of his works were published anonymously during his lifetime.” It need scarcely be said that publishing a book anonymously is a different thing from publishing it under the name of somebody else—and that somebody a well-known man. The other argument is put by Mr Hodge in these words:
If I were disposed to argue the matter upon probabilities, I might ask what other proof Graunt gave of his capacity for writing such a work…. It is certainly strange, if Graunt were the man, that he should have stopped short after having made such a remarkable step. Of Petty's abilities for dealing with the subject it is unnecessary to speak1 .
The argument that Graunt cannot have written one book because he did not write a second2 , is scarcely of a cogency sufficient to prevail against the favourable opinion of those who knew him. Aubrey had a very high opinion of his abilities, and Pepys, who seems also to have known him well, accepted his authorship without the slightest hesitation.
To sum up the whole discussion: The “Observations” were published over Graunt's name. Everything about them, as well as everything known of his life, was consistent with the assumption that he wrote them; he had the incentive, the opportunity, the time, and in the opinion of his contemporaries the ability. The book was at once accepted by intelligent people as his, and unusual honours were bestowed upon him. Until after his death (1673) he was generally esteemed the author of the work. Between 1675 and 1705, however, four persons attributed the book to Petty; and later writers have pointed out striking resemblances between passages in the “Observations” and passages in Petty's avowed writings. It is substantially upon the testimony of Evelyn and of Aubrey and upon these similarities, that the whole case for Petty rests. Before we can admit Petty's authorship we must be convinced that Graunt and Petty, aided and abetted by Bell, were parties to a singularly purposeless3 conspiracy whereby, with remarkable shrewdness in covering their tracks and giving to their fraud the appearance of truth, they deceived not only the general public but also their intimates in the Royal Society. Does the evidence adduced for Petty so far outweigh the evidence for Graunt as to convince us that they were guilty of this contemptible conduct? If not, can the direct testimony for Petty, and the similarities noted, be explained without conceding the authorship of the “Observations” to him? I believe that they can be so explained.
In view of Evelyn, Aubrey's second statement and the parallel passages on one hand, and of the strong evidence for Graunt on the other, it seems almost certain that neither Graunt nor Petty was the exclusive author of all parts of the “Observations,” as we have them. There is, moreover, competent authority for this view. Anthony à-Wood, speaking of Petty's “Observations on the Dublin Bills,” published in 1683, says: “He also long before assisted or put into a way John Graunt in the writing of his Nat. and Pol. Observations on the Bills of Mortality of London.” And in his sketch of Graunt, Aubrey says: “He wrote Observations on the bills of Mortality very ingeniosely (but I believe, and partly know, that he had his hint from his intimate and familiar friend Sir William Petty)” That is to say, Graunt and Petty collaborated. But the character of their collaboration was rather complementary than cooperative. They were not, properly speaking, joint authors. The essential and valuable part of the “Observations” seems to be Graunt's. Petty perhaps suggested the subject of the inquiry, he probably assisted Graunt with comments upon medical and other questions here and there; he procured the figures from Romsey for the “Table of the Country Parish;” and he may have revised, or even written, the Conclusion, and possibly, also, the curious “epistle dedicatory to Sir Robert Moray,” commending the book and its author to the Royal Society. Such assistance constituted authorship neither in Petty's mind nor in the mind of any one else. But after he had perhaps assisted in the enlargement of the third edition, and had prepared for the press a fifth edition, again enlarged, of the ever-popular “Observations,” he for the time being persuaded himself that he was their virtual author. After a few years he thought better of it, and assigned the honour to Graunt, to whom it rightfully belonged. All this seems, I am aware, an elaborate edifice of shaky conjecture. I hope so to shore it up with chronological props that it may present at least the appearance of stability.
The fifth edition of the “Observations” is dated “London, 1676.” Now Evelyn gave the earliest intimation of a Pettian authorship after supping at Petty's house in 1675. In 1680 Aubrey, in an account perused by Petty, assigned the “Observations” to Graunt, and in his life of Graunt asserted that they were done by him upon a hint from Petty. In or about 1682 Petty himself included “Observations on the Bills of Mortality of London, 1660” in a chronological list of his several works since 16361 . Subsequently Aubrey also asserted that they were “really” Petty's These are, strictly speaking, the only direct testimonies for Petty's authorship of the London “Observations.” As already noted, Halley and Burnet were less intimate with Petty, and what they say is of little independent weight. Meanswhile Petty, if indeed he had ever publicly held himself out as the author of the London “Observations,” appears to have repented. The title-page and advertisement of 1683, indirectly attributing that book to him, were altered at the first opportunity to a form consistent with what seem to be the facts, and when he has occasion, in his later works, to mention the “Observations,” he repeatedly speaks of them as Graunt's, although he specifically cites the fifth edition, in which his share was larger than an either of the others. In short, the “Observations upon the Bills of Mortality of London” are essentially Graunt's work, and he deserves the credit for them. Petty probably made contributions to the book which may have helped to bring it to popular, and even to scientific notice, but he added little, if anything, to its real merits. He edited it in 1676 with further additions, and for a while perhaps caused or allowed it to be supposed that he was the author. Subsequently he corrected the error.
The general conclusion thus reached makes Graunt in every proper sense the author of the “Observations.” This conclusion is by no means new. But those who have held it have not hitherto explained the countervailing testimony for Petty; nor can it be explained save by a chronological examination of the evidence. Consequently one party has accepted Evelyn and Aubrey's second statement, while the other party has ignored them. The attempt here made to explain the testimony for Petty without forgetting the stronger testimony for Graunt seeks to correlate the facts and to harmonize the probabilities more completely than has heretofore seemed possible. The opinion that Graunt, and not Petty, was really the author of the “Observations,” I hope thus to have raised in the minds even of readers who do not forget Evelyn and Aubrey, to the grade of probability, if not to that of demonstration1 .
PETTY'S LETTERS AND OTHER MANUSCRIPTS.
By long-continued activity Petty had accumulated, as he discovered with chagrin when preparing for final departure from Ireland, no less than fifty-three chests1 of papers of one sort and another. To be sure many of the papers relating to the Down Survey, which must have stuffed a goodly row of chests, were rather prepared under his direction than written by his pen, and it is probable that further chests relating to his estates, and to the Irish revenues were among the fifty-three. But enough is known of his habits in writing to warrant the inference that a number of the chests were likewise filled with manuscripts of his own production. While he was still a young man it had become his habit, when entering upon any weighty undertaking, “to meditate and fill a quire with all that could in nature be objected and to write down his answer to each. So that when any new thing started, he was prepared, as it were extempore, to shoot them dead.” During the busy days of the surveys in Ireland, “his way was to retire early to his lodgings where his supper was only a handful of raisins and a piece of bread. He would bid one of his clerks, who wrote a fair hand, go to sleep, and while he eat his raisins and walked about he would dictate to the other, who was a ready man at shorthand. When this was fitted to his mind the other was roused and set to work, and he went to bed, so that next morning all was ready2 .” By no means all the manuscripts which Petty must have prepared are now in existence. Many of those relating to the Irish Surveys were destroyed by the fire at the Council office in Essex Street in 17113 , and others have been lost in ways not so easy to trace. But a considerable fraction remains, comprising both letters and manuscripts that have proved of value in preparing this edition of Petty's economic writings.
Of Petty's letters several hundred are extant and parts of some six score are in print. They range in date from his nineteenth year to the month of his death and touch upon a great variety of subjects. The earliest are addressed to Dr John Pell1 and are concerned with Petty's pursuits as a student on the continent. Later he corresponded with Boyle2 and Hartlib as to his plans for education and for a history of trades, and after the Restoration he sent a number of letters to the Royal Society concerning his double-bottomed ship and other topics3 . His interest in shipping led also to a prolonged correspondence with Pepys, and among others to whom letters by him are known there may be mentioned Henry Cromwell, Ormond, Anglesey, Sir Peter Pett and John Aubrey4 It was, however with his wife's kinsman, Sir Robert Southwell5 , that Petty carried on his most active correspondence. His business affairs, his domestic afflictions, his political aspirations, every act and thought of his last twenty years found a reflection in the hundreds of letters which he showered upon his faithful cousin. It was the life-long habit of that much-enduring man to preserve every scrap of writing that came into his possession, and though he did not hesitate to reprove Petty's aggressive self-confidence1 , he had nevertheless an unusually high regard for all that his outspoken kinsman said or did. Soon after the completion of the “Political Arithmetick,” of which Petty gave him a copy in MS.2 , Southwell wrote of “an ebony cabinet wherein I keep as in an archive all the effects of your pen; for I look on them as materials fit for those I would take most care of and hope they will hand them over with like estimation3 .” During Petty's contest for the farm of the Irish revenues4 Southwell asked for the papers he had delivered in, “for I shrine up all and premise that in after times I shall be resorted to for your works as Mr Hedges5 is for the true Opobalsamum6 .” Four years later he renewed the assurance of his care: “as to your fifty years’ adventures I have them and keep them more preciously than Cæsar's commentaries7 “; and within a fortnight after Petty's death he set out to secure such MSS. of his friend as were not already in his possession, writing to Pepys the 23rd December, 1687, for a paper which Petty had lately lent him1 . Sir Robert's collection of letters and papers, including those from Petty for which he had promised such pious care, remained in his family and was apparently kept intact until 1834 when, upon the death of his descendant Lord De Clifford they were all sent to the auction block2 . Of the letters by Petty thus brought to light, the greater part were bid in by Thomas Thorpe3 , who subsequently sold them to the third Marquis of Lansdowne to be added to the collection at Bowood. The amount of light which Petty's letters, especially those to Southwell, are capable of throwing upon his writing as well as upon the circumstances of his life, may be inferred from the use made of them by Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice. By his kind intervention, I received from the Marquis of Lansdowne generous permission to consult the Petty correspondence at Bowood; but the necessity of returning to the United States unfortunately prevented my making use of the privilege. The letters, however, are printed with much fulness in the “Life of Petty” by Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice, and he assured me that they contain nothing bearing upon his economic writings beyond what has already been given to the public.
The preservation of excellent manuscript copies of Petty's most important economic works is likewise due to Southwell. Inasmuch as some of the pamphlets were printed in London while Petty himself was in Ireland4 , and others, including the “Political Anatomy” and the authorized version of the “Political Arithmetick,” were first issued after his death, a number of gross errors which he doubtless would have removed, were allowed to stand in the published versions5 . The printer of the “Reflections upon some Persons and Things in Ireland”1 frankly confesses that, not being acquainted with the island wherein the copy of that discourse was written, he was forced to guess at many interlined and imperfectly obliterated words and sentences, as also at the true places of many of them. Wherefore he desires the reader to excuse the literal errata, and as for others to enquire of Dr Petty himself for his own sense and direction concerning them.2 The printers of his other works were less frank but hardly more accurate, and to enquire of Dr Petty himself is no longer an available solvent of perplexity. Under such circumstances the beautiful manuscripts of the “Political Anatomy,” the “Political Arithmetick,” and the hitherto unpublished “Treatise of Ireland,” which passed (indirectly) from Southwell to the British Museum3 , assume a high degree of importance. They all bear Petty's autograph corrections and by their use it has been possible to make his economic writings plain in several passages which heretofore were hopelessly obscure. Authentic manuscripts of the “Verbum Sapienti4 “and of the “Report from the Council of Trade5 “have also been used, but no good manuscript was found of the “Treatise of Taxes,” the “Quantulumcunque” or the various Essays.
Of these manuscripts none but that of the “Treatise of Ireland” has been exactly followed in preparing the present edition of Petty's Economic Writings. The pamphlets previously published are all reprinted from the first editions except Graunt's “Observations,” and the variations of the manuscripts are mentioned in foot notes in every case where it seemed possible that the manuscript reading could modify the sense of the printed version.
PETTY'S ECONOMIC WRITINGS.
Those who hitherto have discussed Petty as a writer on economic subjects have confined themselves pretty closely to summary and criticism of his theories. The writings are now before the reader, who may summarize and criticize as his purpose demands or his taste suggests. It remains for the editor to account, if he can, for the writings as they are.
A man of force makes his way in this world through no impalpable ether. The medium through which he moves is dense, and deflects his course now this way, now that, according to the form and temper of the surface that he presents to the buffeting of affairs. His intellectual orbit cannot be precisely calculated even with a knowledge of the initial direction and velocity of his mind and of the attraction which draws its flight towards a fixed centre. But every man not wholly erratic is at once impelled by his circumstances and restrained by his training. Postulate these, and you may discover in his actual course some trace of the mean orbit which calculation would predict.
The inspiration of Petty's writings is not far to seek. Written before the days of formal treatises on political economy, they are neither the systematized abstractions of a metaphysician condescending to every-day affairs, nor the less systematic but no less abstract arguments of a man of affairs with an undisciplined bent toward speculative thinking. Least of all are they the eclectic treatise of a professional economist laborously dovetailing the ideas of his predecessors one into another. Indeed it is doubtful whether Petty had any acquaintance worth mentioning with such economic writings as existed in his day. In his earlier years, to be sure, he had been a man of the library as well as of the laboratory; but experience taught him to value the education of life above that of books, and in his writings he uses authorities seldom and not well. To Aubrey he declared that he had read little since his twenty-fifth year, and was of Hobbes's mind, that had he read much, as some men have, he had not known as much as he did1 . His writings then are not conscious elaborations of some economic system, more or less clearly conceived. Each of them, on the contrary, was prompted by some circumstance of the times, and addresses itself, in fact if not in form, to some question of the day. The “Treatise of Taxes” the most systematic of them all, grows out of the changes in the revenue which the Restoration occasioned. The “Verbum Sapienti” is due to the costliness of the first Dutch war, the “Quantulumcunque” is the recomage projects of Halifax. The moral of the “Political Arithmetick,” implicit but clearly implied, is that Charles II. may, if he will, make himself independent of the bribes of Louis XIV. “The doctrines of this essay offended France2 .” The “Essays in Political Arithmetick” instruct James, wavering on the verge of an independent policy, that London is more considerable than the two best cities of the French monarchy3 . The unedited “Treatise of Ireland” plainly avows its political purpose. Even the “Political Anatomy” though suggested by Chamberlayne's enclyclopaedic “State of England4 “is seen, upon briefest examination, to be crowded with such discussions of current questions as nowhere occur in its prototype. Nevertheless they are all marked, in part because of his method of investigation, by certain common and characteristic features.
The form of Petty's discussions is as directly traceable to his training as is the contents of them to his circumstances. Such a title as “Political Anatomy” is reminiscent of his early studies, but the education which vitally affected his writing was rather that of converse with his scientific friends than that afforded by the instruction of his formal teachers. I shall try, therefore, to account in part for Petty's economic writing by taking up first the intellectual influences which gave them their characteristic form, and afterwards the circumstances, within the limits prescribed by that form, which suggested their content.
Petty has been represented, not without reason, as the disciple of Hobbes5 . We have seen that he studied with Hobbes at Paris, and we know that all through Hobbes's quarrels their friendship remained unbroken1 . Petty's high opinion of the author of the treatise “De Cive” is indicated by the inclusion of that work in the list of books which he wished his sons to read,—and the list is not a long one2 . In his economic writings too there are traces of Hobbes's influence, but it is—if the distinction be admissible—upon Petty as a politician rather than upon Petty as an economist that his influence was chiefly exerted. It appears most strikingly in the assumption that the government is justified in doing anything by which the national wealth can be increased. Again and again Petty advocates sweeping public measures which take no account whatever of the rights and sensibilities of the citizen. He is quite ready to suggest that the majority of the Irish and Scotch be transplanted to England whether they consent or not3 . In this general sense he is certainly of the political school of Hobbes rather than of Harrington4 .
The attempt to trace Hobbes's influence in Petty's attitude towards the relation of church and state does not seem altogether successful. In harmony with his general views, Petty agrees with Hobbes that the state may suppress dissent. Beyond this initial proposition they part company. The political theory of “The Leviathan” tolerates no division of sovereignty. Dissenters from the church by law established are political offenders who must be reduced to conformity because their dissent impairs the sovereignty of the government. Petty's reason why dissent may be suppressed is quite different from this. He thinks that “the Magistrate may punish false Believers, if he believes he shall offend God in forbearing it,…for the same reasons that men give for Liberty of Conscience and universal tolleration5 .” In other words a man vested with magisterial powers is morally justified in using them as his conscience dictates. But Petty himself is far from thinking it either necessary or expedient to use such powers to secure uniformity of worship. On the contrary he warmly commends the heterodox, though with curious reservations lest by going too far he give offence6 , and he regards dissent as not only harmless but inevitable. Thus upon a calculation of the number of sermons annually preached in England, he remarks that “It were a Miracle, if a Million of Sermons Composed by so many Men, and of so many Minds and Methods, should produce Uniformity upon the discomposed understandings of about 8 Millions of Hearers1 ,” and suggests that misbelievers, provided they keep the public peace2 , may wisely be indulged by the magistrate, upon payment of “well proportioned, tolerable pecuniary mulcts, such as every conscientious Nonconformist would gladly pay, and Hypocrites by refusing, discover themselves to be such3 .” For “no man can believe what himself pleases and to force men to say they believe what they do not, is vain, absurd, and without honour to God.” Besides “where most indeavours have been used to help Uniformity, there Heterodoxy hath most abounded4 .” The best policy therefore is for the government to pluck with moderation the geese who persist in their unauthorized beliefs5 .
Upon Petty as an economist the influence of Hobbes was far outweighed by that of Bacon. There was of course no personal connection here. When the founder of the New Philosophy was dying at Highgate, the future political arithmetician was a weaver's brat in Hampshire. But the youth became, as he grew to manhood, an eager member of that group of experimental investigators, working in the spirit of the “Novum Organum,” who began the systematic pursuit of scientific knowledge in England6 . At the close of a century distinguished above its predecessors not so much by the spirit of research as by the passion for accuracy in the determination of results, it is easy to find food for indulgent merriment in their crude apparatus. Not less amusing are their experiments with “a toad set in the middle of a circle of powder made with unicorne's horne,” whose supposed charm it refused to recognize, incontinently hopping out of the circle again and again; or Sir Kenelm Digby's recommendation of “calcined powder of todes reverbrated applyed in bagges upon the stomach of a pestiferate body”—a pungent treatment of pestiferous bodies, whose obsolescence with the gradual mollification of social usages some will be found to regret. But the mere willingness to put the conduct of the toad to the test and to abide by the result argues confidence in the usefulness of experiment, and by implication in the uniformity of nature. It points the way to that precise knowledge of the world which alone can afford a firm foundation for invention and thus lead to the rule of man. It exhibits the Baconian rather than the Spinozistic sense of the maxim Knowledge is Power. It explains why the “Novum Organum” treats “De interpretatione naturæ sive de regno hominis.” With the spirit of this philosophy Petty was strongly imbued1 . In a session of the Royal Society when some one chanced to use the words “considerably bigger,” “Sir William Petty cautioned, that no word might be used but what marks either number, weight, or measure2 .” The caution may serve to indicate the nature of Bacon's influence over him. It was an influence exerted primarily upon Petty's method, and only indirectly, through his method, upon the substance of his economic speculations.
In the field of his peculiar interests Petty sought the same quantitative precision which he demanded of his scientific colleagues. Now in economic investigation, as writers on the method of political economy never weary of iterating, the experimental method is in general precluded by the nature of the materials. The far seeing minister of an autocratic Czar may sometimes make industrial experiments on a gigantic scale and even isolate them from the disturbing influences of parliaments and newspapers, but he is not at all likely to utilize them for purposes of economic speculation. A favoured economist like Von Thunen—with whose aims Petty's thought exhibits much affinity though he lacks Von Thünen's conspicuous patience—may make similar experiments upon a small scale. Most of us, however, must get on as best we may without any economic laboratory whatever. In this respect Petty was no exception. Experiment being impossible, he substituted what he called Political Arithmetick, a beginning of what is now called statistics. It was by no happy chance that he turned to this new device. He had a perfectly clear conception of the end which he desired to reach and of the means by which he proposed to reach it. “The Method I take,” he says, “is not yet very usual; for instead of using only comparative and superlative Words, and intellectual Arguments, I have taken the course (as a Specimen of the Political Arithmetick I have longed aimed at) to express my self in terms of Number, Weight, or Measure; to use only Arguments of Sense, and to consider only such Causes, as have visible Foundations in Nature; leaving those that depend upon the mutable Minds, Opinions, Appetites, and Passions of particular Men, to the Consideration of others: Really professing my self as unable to speak satisfactorily upon those Grounds (if they may be call'd Grounds), as to foretel the cast of a Dye; to play well at Tennis, Billiards or Bowles, (without long practice,) by virtue of the most elaborate Conceptions that ever have been written De Projectilibus & Missilibus, or of the Angles of Incidence and Reflection1 .”
He even anticipated the modern conclusion that statistical investigation, applied to wisely selected circumstances, affords perhaps the best substitute for experimentation that is open to an economist. In this sense he says, in the preface to the “Political Anatomy of Ireland,” “As Students in Medicine, practice their inquiries upon cheap and common Animals, and such whose actions they are best acquainted with, and where there is the least confusion and perplexure of Parts; I have chosen Ireland as such a Political Animal, who is scarce Twenty years old; where the Intrigue of State is not very complicate, and with which I have been conversant from an Embrion; and in which, if I have done amiss, the fault may be easily mended by another2 .” The obvious meaning is, not that he literally experimented upon Ireland himself, but that he examined by the best available means, the effects of such experiments as had been made there. The means turns out to be the use of political arithmetick, and that he considers the best means because it gives precise results. As we shall see, Petty's results were, at times, less accurate than precise, for his statistical materials were frequently inadequate and his employment of such as he had was sometimes injudicious. But the root of the matter was in him. The application of an appropriate method “not yet very usual” to a field of knowledge in which it was altogether new, justifies him in associating himself with the most eminent followers of the new philosophy, and even distinguishes him among his colleagues. It was by no misapprehension of his true significance that Narcissus Luttrell wrote in his diary simply, “Sir William Petty of the Royal Society is dead1 .”
The data of statistics do not now, nor did they ever present themselves spontaneously for scientific elaboration. In order therefore that legal provision should be made, and that money should be forthcoming, for their ascertainment, it was first necessary that the value of possible statistical deductions from accurate data should be demonstrated by the intelligent use of those sparse materials which lay ready to the student's hand. It is in this sense that we must judge the essays of Graunt and Petty, which pioneered the way of modern statistics, and so judged they will be found worthy of high praise. Graunt's book has the advantage of priority2 and the greater advantage of dealing with a body of statistical data sufficiently extended and complete to warrant some confidence in deductions properly made from it. Petty's materials, on the other hand, were highly defective. A few scattering bills from Paris and Dublin, haphazard returns from various tax offices, a guess here or there as to the area of a city3 —the list is soon exhausted. Petty realized the incompleteness of his data, and repeatedly urged the institution of regular statistical returns4 . He drew up a pattern for an improved bill of mortality for Dublin5 . He even tried to secure the establishment of an Irish statistical office under his own management6 . But it is not clear that anything of importance resulted from his efforts in this direction. Meanwhile he made shift with such tools as came to hand—”a commin Knife and a Clout,” as he says “instead of the many more helps which such a Work requires1 .” When he could not ascertain directly the number, weight or measure of some phenomenon in which he was interested, he reckoned out what he desired to know upon the basis of what he already knew. In other words he pursued the method of political arithmetic as distinguished from statistics. Statistics demands enumeration. The validity of its inferences depends upon the theory of probabilities as expressed in the Law of Large Numbers. Therefore it adds, it does not multiply. Political arithmetic, as exemplified by Petty, multiplies freely; and the value of its results varies according to the nature of the terms multiplied. For example, in the absence of a census Petty had to calculate the population of London, of England, and of Ireland. His calculations for London2 are based upon the number of burials and upon the number of houses, facts which at least bear some relation to the number of people. The burials he multiplies by thirty, an arbitrary figure for which he pleads Graunt's authority3 ; the houses he multiplies, now by six4 , and now by eight5 , as suits his purpose. The sources of probable error are obvious. The population of England, he further estimates at eleven times that of London because London pays one eleventh of the assessment. The chance of error is thus raised to the second degree. Nevertheless the calculation is not altogether unreasonable, and Petty asserts that the results “do pretty well agree” with the accounts of the hearth money, the poll money, and the bishops’ numbering of the communicants6 —figures which he neglects to give. To see from what refractory materials he can extract a result when hard pushed, we must turn to his discussion of the Irish rebellion of 1641. He finds that above one-third more “superfluous oxen and sheep, butter and beef” was exported from that kingdom in 1664 than before the rebellion, “which shows there were ⅓ more people in 1641 than in 16647 .” Unfortunately the use of rash calculations grew upon Petty, and, as was to be expected, he gives widely varying estimates of the same things1 . It must be added that he is frequently inaccurate in his use of authorities2 and careless in his calculations3 and upon at least one occasion he is open to suspicion of sophisticating his figures4 .
Petty's economic writings thus exhibit both the strength and the weakness of his characteristic method. When his terms of number, weight and measure result from an actual enumeration they are generally of value, for he has a considerable capacity of segregating the really significant factors of an economic problem. But the difficulties in the way of enumeration were great, and in his eagerness for results he often resorted to calculations which were nothing more than guesses. When he stopped to think, he was well enough aware of their conjectural character. “I hope,” he writes to Aubrey, “that no man takes what I say about the living and dyeing of men for a mathematical demonstration5 .” But in the ardour of argument he was himself more than once mislead into fancying that his conclusions were accurate because their form was definite. His mistake is not without its modern analogies. Mathematical presentations of industrial facts, both symbolic and graphic, have by their definiteness, encouraged many an investigator in the false conceit that he now knew what he sought, whereas he had at most but a neat name for what he sought to know. Nevertheless the substitution of symbols for Petty's “terms of number” is an improvement in this, that calculations made in symbols must be consciously translated into the terms of actual life before any practical use—or misuse—can be made of them, whereas calculations in figures of number, weight and measure are already concrete and appear to tell something intelligible even to a common man. Had Petty calculated the advantages of his “perpetual settlement of Ireland with a natural improvement of England and Ireland by transplanting a million of people out of Ireland into England” in the form of curves and triangles, that astounding proposition might have passed for something highly scientific.
It would be quite possible to take up the various economic topics discussed by Petty according to modern conceptions of them, and to do so would afford a ready-made standard for judging his economic notions. But it would also involve the risk of asking what he thought about problems concerning which it never occurred to him to think at all. No possible answer to such a question can be correct, for the question itself is irrational. Accordingly I leave to those who have a taste for mosaic work and are not yet satisfied with the amount on hand, the task of determining in what details Petty anticipated Smith or Ricardo or Bòhm-Bawerk. It will be enough for the present purpose to indicate a few of the chief economic questions which engaged his attention and to attempt to understand why he attacked them and how he solved them.
The economic method which Petty chiefly pursued, taken in combination with the limited extent of his materials, of necessity confined him to the discussion of a few out of the many questions that must have thronged upon his active mind. In no other field of economic interst were so many figures available as in that of taxation, and the fiscal changes of the Restoration, chancing to come just at the time when he first had leisure to return to his studies, gave to his economic inquiries a direction from which he never wholly departed. The only topic neither an outgrowth of his fiscal discussions nor otherwise dictated by his arithmetical method upon which he wrote at length was that of coinage. And it is noteworthy that his little excursions into this relatively foreign field are marked by as great perspicuity and good sense as distinguish his more arithmetical writings. The “Quantulumcunque,” indeed, shows Petty very nearly at his best.
As an economic writer then, Petty is essentially a cameralist rather than a mercantilist. Unlike Robinson and Mun and Child, he had little connection with foreign trade1 ; nevertheless he was too much infected by prevalent mercantile views to see the advantages of unrestricted commerce as clearly as North was able to do. Accordingly while he leans, on the whole, towards a policy of commercial freedom, and is quite clear and consistent in opposing all restraints upon the export of coin or bullion, he seems at times to evade the discussion of the free trade problem—e.g. he does not mention the Act of Navigation—and his utterances on the preferability of treasure to other forms of wealth, on the balance of trade, and on the policy of restriction generally are contradictory, not to say vacillating. On almost all questions of public revenue and public expenditure, on the contrary, his opinions are well developed, clear and consistent. The great changes in the fiscal system which were made by the Convention Parliament gave rise to no other discussion at all comparable with his “Treatise of Taxes and Contributions1 ;” and it is scarcely too much to say that English economic literature before Hume can show no tract of such range and force, characterized by such wealth of suggestion and such power of analysis, as is Petty's masterpiece. It contains the germ of nearly every theory which he afterwards elaborated. Even his method of political arithmetic is exemplified in the calculations of its second chapter2 . The calculations are, to be sure, both slight and unsatisfactory; but rather from lack of trustworthy data than from any failure on Petty's part to appreciate the importance of such devices. On the contrary he demands for economic purposes a thorough survey of lands and their produce3 , and of money, wages and population, for “until this be done trade will be too conjectural a work for any man to employ his thoughts about4 “Before the publication of the “Treatise” he was indeed acquainted with Graunt's “Observations5 ,” but the suggestions of that book had not had as yet sufficient time to exert their full influence upon him. Consequently the number of the people, which becomes in the “Verbum Sapienti” (1664) a key to the national wealth, and thus affords a basis for the distribution of taxation much more satisfactory than expenditure6 , is used in the “Treatise” but incidentally to a minor question of retrenchment7 .
To the problem of national wealth Petty never tires of applying the methods of his political arithmetic. The “Verbum Sapienti” shows both the reason that led him to attack the problem and the method which he employed for its solution. The introduction explains that taxation is unequal, “which disproportion is the true and proper grievance of taxes8 “To the end that the public charge be laid proportionally it is necessary that the total effects of the nation be ascertained. In the first chapter, accordingly, Petty estimates separately the value of the lands, the houses, the shipping, the cattle, the money and the miscellaneous goods of the country, unblushingly confirming one guess by showing its satisfying conformity to another. Now-a-days more abundant and more accurate figures are available upon which to base guesses, but the methods of modern calculations of national wealth are, so far, not essentially different from his1 . The second chapter, however, adds to the calculation of the first an element of national wealth which seldom figures in modern tables headed £ s. d. This element is “the value of the people,” which it was his consistent practice to include in all his estimates. Fewness of people he thought was real poverty2 . Hands were the father as lands were the mother of wealth3 , and neither of the pair might be omitted from a stock-taking of the public household. The suggestion that people are wealth was probably much older than Petty4 , and his originality would consist rather in the application to it of his political arithmetic than in the invention of the notion. Now in order to add hands to lands he must reduce them to a common denominator. The necessity and the difficulty of thus making “a par and equation between lands and labour” must have been brought home to him by his experience as surveyor and commissioner of allotments, charged with rewarding soldiers on the one hand and loaners of money on the other by proper assignment of the forfeited lands in Ireland5 , and it is not merely for theoretical purposes that he regards this task as “the most important consideration in political oeconomies6 .” The common denominator chosen being money, it is necessary to determine the money value of the people. But the people in question are neither bought nor sold7 , and so he resorts to a calculation. Assuming the expenditure of the people of England to be forty million pounds per annum, he finds that their income from property is sufficient to meet only fifteen millions of it. The source of the remaining twenty-five millions of income is worth as much as the fee of land that would rent for that sum, “for although the individiums of mankind be reckoned at about eight years purchase, the species of them is worth as many as land, being in its nature as perpetual for ought we know1 .” The figures to which Petty applies this formula are conjectural, even capricious, but the formula itself is essentially sound, and the ingenious calculation shows that he had a firm grasp upon the problem of capitalization. The various components of the national wealth being thus ascertained, Petty proceeds to use them as a basis for distributing taxation. He holds that, the ratio formalis of riches lying rather in proportion than in quantity, men would be no poorer than now they are should each lose half his estate2 . Accordingly he proposes various taxes3 intended to place upon the possessors of each source of income such a proportion of the aggregate burden as the capitalized amounts of their respective incomes may bear to the national wealth which he has calculated.
Petty's interest in the amount of the national wealth thus sprang from his discussion of taxation, and it is clear that traces of its origin hang about it to the end. But he soon came to employ the notion for another purpose also; that is, as a means of comparing England with her commercial rivals, Holland and France. In 1664, Petty had made a “Collection of the Frugalities of Holland4 ,” and he repeatedly commended various Dutch practices for adoption in England5 . Nevertheless, he seems to have considered the current estimate of the Dutch somewhat exaggerated6 , and the conviction apparently grew upon him that it was rather with France than Holland that Englishmen must reckon7 . In the “Treatise of Taxes” (1662), the Dutch system is held up as a model for English imitation, while no French taxes are mentioned except the gabelle8 , of which he disapproves. In the “Political Arithmetick” (1676) Holland still occupies the first place, but it serves merely as a stalking-horse to disguise the main argument regarding the potential superiority of England to France. In the “Five Essays” (1687) the Netherlands are openly relegated to second place. In making these international comparisons Petty realizes that national wealth is something different from the revenue of the exchequer9 , and is of independent importance to the commonweal. Nevertheless he is unable to divest himself entirely of the cameralistic notions out of which his discussion arose, and always lays especial weight upon the distinctively fiscal importance of lands and goods and people.
Income1 being with Petty the starting point for estimating wealth, he feels the necessity of explaining those sorts of income–rent and interest–which do not result evidently from current labour. Now the fundamental question arising alike in a theory of rent and in a theory of interest is this: why does the right to receive a definite annual payment throughout an infinite succession of years command in the market only a finite sum? As applied to rent, this is the question of the number of “years purchase,” and Petty, who frequently employs that common phrase, also discusses the problem.2 But this was aside from his main purpose, and he neither dwelt on the suggestion nor applied it to money. He recognized that the value of the fee depended3 upon the rent which the land would yield, and was therefore interested rather in ascertaining as a factor in his studies of national wealth and its growth, why a specific piece of land bears a certain rent and neither more nor less, than in determining the capital value of that rent. The answer is given in a remarkable passage in the “Treatise of Taxes,”4 and is elaborated in the “Political Anatomy of Ireland.”5 The corn rent of agricultural lands, he says, is determined by the excess of their produce over the expenses of their cultivation, paid in corn, and the money value of this excess will be measured by the amount of silver which a miner, working for the same time as the cultivator of the corn land, will have left, after meeting his expenses with a part of the silver which he secures. The labour theory of value thus adopted was probably suggested by Hobbes.6 But to the question why there should be any surplus of value above costs either in cornfarming or mining he has an answer of his own. This answer differs from that now become familiar. The notion of diminishing returns, forcing recourse to fields of inferior natural and indestructible powers in order to supply the market and thus giving rise to a differential rent, did not occur to him. On the contrary he probably thought that with proper cultivation, the profitable fertility of land could be indefinitely increased1 . But he suggested in the “Treatise2 ,” and asserted in the “Political Arithmetick3 “that the amount of rent per acre is determined by the density of the population dependent for food upon the land, and varies inversely as the said density. In other words the rent of land is attributed to its situation4 rather than to its technical fertility. The formula has a similar arithmetical neatness to that of the formula commonly called Ricardian, and it comes, on the whole, perhaps quite as near to measuring the commercial facts5 . This praise, if praise it be, is not deemed unduly high.
In interest Petty recognizes two elements, a compensation for risk6 , and a payment for the inconvenience which a man admits against himself in giving out his money so that he may not demand it back until a certain time, whatever his own necessities shall be in the mean time7 . The amount of this last payment, upon any specific sum–in modern language the rate of interest per cent.—cannot be less than the rent of so much land as that sum would buy8 . Exchange he explains as “local usury” meaning, apparently, a compensation for the costs of moving money, of which costs risk is the largest.
A theory of wages was not demanded by Petty's method of calculating national wealth. For that purpose he could take them as a given fact, or rather as a fact inferable from the labourer's expenditures, and as he had no conception of the problem of distribution in the modern sense and was interested rather in the aggregate number of labourers than in their individual differences, he contents himself with a passing suggestion that wages generally are the result of, and equal to, the increase which a man can effect by his labour in the spontaneous productivity of the soil9 . The only other distributive suggestion regarding wages is the remark, wholly incidental, that when wages of husbandmen rise rents of land must consequently fall10 .
GRAUNT AND THE SCIENCE OF STATISTICS.
As statistical writing Graunt's “Observations upon the Bills of Mortality” are superior to any of Petty's works. Indeed they alone can claim to be “statistics”; Petty's “Essays” are so different in character that his own name of “political arithmetick” is still their most accurate description. The difference, as has been pointed out1 , arises in part rather from Graunt's sparing use of calculation than from any especial merit in such calculations as he does make. His estimate of London's population2 is superior to Petty's in no way unless it be by reason of priority; and his table of mortality is as pure guess work as anything that Petty ever wrote3 . But the difference between them cannot be wholly explained by the circumstance that Graunt's temptation to reckon was less than Petty's because his data were more complete. The spirit of their work is often different when no question of calculation enters. Petty sometimes appears to be seeking figures that will support a conclusion which he has already reached: Graunt uses his numerical data as a basis for conclusions, declining to go beyond them4 . He is thus a more careful statistician than Petty, but he is not an economist at all.
Some of the most important facts which the study of vital statistics has yet discovered were first brought to light by Graunt. Though they may be read at length in his “Observations” here reprinted, it is essential to an adequate appreclation of his merits that the more pregnant of his discoveries be brought together by way of summary. Four are particularly noteworthy. In the first place, the regularity of certain social phenomena which appear to be, in their individual occurrence, the sport of chance, was first made evident by Graunt's studies. One of his earliest observations is, “That among the several Casualties some bear a constant proportion unto the whole number of Burials; such are Chronical Diseases, and the Diseases whereunto the City is most subject; as for Example, Consumptions, Dropsies, Jaundice, Gout, Stone, Palsie, Scurvy, Rising of the Lights or Mother, Rickets, Aged, Agues, Fevers, Bloody Flux and Scowring: nay, some Accidents, as Grief, Drowning, Men's making away themselves, and being Kill'd by several Accidents, &c. do the like1 . From the regularity of these phenomena, however, for example, of suicide, Graunt deduces no such moral implications as Quetelet and Buckle, not to mention living writers, have sought to place upon it. In the second place Graunt first noted the excess of male over female births and the approximate numerical equality of the sexes, and upon it he bases some remarks about Divine approval of monogamy2 . His suggestion had great vogue and is often repeated. The third among the important facts which Graunt discovered is the high rate of mortality during the earlier years of life; the fourth is the excess of the urban over the rural death rate. In establishing the first two of these four facts Graunt called attention to truths previously unrecognized. It is not improbable, on the other hand, that the facts regarding mortality had been conjectured before his time. But he was the first to verify conjecture by observations so extended that they resulted in demonstration. Proof, indeed, is the characteristic feature of his book. The fulness of his proof and the care with which he elaborates it raise his “Observations” to a higher plane than is reached by any similar investigation of social phenomena during the century that lies between Graunt and Süssmilch.
It cannot be contended that Graunt was completely master of the method of investigation to which he made noteworthy contributions. His imperfect apprehension of the so-called law of large numbers appears clearly in his discussion of the country bills. “The proportion,” he says3 “Between the greatest and the least mortalities in the Country is far greater than at London…as in London in no Decad the burials of one year are double to those of another, so in the Country they are seldom not more than so…which shows that the opener and freer Airs are most subject to the good and bad Impressions.” This is an attempt to explain by physical conditions the wide range in the observed country death rate which is really due to the narrowness of the field—a single market town—under investigation. It is, perhaps, the gravest statistical mistake that can be charged against Graunt. And when we remember that he was a statistical pioneer, blazing his way through a trackless forest, we must confess surprise that his faults are so few and his merits so many. He had not enjoyed the academic training of most of his associates in the Royal Society, but he was permeated with the spirit of that new philosophy which bade curiosity turn for satisfaction rather to observation than to speculation. His book, with all its faults, deserves a place among the penetrating and fearless treatises which, marred though they were by much now known to be absurd, still contributed to render even the early years of the Royal Society illustrious.
Graunt's influence upon later statistical writers can be traced with remarkable distinctness. Petty is the first to acknowledge as he was the first to feel it; but his obligation is of that vital sort which no series of quotations can sufficiently express. How largely his best work depends upon Graunt can be appreciated only by reading in connection with Graunt's “Observations” the second volume of Petty's Economic Writings. Upon Halley's “Estimate of the Degrees of Mortality of Mankind” (1693) Graunt's influence is not quite so obvious. But anyone who has read, as to some extent I have, the scattered letters of Petty, Southwell, Williamson, Pett, and Justel, all members of the Royal Society and friends of Petty, and all but Justel acquainted with Graunt, cannot fail to see how, as a result of Graunt's and Petty's efforts, the air surrounding Halley was full of political arithmetic. He turned his great abilities as it were casually and but for a few days to that subject; but he seized at once upon Graunt's most striking discovery, the regularity of death, and utilized it for the first suggestion of life insurance. Of Gregory King and Charles Davenant it is not necessary to speak. They belong rather to Petty's school than to Graunt's. The next link in the chain of Graunt's influence is the Rev. William Derham (1657–1735). As Boyle lecturer in 1711–12 Derham, having the honour to be a member of the Royal Society as well as a divine, was minded to try what he could do toward the improvement of philosophical matters to theological uses. While writing his lectures1 with this in view, he happened upon Graunt's book, which caused him to see that the constant proportion of marriages to births and of births to burials constitutes “a wise means to keep the balance of mankind even;” and he concludes his discussion by asking “upon the whole matter, what is all this but admirable plan and management? What can the maintaining, throughout all ages and places, of these proportions of mankind, and all other creatures; this harmony in the generations of man be but the work of One that ruleth the world?2 “Of themselves Derham's remarks, which are but incidental to a comprehensive argument from design, would be of small significance in the history of statistics. But they chanced, because they were in a theological book, to fall into the hands of a Prussian tutor and military chaplain, who made them matter for investigation.
Johann Peter Süssmilch (1707–1767) was not, as Roscher asserts3 , the first to make the growth of population a subject of independent investigation on its own account4 : Graunt certainly anticipated him in that. But he was perhaps the first who clearly grasped the fact, which escaped Graunt, that when and only when sufficiently large numbers are taken into account, order and not accident appear. It is not my intention to describe Süssmilch's book, the great ability of which is now everywhere recognized. But since many of his countrymen have represented him as the founder of statistics in the modern sense, or of vital statistics, it is worth while to point out that Süssmilch himself considers Graunt his master. “Die góttliche Ordnung” was first suggested, he tells us, by the observations collected by Derham1 . Becoming interested in the subject, he sent to England for the writings of Graunt and Petty2 , and was thus induced to publish his book partly because the observations already made were known to very few people, partly because the lists which he had collected in Germany enabled him to go further in some respects than Graunt and Petty had done3 . But to Graunt, as he acknowledges4 , the first and most distinguished praise belongs. Graunt first sought to utilize the bills for the discovery of the new truths. Parish registers had been kept for centuries, but who before Graunt used them to lay bare “Die göttliche Ordnung?” The discovery was as possible as that of America, all that was wanting was a Columbus who should go further than others in his survey of old and well known truths and reports. That Columbus was Graunt5 .
The influence of Süssmilch upon Malthus has never been traced. The first suggestion of the “Essay on the Principle of Population” owes nothing to “Die göttliche Ordnung,” but in every edition after the first Sussmilch is cited between forty and fifty times. It was doubtless to one of the later editions that the author of “The Origin of Species” acknowledges his indebtedness for what is perhaps the central idea of his work.
“The Observations upon the London Bills of Mortality,” wrote Petty at the outset of the statistical work which first engaged his own attention6 , “have been a new Light to the World; and the like Observation upon those of Dublin may serve as Snuffers to make the same candle burn clearer.” It is improbable that even Petty, in spite of the openness of his mind and the vigour of his imagination, appreciated to the full the significance of Graunt's discoveries; but it may perhaps be noted that he wrote of another great work of his day, “Poor Mr Newton…I have not met with one man that putt an extraordinary value on his book. I would give 500l. to have been the author of it; and 200l. that Charles understood it7 .”
ON THE BILLS OF MORTALITY.
Almost all of Graunt's “Observations” and a large portion of Petty's “Essays” are based on the London bills of mortality. Some knowledge of the history and character of the bills is therefore necessary to an appreciation of those writings. Accordingly the gradual elaboration of the Parish Clerk's bills from crude weekly returns of the progress of the plague, through a long series of changes, to the form finally superseded by the Registrar General's bills in 1840, is here traced as far as the year 1686, the last year of whose bills Petty made use, and an attempt is made to estimate the accuracy of the seventeenth century bills in several particulars.
So far as is known, no set of the London bills of mortality before 1658 escaped the great fire of September, 16661 , and there is, in consequence, some doubt as to the time at which they originated. Graunt's assertion2 that the bills first began in the year 1592 accords with the official statement put forth, after the Plague of 1665 and before the Fire, by John Bell, clerk to the Company of Parish Clerks, to rectify “the many and gross mistakes which have been imposed upon the World, by divers Ignorant Scriblers3 about the weekly Accompts of former Visitations4 .” Bell says that he could find in the Parish Clerks’ Hall no record of more antiquity than 21 December, 1592; the bills, therefore, must have begun at that date. In 1595, he continues, the plague ceased, and on the 18th December of that year the bills were accordingly discontinued and were laid aside as useless until 21 December, 1603, “at which time they were again resumed and continued unto this day.” On this point Bell is particularly emphatic. “I deny not,” he says, “that there might be, and I believe was, a very grievous Pestilence which raged here in some part of the Year 1603…. You may ask me why then I do not give a better account of that Pestilential Year? I answer, That in that Year the Parish Clerks gave not any accompt thereof; and although I think it not impossible, yet it is very improbable, that any particular man should give a just accompt thereof.”
In regard to the date at which the bills began, both Bell and Graunt are mistaken. There may have been bills even as early as 15171 , and original weekly bills assigned, with much probability, to 15322 and to 15353 , are still preserved. These bills doubtless owe their existence to the known timidity of Henry VIII. in the face of the plague, and it is probable that they were not long continued after the disease ceased. Indeed, the French ambassador, though he was very certain that fear of infection could not be, as was given out, the true reason why Anne of Cleves went to Richmond in the summer of 1540, was still unable to find any better ground for his scepticism than the mere assertion that “there is no talk at present of the plague” in London4 . Throughout the period from 1550 to 1563 there was, probably, little or no plague in the city and consequently less occasion to continue the weekly reports5 . But the new outbreak of the epidemic in the last named year apparently caused them to be resumed, and we know of weekly figures for 1563–15666 , for 15747 , for 1578–15838 , for 1592–15959 , and for 1597–16001 . Inasmuch as a large portion of these returns, those preserved by Stow from 14 July, 1564, to 26 July, 1566 and all the Bodleian figures, 1597–1600, cover periods almost free from infection, it may perhaps be inferred that after 1563 the weekly returns continued to be made out with considerable regularity during the rest of the century. In any event it is clear that they antedate 1592 and were not discontinued from 1595 to 1603. We might perhaps save Bell's reputation for accuracy in the matter by assuming that the sixteenth century bills were compiled by some one else than the Company of Parish Clerks. We know, indeed, that the deaths in 1535 were certified by the Lord Mayor2 , and we do not know how he ascertained the facts; but it is probable that he employed the Parish Clerks even then to collect the information, and it is almost certain that in and after 1563 the bills were made out by that company3 .
Graunt professes to give4 the deaths from the plague and from other causes in each week of 1603 from 17 March to the end of December. Apparently he had also the figures, at least of the christenings, from December, 1602 to March, 16035 . In other words he claims information for a whole year of which Bell asserts that the Parish Clerks gave no account until December twenty-first. And Graunt's figures are confirmed in part, while Bell's assertion is completely refuted, by an original printed bill for the week 13–20 October, 1603, preserved in the Guildhall Library6 . Concerning the figures for 1592, also, there is a disagreement between Bell and Graunt. Graunt gives figures of the total deaths and of the plague deaths from 17 March, 1592, to the 22nd December7 , whereas Bell believes that the 21st December of that year marks the beginning of the bills. Noting that “the Weekly and General Bills in the year 1593 did bare date from Thursday to Thursday……and that they continued that course until the year 1629,” Bell goes on to observe that “all the Papers that make mention of the Great Plague in the years 1592, 1593, 1603 and 1625 bear date the 17th of March in all the said years…making that day Epidemical as well as the year Pestilential.” “But I think it very strange,’ says he, “nor do I believe that the 17th March in all the said years did fall out to be on a Thursday: but I conceive that what is contained in them, was gleaned from some false scattered papers, printed in some of those years.” In this opinion Bell is right, so far as Graunt's figures for 1592 are concerned1 ; but in his inference that no bills existed in 1592 he is plainly mistaken.
The manner in which the bills were first published is not altogether clear. In Graunt's time they were regularly printed, and the weekly bills were supplied to subscribers at four shillings a year. The editor of the “Collection of the yearly Bills of Mortality” says2 that “In 1625, the bills of mortality having now acquired a general reputation, the company of parish clerks obtained a decree or act, under the seal of the High-commission-court, or Star-chamber, for the keeping of a printing press in their hall, in order to the printing of the weekly and general bills within the city of London and liberties thereof; for which purpose a printer was assigned by the Archbishop of Canterbury. And on the 18th of July that year, a printing press was accordingly set up, and an order then made3 , that from henceforth the weekly reports of the burials, within the limits aforesaid, should be printed, with the number of burials against every parish; which till that time had not been done.” This Dr Ogle interprets4 to mean that the bills were first printed in 1625. But it is certain that in one instance, at least, a weekly bill was printed as early as 1603 “by John Windet, printer to the Honourable City of London,” and in 1610 the printing of a blank form for the weekly bills appears to have been the custom5 . Still it is not improbable that the Parish Clerks possessed no press of their own until 1625, and that may be all that the editor of the “Collection” intends to assert.
If the method by which the bills were made public during the earlier part of the seventeenth century is uncertain, the manner of their publication in the sixteenth century is involved in still greater obscurity. Graunt implies1 that for the figures before 1629 he was forced to have recourse to the unpublished records in the Parish Clerks’ Hall, and Dr Ogle suggests2 that the earlier figures preserved by Stow may have been obtained by that antiquary in a similar way. On the other hand letters of the sixteenth century, preserved at the State Paper Office, show that in times of infection the weekly figures were known to many persons. Perhaps the facts were regularly ascertained after 1563 but were made public during the pestilence only.
Whatever may have been the first year of the bills, and however early their first publication, they were regularly made out by the Parish Clerks for more than two centuries after 1603. In 1849 they ceased, being practically superseded by the new bills issued, since 1840, under the authority of the Registrar-General.
With the growth of London the number of parishes included within the bills of mortality steadily increased. The MS. bill of 16–23 November, 1532, enumerates thirty-seven parishes in which persons died of the plague, and adds “there is this weke clere xxlii and iii paryshes.” In the bill of 1535, likewise, one hundred parishes are included, but in 1563 the number has risen to one hundred and eight in the city and liberties3 . In 1595 the bills gave returns, it is said4 , for one hundred and nine parishes arranged alphabetically without distinction of locality5 . In 1604 the included area was enlarged to 120 parishes and these were divided, for the purpose of the bills, into three groups. The first group comprised the ninety-six parishes within the walls. This group was subsequently increased by the addition, after 1622, of St James, Duke Place6 , completing the group of “97 parishes within the walls” as enumerated by Graunt on pages 338–340. During the period discussed by Graunt and by Petty (1604–1686) no further change of importance was made in the area or in the composition of this group of parishes, save that the weekly bills from September, 1666, to May, 1669 have, instead of ninety-seven parishes, “the 16 parishes (now standing) within the walls.”
The second of the three groups formed in 1604 included the parishes without the walls, but partly within the liberties of the city. Thirteen of these were within the bills in 1597. In 1604 there were added St Bartholomew the Great, Bridewell Precinct, and Trinity in the Minories, making up the “sixteen parishes without the walls, standing part within the Liberties and part without, in Middlesex and Surrey.” This group, enumerated by Graunt on pages 340–341, remained unaltered until 1673, when its area was diminished by the transfer of part of St Saviour's parish, under the name of Christ Church, Surrey, to the group of twelve out-parishes then existing1 .
The third of the groups of parishes instituted in 1604 has a more varied history. Consisting originally of the eight “out parishes” first brought within the bills in 1604, it was enlarged, in 1606, by the addition of St Mary, Savoy, making the “Nine out Parishes in Middlesex and Surrey” which Graunt names on page 341. In 1647 the number of parishes but not the area of this group was further increased by the introduction into the bills of St Paul, Covent Garden2 , taken, Graunt says3 , out of St Giles and St Martin.
In addition to these three groups–the parishes within the walls, the parishes without the walls but at least partly within the liberties, and the parishes in Middlesex and Surrey, situated without the liberties but adjacent to London–the bills also included, after 1626, the city of Westminster, which was, for this purpose, reckoned as St Margaret parish. During the plague of 1636 there were added4 the six circumjacent parishes of Islington, Hackney, Stepney, Rotherhithe, Newington, and Lambeth, thus raising the total number of parishes within the bills to one hundred and twenty-nine or, after 1647, to one hundred and thirty. This is the classification of parishes which Graunt has in view in his discussion of the growth of the city5 .
The year 1660 saw a regrouping of the parishes which established the classification still in force when Petty wrote1 . The two groups of parishes within the liberties remained, with the exception of Christ Church, Southwark, above noted, as they had been before 1660. But the third group, “the Out-parishes, now called ten, formerly nine, and before that eight2 , “was divided. Four parishes of this group3 were classified with St Margaret as “the five parishes within the city and liberties of Westminster,” while the remaining six parishes were joined with the six parishes added in 1636 to make the “twelve parishes lying in Middlesex and Surrey4 .” After 1660 there were, therefore, four groups of parishes within the bills, viz. the ninety-seven parishes within the walls, the sixteen parishes without the walls, the five parishes in Westminster, and the twelve out-parishes in Middlesex and Surrey. To these one hundred and thirty parishes there were added, between 1660 and 1686, four others. St Paul, Shadwell5 , which first appeared in the weekly bill of 4–11 April, 1671, was reckoned the thirteenth out-parish, and a fourteenth out-parish, Christ Church, Surrey6 , was added in the bill of 16–23 December, 1673. Since Christ Church had been formerly a part of St Saviour, Southwark, this change made no alteration in the total area within the bills. It simply transferred to the group of out-parishes an area which, since 1604, had been reckoned to the parishes within the liberties. This transfer is without significance for Petty's arguments. The two remaining additions are St James, Westminster7 and St Anne, Westminster8 , raising the Westminster group of parishes to six, and afterwards to seven9 . Since both of these parishes were taken out of St Martin-in-the-Fields, which already belonged to the Westminster group, no change of area or of distribution was effected10
The form and contents of the bills of mortality have varied greatly since their beginning. In 1532 and 1535 the weekly bills gave the total number of burials and the number of plague burials by parishes, adding a summation of parishes clear and parishes infected. As early as 1578, if not before, the bills gave also the number of christenings1 In 1603, if not earlier, the figures of the weekly bills are summed up in December, by a “general or yearly bill2 .” According to Graunt3 the yearly bill did not particularize the several parishes until the year 1625, and his assertion is implicitly confirmed by Bell, who thus excuses himself from describing the form of bills: “I think I need not trouble myself herein, since that worthy and ingenious gentleman, Captain John Graunt, in his Book of Natural and Political Observations on the Bills of Mortality, hath already so well described them.” In the absence of definite evidence to the contrary it may be assumed, therefore, that Graunt is right and that the yearly bills did not enumerate the several parishes until much later than the weekly bills.
The gradual extension of the bills to include territory not originally comprised within their limits, has been already traced. It remains to describe their enlargement by the addition of matter new to them. The first additional matter of importance was the specification of those casualties and diseases, other than the plague, which resulted in death. According to Graunt the causes of non-plague burials were ascertained and entered in the Hallbooks “in the very first year4 .” Bell likewise says that the parishes within the walls, “ever since the year 1604, brought to the Company of Parish Clerks Hall, not only the number of all the christenings and burials, but also an accompt of all the diseases and casualties, although no such accompt was published to the world until the Year 1629.” The correctness of Bell's assertion turns upon the interpretation of the word “published,” for it is certain that the weekly bills of 5–12 November, 1607, and 10–17 August, 1609, were endorsed in MS. with various causes of death5 . I have found, however, no early weekly bills upon which the causes of death were printed1 The next additional matter introduced into the bills was a distinction of the burials and christenings according to sex. This distinction, introduced for the returns from London and its liberties, in 16292 was extended, in 1660, to Westminster and the out-parishes3 . Important features not appearing in the bills before 1686 are the number of marriages, the omission of which Graunt notes4 and the age at death, which he makes an attempt to supply by an estimate5 . Both of these details Petty desired to see introduced into the Dublin bills6 and they were actually included in the London bills of a later date.
The general trustworthiness of the bills, and consequently the validity of all conclusions based upon them, is conditioned by the accuracy and the completeness with which the Parish Clerks knew the facts that they professed to report. It is therefore important to enquire how they obtained their knowledge of the number of christenings, marriages, and burials and of the causes of death within their respective parishes. The earliest indication of the method pursued in found in the plague orders of the Lord Mayor, issued in 1581. He directed the aldermen:
“To appoynt two honest and discreete matrons within euery parish who shall bee sworne truely to search the body of euery such person as shall happen to dye within the same parish, to the ende that they make true reporte to the clerke of the parish church of all such as shall dye of the plague, that the same clerke may make the like reporte and certificate to the wardens of the parish clerkes thereof according to the order in that behalfe heretofore provided.
If the viewers through favour or corruption shall giue wrong certificate, or shall refuse to serue being thereto appointed, then to punish them by imprisonment in such sorte as may serue for the terror of others.1 “
The Manner in which all the searches proceeded in a case of death is thus descibed by Graunt:
When any one dies, then, either by tolling, or ringing of a Bell, or by bespeaking of a grave of the Sexton, the same is known to the Searchers, corresponding with the said Sexton. The Searchers hereupon (who are ancient Matrons, sworn to their Office) repair to the place where the dead Corps lies, and by view of the same, and by other Enquiries, they examine by what Disease or Casualty the Corps died. Hereupon they make their report to the Parish Clerk.2
Graunt, who clearly understood how difficult it sometimes is to determine the cause of death, discusses at considerable length the question whether such ancient matrons, “perhaps ignorant and careless,” could make correct returns even if they would,3 and he hints pretty strongly that inaccuracies due to their ignorance may be increased in some cases by their veniality4 . He is therefore inclined to distrust their reports in the more difficult cases5 . Petty, with characteristic practical shrewdness, proposed to meet this difficulty by the enumeration, in his model Dublin bills, of but twenty-four casualties, “being such as may be discerned by common sence and without Art, conceiving that more will perplex and imbroil the account6 .” His suggestion remained without effect. Indeed it seems that the very lame defence of the searchers put forth by Bell in reply to Graunt's strictures, must have been considered quite adequate7 for in spite of the sharp but just criticism passed by Maitland1 in 1756 and by the editor2 of the “Collection of the Yearly Bills” in 1759, no material amendment was effected in the administration of the London Vital Statistics until they came under the supervision of the Registrar-General.3
To determine the mere number of persons who died, or, were born or married, is much less difficult than to determine the causes of their death; but even in the former respects the seventeenth century bills leave much to be desired. Graunt himself pointed out “that there hath been a neglect in the Accompt of the Christenings4 ,” and explains that this “hath been neglected more than that of Burials” because religious scruples played a larger part in the former case5 . But even the record of burials included, as a rule, only those buried according to the service of the Church of England. Roman Catholics and non-conformists interred in their own burying grounds were entirely omitted from the bills. Now as late as 1676 Petty calculated on the basis of the Bishop's Survey, that these omitted classes were nearly five per cent of the population of England,6 and it is generally admitted that in the twenty-five years after the Restoration the proportion of non-conformists had considerably decreased Besides this, it seems that even conformists buried elsewhere than in the parish churches or cemeteries, e.g. in St Paul's, the Charter House, or the hospitals, were omitted from the bills7 Further than this Dr Ogle has shown by comparison of the printed of manuscript registers of many parish churches with the number of burials returned from those parishes by the bills, that the Parish Clerks were often careless in making the returns even of members of the Established Church buried in their own parish cemeteries, and that the number in the bills is more frequently an understatement than an exaggeration. It seems, however, that when a sufficient series of years is taken, the discrepancy arising from this source during the seventeenth century is not large.1 And, finally, the number of persons who died in London but were buried in the country far exceeded the number dying in the country but buried in London. How great the error due to this fact may have been in the seventeenth century, we have no means of knowing. In the middle of the eighteenth it was very plausibly calculated at one sixth of the whole number2 . Taking all these facts into account, it is not too much to assume that we must add a correction of at least fifteen per cent. to the figures of burials in the pre-Restoration bills, and not less than ten per cent. to the later figures which Petty uses, in order to obtain an approximately correct estimate of the actual mortality of London at the dates in question. Inasmuch as both Graunt and Petty base their estimates of London's population upon the burials reported in the bills, the numbers which they deduce must be pronounced too small, even upon the assumption of a death rate that justified them in multiplying by only thirty. But their other important deductions from the bills, such as the determination of the approximate numerical equality between the sexes, the discovery that the most healthy years are also the most fruitful, and even their calculations of the growth of the city, are far less affected by the incompleteness of the original returns. In fact if the cases omitted were, as seems not improbable, similar or proportional to those included, the effect of the omissions upon the validity of most of their conclusions would be almost negligibly small.
So far as the “country bills” used by Graunt are concerned, it is probable that the parish registers from which they were derived were kept more carefully after Cromwell's registration Act of 1653 than before it. If so we can account not only for the increase of the weddings, which Graunt explains in another way,3 but also for the contemporaneous increase of the births and the burials.
The earliest printed notice of Petty's life is in Wood's Athenæ Oxonienses (1691). It is based upon memoranda by “Petty procured for Wood by John Aubrey (cf. post, p. xl), and upon Petty's published writings. His autobiographical will was first published in the Tracts relating chiefly to Ireland (1769; see Bibliography, no. 27) and various letters by and about him were printed in Boyle's Works (1744) and in the Capel Correspondence (1770). In 1813 Aubrey's Lives were included in the “Bodleian Letters” edited by Walker and Bliss, and soon thereafter the printing of Evelyn's and of Pepys's diaries brought further facts to light. In 1851 Petty's History of the Down Survey was edited for the Irish Archæological Society. Finally, in 1895, appeared Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice's Life of Sir William Petty, chiefly from Private Documents hitherto unpublished (London: John Murray), a record of Petty's acts and thoughts which leaves little to be desired in point of completeness and authenticity. Of the private documents used by Lord E. Fitzmaurice, the most important appear to be the letters exchanged between Petty and Sir Robert Southwell (pp. lvi—lvii). In preparing the above account of Petty, which is confined to those phases of his life that may have suggested, or may serve to explain parts of his writings, I have drawn upon the Life without reserve, and have cited other authorities, in general, only in case the citation given is not to be found in the Life.
Aubrey, Brief Lives, ed. by A. Clark (Oxford, 1898), II. 140. This is far preferable to the 1813 ed.
Some printed versions of Petty's will read “University of Oxon,” instead of “University of Caen.”
At the University of Leyden he was matriculated as a student of medicine the 26th May, 1644, his twenty-first birthday. Album studiosorum Acad. Lugd. Bat., 350.
Anthony Petty, the father, was buried 14 July, 1644. Latham's transcript of the Romsey parish register, Addl. MS. 26,775, f°. 10b, British Museum.
Cf. his prospectuses, Bibliography, 1,2.
Bibliography, no. 3.
Hartlib to Boyle, 16 Nov., 1647, Boyle's Works, VI. 76; Petty's Reflections, 164. Cf. note on p. 118, and supplement to the Bibliography.
On Petty's connection with the Royal College of Physicians, which began about this time, see the note on p. 27.
An account of this exploit, embellished with verse in English and in Latin, is contained in the pamphlet, News from the Dead, which was published at Oxford by Robinson in 1650 and again in 1651. The second edition is carelessly reprinted in Morgan's Pha'nix Britannicus, 233–248. The authorship of the pamphlet has not been ascertained. Wood ascribes it to Richard Watkins Clark, Life and Times of Wood, I. 155. But Derham, who wrote in 1707, had been informed that the writer was Dr Ralph Bathurst, one of the participating physicians. Derham's Psycho and Astro-theology, I. 236, note. I see no sufficient reason for thinking that Petty wrote it. The mention of Hester Ann Green among his “works” (Suppl. to Bibliography) may refer to the experiment of resuscitation, and not to the account of it.
Ward, Lives of the Professors of Gresham College, 228.
Burroughs, Register, 335.
He appears to have left Ireland 16 June, 1659 (History of the Down Survey, 301) and to have reached London within a week. Mercurius Politicus, 23 June, 1659. H. Cromwell's letters commending Petty are printed in Ward's Lives, 220.
The chief authorities on the seventeenth century surveys of Ireland are W. H. Hardinge's papers in the publications of the Royal Irish Academy (Transactions, XXIV. Antiquities, pp. 3–118, 265–316, 379–420, Proceedings, VIII. pp. 39–55) and General Sir T. A. Larcom's edition of Petty's History of the Down Survey, published for the Irish Archæological Society. See also Prendergast's Cromwellian Settlement and chapter two of Fitzmaurice's Life of Petty.
The contest between Petty and Worsley, who belonged to the extreme wing of the English in Ireland, was complicated with the differences between Fleetwood and Henry Cromwell in ways which it is not now possible to trace. Cromwell, who became Petty's steadfast friend, took up his residence at Dublin as Major-General of the Forces and virtual Deputy in July, 1655, while the Down Survey was still in progress; Fleetwood returned to England in the following September. Concerning both the dispute with Worsley and that with Sanchey, which followed the completion of the survey, it should be borne in mind that we have Petty's story only. General Larcom apparently had a high opinion of Worsley's abilities. See his note to Petty's History, 320–321.
See note on p. 6, cf. Bibliography.
History, 208. After a time, but not until its work was nearly completed, a fourth member was added to the commission.
H. C. Journals, VII.612.
Sanchey, or Zankey, a son of a clergyman of Salop, was a member of Clare Hall, Cambridge, and received his B.A. in 1641. More given to manly exercises than to logic and philosophy, a boisterous fellow at cudgelling and foot-ball (Wood,Fasti Oxon. II.69), he exchanged his gown for a trooper's jacket and soon rose to be a colonel in the parliamentary army. Whitelocke, Memorials, 302. In March, 1649, the parliamentary visitors to Oxford called him from the army to become sub-warden of All Souls. In this capacity he received Oliver Cromwell, upon his visit to the University, and presented him for his degree. Burrows, Register, 227. By the end of the year he was once more in command of a troop of cavalry and met with much military success in Ireland. He was repeatedly chosen a member of the Irish parliament and was knighted by Henry Cromwell. Cromwell'sLetters and Speeches, II.254, 302. In August, 1659, he brought his regiment to England to join Lambert, and was promient in the disputes between the army and the Rump. Ludlow, Memoirs, (Firth's ed.), II. 110, 118, 130, 135, 151, 162; Whitelocke, 436, 445, 509, 530, 678, 682,685. In Dec., 1660, he was arrested (Rugge's MS. Diary, quoted by Taylor, England under Charles II. 40) on suspicion of taking part in an alleged plot against kingly power, and his name appears as one of the thirty republicans whom the House of Commons proposed, 24 May, 1661, to exempt from pardon and confirmation of estates. Carte, Ormond, ii. 226 n, 228. After that he disappears from public view, but it is known that he died in Ireland about 1685.
History, 299,301; Reflections, 70–75.
H. Cromwell to Fleetwood, June, 1659, Thurloe, vii. 684.
A Brief of Proceedings between S’ Hierome Sankey and Dr William Petty, 1659. See Bibliography, no. 4.
Reflections upon some Persons and Things in Ireland, 1660. See Bibliography, no. 5.
It was not published until 1851, see Bibliography, no. 31 and cf. pp. xiii, xiv. Mr Hardinge declares that “the accuracy of the facts adduced” by Petty “in his defence have [sic] been fully borne out by the researches I have made amongst the yet surviving documents of the period.” Trans. R. I. Acad. XXIV. Antiquities, p. 21.
They are known only by his account of them in the Reflections (pp. 60–61): “I have also written a profest Answer to Sir Hieromes Eleven last and greatest Articles, containing the proofs of what is herein but barely alledged, which I may not publish till after my tryal.… There is another piece of quite a contrary nature, being indeed a Satyre; which though it contain little of seriousness, yet doth it allow nothing of untruth: ‘Tis a Gallery wherein you will see the Pictures of my chief Adversaries hang'd up in their proper colours: ‘tis intended for the honest recreation of my ingenious friends.”
P. 23, note.
Ante, p. xiv.
Dr John Wallis's Account of some passages in his own Life, in Hearne's ed. of Langtoft's Chronicle (1725), vol. I. p. clxiv. This with Sprat's History of the Royal Society, gives nearly all that is known of Petty's connection with the inchoate Society.
Masson, Life of Milton, III. 665; Fitzmaurice, 15.
Wallis, loc. cit.
Ward, Lives of the Professors of Gresham College, 91, 96.
Birch, History of the Royal Society, 1. 14.
Birch, 1. 7, 12, 13, 15, 19, 55–65, 83, 124, etc.; cf. Bibliography, no. 7.
Anthony à-Wood's suggestion that the “Thoughts on the Philosophy of Shipping” which Petty presented to the Society in 1662, may be the same as the Treatise of Naval Philosophy printed over his name in Hale's Account of Several New Inventions in 1691 (Bibliography, no. 25) cannot be reconciled with the extraordinary value which the members of the Society appear to have set upon Petty's “thoughts.” But if we recall the extravagant expectations of his “sluice boat” which he himself cherished, it is easy to see why Lord Brouncker, as president of the Society, might declare with alarm that a paper describing it was “too great an arcanum of state to be commonly perused,” and accordingly forbid its printing. Cf. Aubrey, Brief Lives, II. 147. Pepys appears to have had a copy of Petty's paper in 1682. Pepys to Wood, 16 June, 1682, Rawlinson MS. A 194, f°. 279, Bodleian Library.
Or perhaps another boat built upon similar lines.
Pepys, Diary, 1 Feb., 1664.
Evelyn, Diary, 22 Mch., 1675.
See pp. xxiv, xxv.
To Southwell, 18 Oct., 1682, Fitzmaurice, 256–257. I cannot find that he ever wrote the book.
Officially confirmed Feb., 1661, Carte Papers, XLII. 492, Bodleian Library. On the 25 March, 1661, certain unprofitable lands in Kerry were settled on Petty “in consideration of his early endeavours for the King's Restoration, the good affection he bears his Majesty, and his abilities to serve him.” Fourteenth Rept. Hist. Mss., Com. pt. 7, p. 70.
See pp. 199, 601. It was during a brief residence in Ireland, undertaken with a view to defending his interests against the Innocents, that Petty built the first Double Bottom and began his enquiries into the Dublin bills of mortality. See p. 398, note.
11 April, 1661, Le Neve, Pedigrees of the Knights, 133; Birch, I. 41.
Fitzmaurice, 107; Cabinet Portrait Gallery, VIII. 37. Hardinge, however, says that John Pettie, apparently Sir William's cousin, “was Surveyor-General from the Restoration in 1660 to the 13th of February, 1667, when Sir James Sheen succeeded Pettie.” Trans. R.I. Acad. XXIV. Antiquities, p. 18.
Diary, 4 Aug., 1665. Petty appears to have given up his medical practice some years before the Plague of 1665. His plan for lessening the plagues of London (p. 109, note) contains no medical suggestion whatsoever.
Aubrey, Brief Lives, II. 142.
To Harbord, 28 March, 1674, Essex Papers, I. 201.
Polit. Anat. ch. XI. post, p. 195.
Collection of his “several works” in supplement to Bibliography. At a later date Petty seems to have attempted the “trade” which he so strongly reprehended. In 1673 he joined Sir Henry Ingoldsby in a proposal to make Charles II. an annual money payment for a patent of certain “concealed lands” in Ireland. Essex declared that “nothing can be more illegall & oppressing to ye subject than such a Patent, whereby opportunity & warrt will be given to these Projectors to raveell into ye Settlement of all men's Estates whatever, who, tho’ they had never so just & clear Titles, will rather come to a composition than endure ye charges and vexations that these men will put them to.” To Shaftesbury 4 May, 1673, Essex Papers, 1. 82.
He married 7 June, 1667, Elizabeth, daughter of his friend, Sir Hardress Waller.
Petty to Graunt, 24 Dec., 1672, Fitzmaurice, 234.
Peter Bronsdon to the Navy Commissioners, 17 March, 1671, C.S.P. Dom. 1671, pp. 135, 184. Bronsdon had examined much of Ireland in search of timber for the Navy (ib. p. xxxiv.) and found none so well suited for the purpose as that growing on Petty's Kerry estates. Ib. p. 77, 136, 183, 207, 521.
Political Arithmetick, p. 263.
A spirited account of Kenmare, based on Smith's Ancient and Present State of Kerry, is given by Macaulay, History of England, Vol. III., ch. XII., pp. 108–110.
He served with Sir William Temple on the Commons’ Committee upon the means of advancing the trade of Ireland. Mountmorres, History of the Irish Parliament, 96. Cf. post, pp. 225–231.
See note on pp. 161, 162.
Carte, II. 368; Cal. S. P. Dom., 1667–68, pp. 532, 543, 557, 564; 1668, 90.
Howard, Revenue and Exchequer of Ireland, I. 57.
On the 30 Sept., 1670, the deficit for the half year was £72,953 and the debt was £245,510. Cal. S. P. Dom., 1671, p. 54.
Essex to the Lords Justices, 28 Sept., 1675, Capel Correspondence, 403–404.
Carte, Ormond, II. 451–464.
Birch III. 112. In December, 1673, he was elected Vice-President of the Society (ib. 123) and in the following November he read before it his Discourse of Duplicate Proportion (see pp. 622–624, also Bibliography, no. 8), the only printed production of this visit to London. Cf. Aubrey, Brief Lives, II. 144.
On 1 July, 1676, Dr Ent wrote that Petty was about to go to Ireland. Ballard MS. 33, f°. 4, Bodleian Library.
He reached Chester on his way to London, 5 June, 1682. Fitzmaurice, 250.
Cf. pp. 122, 235, 236, 480.
See, in addition to Fitzmaurice, pp. 169–173, the extracts from Petty's letters in Thorpe's Cat. lib. MSS. bibl. southwelliancæ, no. 710; cf. Petty's opinion of the Chancellor and Sir Richard Cox's comment on it, p. 205, post.
To Southwell, 3 April, 1677, Fitzmaurice, 172. Not all Petty's friends thought so meanly of his verses as he himself professed to do. In the privacy of his diary Evelyn wrote of Petty (22 March, 1675) “there is no better Latin poet living when he gives himself that diversion.” See Bibliography, no. 9.
“I am confident in all his Majestie's 3 Kingdomes, there lives not a more grating man than Sir William Petty” wrote Essex to Shaftesbury, 4 May, 1673. Essex Papers, 1. 83.
His letter is given by Fitzmaurice, p. 155.
Carte, Ormond, II. 494, 495.
Ossory to Ormond, 5 June, 1680, from Windsor: “Sir William Petty has desired mee to gett him to be made a Councellor.… Without your permission I shall not move in this matter.” Seventh Rept. Hist. MSS. Com., 739 b.
Lady Petty to Edmund Waller, 8 March, 1680, Fitzmaurice, 245.
The farmers were also far behind in their payments to the Exchequer. On the 18 Feby., 1679, Danby wrote to Ormond that if some speedy care be not taken the present farm of the revenue of Ireland must break in the hands of those which now manage it. Fourteenth Rept. Hist. MSS. Com., pt. 7, p. 50.
Works, II. 526. Ranelagh predicted that Shaen would prove unable to execute his proposals. Ranelagh to Ormond, 12 July, 1681, Fourteenth Rept. Hist. MSS. Com., pt. 7, p. 53.
Ormond's report to Petty, 16 Sept., 1682, Fitzmaurice 252. In Ackerman's Monies received and paid for Secret Services of Charles II. and James II., p. 58, is an entry, dated 9 Dec., 1682, of £2 “for copies of I'res concerning Sr Wm Petty and others.”
See p. xxiii above.
Molyneaux Correspondence, in Dublin University Magazine, XVIII. 489; Birch, IV. 341; Wilde, in Proc. R. I. Acad., III. 160–176. On Petty's previous connection with the College of Physicians at Dublin, cf. p. 165 n.
Bibliography, 14–16. There were also papers on concentric circles and other subjects which have not been printed, Wilde, op. cit., 171, 172.
See pp. 480, 485,486, cf. 396.
See p. 546.
See pp. 452, 502, 503, 522, 524.
Cf. his Telling of Noses, p. 461 note [where read 11870 for 11878 and for ]. Regarding “the Bishops late numbering of the Communicants,” upon which Petty's calculations for England were based, Mr W. C. Abbott Kindly writes me that “in 1676 the Earl of Danby, then Lord High Treasurer and Chief Minister to Charles II., ordered a census of religious bodies in England by dioceses and committed the task of making it to the Anglican clergy. Among the Leeds papers (Hist. MSS. Com., vol. XI. pt.7, pp. 14 seq.), in consequence, we find several documents dealing with the matter. The first is a letter from Danby to Bishop Morley regarding this inquiry, which was set on foot to demonstrate to the King by actual figures the vast superiority in numbers of the Anglican Church over all other religious bodies in England. This, as the Bishop says, will probably break down the king's objection to the rigid suppression of conventicles, and he assumes that it is for that purpose. Rather, one would say from a political point of view, it was to demonstrate to Charles the absolute futility of his religious policy.”
The figures from the Political Anatomy, pp. 156, 138–144, are familiar from the use made of them by Macaulay and Lecky. Those in the Treatise of Ireland, pp. 561, 590–596, now first published, are not less striking.
Cf. pp. 70–73, 262–264, post; Fitzmaurice, pp. 234–243, 270. In Rawlinson MS. A 171, ff. 274–275, is a dialogue on Liberty of Conscience endorsed “Sr Wm Petty's Paper written at my desire & given me by himselfe a little before his Death. S[amuel] P[epys].” The only theological suggestion contained in “Twelve articles of a good catholique and good patriot's creed” found in Petty's pocket after his death (Fitzmaurice, 310) is “that Liberty of Religion and Naturalization be secured.”
Cf. pp. 577, 591.
Aubrey, II. 142.
“When I who knew him in mean circumstances, have been in his splendid palace, he would himself be in admiration how he arrived at it; nor was it his value and inclination for splendid furniture or the curiosities of the age; but his elegant lady could endure nothing mean, or that was not magnificent. He was very negligent himself, and rather so of his own person, and of a philosophic temper. What a to do is here he would say, I can lie in straw with as much satisfaction.” Evelyn, Diary, 22 March, 1675.
Aubrey, Brief Lives, I 271–274.
Register of St Michael, Cornhill (Harleian Society), 33.
His is the earliest recorded christening among the children of Henry Graunt. Register, 114; cf. pp. 114, 116, 117, 119, 121, 122, 239.
Pepys's Diary, 2 Jan, 1662.
Pepys, 26 April, 1668.
Pepys, 20 April, 1663. “I had not time,” he characteristically adds, “to look them over as I ought.”
Aubrey, II. 141; Ward, Lives of the Professors of Gresham College, 217.
Graunt's Epistles dedicatory, pp. 320, 322.
Diary, 24 March, 1662.
Birch, History of the Society, 1. 75.
Sprat, History of the Royal Society, 67.
P. 324, post.
Birch, 1. 76–77.
Printed on p. 432.
Fitzmaurice, 232–236. Cf. in the MS. called “Dr Petty's Register” in the Public Records Office at Dublin (1 C. 8c. 131, ff. 63–64), the articles, dated 10 Jan., 166½ whereby Petty and Graunt jointly undertook to rebuild, at a cost of £12,000, nine burned houses on Petty's land in Lothbury. An indication of their earlier business relations is afforded by Petty's land in Lothbury. An indication of their earlier business relations is afforded by Petty's power of attorney, 6 March, 1660, to “my trusty friend, John Graunt,” etc., among the Rawlinson MSS. (A. 174, ff. 319–325) at the Bodleian Library. It was perhaps upon Petty's recommendation that Ormond employed Graunt, in 1667, to collect Walloon weavers about Canterbury and remove them into Ireland. Carte, Ormond, 11. 342.
Aubrey, loc. cit. Graunt's conversion apparently antedated the Fire, though he may have been one of those whose change of faith was caused by it. Cf. p. xlv.
Smith's Obituary, ed. by Sir H. Ellis, 102.
Diary, 23 Jan., 1663, 11 Jan., 1664, 26 April, 1668.
Brief Lives, 1. 273.
By permission of the editors of the Political Science Quarterly I have here used in revised form a large part of an article upon the above-named subject, which was originally printed in Vol. XI. pp. 105–132 of that journal.
Mr W. B. Hodge writing in the Assurance Magazine, VIII. 94, 234–237, (1859) and Dr W. L. Bevan in his Sir William Petty, a study (1894), have elaborated the arguments in favour of Petty. On the other hand Dr John Campbell (Biographia Britannica, IV, 2262–2263, note), McCulloch (Literature of Political Economy, 271), Roscher (Zur Gesch. d. engl. Volkswirthschaftslehre im 16 und 17 Jahrh., 73, note), De Morgan (Assurance Magazine, VIII. 166, 167; Budget of Paradoxes, 68, 69), John (Geschichte der Statistik, 170), and Cunningham (Growth of English Industry, Modern Times, 247) have all decided for Graunt. But none of these writers has discussed the question thoroughly.
Bibliography, no. 28.
Bibliography, no. 9, cf. p. xxviii.
Cf. p. xiii.
Ballard MS. XIV. ff. 126–132, Bodleian Library.
See Mr Clark's description, Brief Lives, 1. 4.
Brief Lives, II. 141.
Ibid., 1. 10–12.
Philosophical Transactions, no. 196 (1693), p. 596.
Vol. 1. p. 231. The charge against Graunt was thoroughly disproved by Bevil Higgons in his Historical and Critical Remarks on Bishop Burnet's History of his own Time, 149, and by Maitland, History of London, 1. 435.
Pp. 27, 45, 303, 458, 461, 481, 483, 485, 526, 527, 534, 535 (twice), 536, 541, 608, and in the Discourse of Duplicate Proportion, which justifies its double dedication by the example of “Graunt's” observations.
See pp. 303, 236, 237.
Rawlinson MS., A. 178, ff. 71–72, Bodleian Library. See also Petty's letter of 4 Feby., 1663, to Lord Brouncker printed on page 398.
See facsimile, p. 479.
See p. 493.
These advertisements were not included in the present reprint of Another Essay, pp. 451–478, post.
About the same time the Society reaffirmed its judgment by ordering the reprinting of “the Observations upon the Bills of Mortality by Mr John Graunt.” See p. 314.
Oldenburg to Boyle, 18 Sept., 1665, Boyle's Works, VI. 194.
Concerning Bell, see p. lxxx.
Carte, Ormond, II. 342, cf. p. xxxvii. In mentioning the employment of Graunt to collect weavers in England and remove them thence to Ireland with a view to establishing there the manufacture of Norwich stuffs, as recommended in a memorial which Sir Peter Pett had presented to Ormond, Carte describes Graunt as “a man well known by his observations on the bills of mortality.” Carte wrote about 1735.
The Happy Future State of England, London: 1688. Anon.
Pp. 92, 106, 122, 192, 193, 245, and pp. 1 and 27 of the preface.
Hale's Primitive Orgination of Mankind, published in 1677, the year after his death, was probably written before 1670. The passages (pp. 205, 206, 213, 237) which allude, with warm praise, to the London Observations, do not, so far as I can see, give or adjudge the name of Observator to the author at all. Hale quotes the title of “this little book,” but makes no mention of its author.
He began to write in 1680 though his book was not published until 1688. Cf. pp. 1, 2 and 5 of The Future Happy State.
Bevan, Petty, 44. The similar passages discovered in previous discussions of this subject, together with a few others upon which I had chanced, were printed in parallel columns in my article in the Political Science Quarterly, XI. 118–122. The passages in question may be found in this edition by comparing the following pages and lines:
See his Fumifugium (1661), p. 16, and cf. pp. 41, 380, 381, post.
Cf. p. 5, note.
Bevan, Petty, 46; cf. pp. post, 346–363.
Budget of Paradoxes, 68; Assurance Magazine, VIII. 167.
Mr Hodge replies: “The paragraph objected to stands unaltered in the fifth edition, edited by Petty, and the question naturally arises, how came he to publish as an editor that which, it is asserted, he must have known to be so grossly absurd that it is impossible he could have published it as a writer?” Assurance Magazine, VIII. 235, 236. This is ingenious, but fallacious. The fifth edition is a mere reprint and in no sense a revision.
See pp. 412, note, 388, 400.
See p. 399.
P. 361, 362.
Dr Bevan (p. 44) would dissent: “It is difficult to discover any great diversity in style, language, or in any other point between the ‘Bills’ and Petty's authentic writings.”
The letters ostensibly addressed to Petty were probably written by him, but, to be on the safe side, I excluded them. Cf. Fitzmaurice, 92.
Mr Higgs has pointed out also (Economic Journal, V. 72) that Graunt feared London was “too big,” whereas Petty wished it still bigger. Cf. pp. 320, 470–476, post.
The similarity in style of the conclusion to Petty's writings, and its dissimilarity to the earlier parts of the Observations is noted by Mr Hodge, Assurance Magazine, VIII. 235.
McCulloch and Roscher take the contrary course.
Cf. pp. xx–xxiv.
Cf. Shelburne's dedication of the 1690 edition of the Political Arithmetick, p. 240.
His Treatise was indeed published anonymously, but when it succeeded, its authorship soon became known.
Assurance Magazine, VIII. 236.
In fact he did write “Observations on the Advance of the Excise,” but they were never printed. Aubrey, I. 273.
Mr Hodge says: “It is not necessary for us to determine what could have been Petty's object in making such an arrangement,—whether it was for some personal convenience or advantage to himself or to gain a reputation for Graunt.” (Assurance Magazine, Vol. VIII. p. 235.) To be sure it is not necessary; but does not absence of motive justify doubt as to the fact?
Fitzmaurice, 317; reprinted in supplement to Bibliography, post.
A large part of this section was originally printed in the Political Science Quarterly, XI. 105–132, and is here used, in revised form, by permission of the editors of that journal.
Addl. MS. 21, 128, f°. 441
See p. 178, note. It was formerly supposed that all had been lost, but the diligence of Mr W. H. Hardinge has brought a number of maps and papers to light.
Pell was born at Southwick in Sussex, II March, 1611. He graduated B. A. at Cambridge in 1628 and in 1643 he succeeded Hortensius in the chair of mathematics at Amsterdam, where Petty made his acquaintance. The letters to him, dated 14 Aug, 1644, 8 Sept., 1644, and 8 Oct., 1645, are in the British Museum (Lansdowne MS. 4279) and are printed in Halliwell's Collection of Letters illustrative of the Progress of Science in England, pp. 81, 90.
Brit. Mus. Addl. MS. 6193, f. 70–72, printed in Boyle's Works, VI. 136–140.
These letters are dated 1662 or 1663 and are addressed either to Brouncker, the president, or to Sir Robert Moray, the secretary of the Royal Society; or to Graunt: Royal Society's Letter book, P. I. f. 11–33, cf. Halliwell's Catalogue of MS. Letters in the possession of the R. S, 143, also p. 398 note, post.
Some of the later letters to Pepys, dated 1683–1687, are in the Bodleian Library, Rawlinson MSS. A. 189, f. 17–19, A. 190, f. 21, cf. pp. 546, 547, post; others are in the possession of J. Eliot Hodgkin, Esq., of Richmond on the Thames. Fifteenth Report, Hist. MSS. Comm., pt. 2, p. 181. To Cromwell, in the British Museum, Lansdowne MS. 823; to Ormond at Kilkenny Castle (3rd Rept. Hist. MSS. Comm, 429, 4th Rept., 551, 7th Rept., 742); to Anglesey in the Bodleian Library (Rawlinson MS. A. 185, f. 219–a copy, the original is probably at Longleat, cf. 3rd Rept.,199); to Pett at Bowood (Fitzmaurice, 249); to Aubrey in the Bodleian (Aubrey MS. II. f. 100–104).
Southwell was born 31 Dec., 1635, at Battin Warwick on the river Bandon, near Kinsale, where his father was collector of customs. After graduating B.A. at Oxford University, reading for a time in Lincoln's Inn and travelling for two years on the continent, he returned to London in 1661. In Sept., 1664, he was named a clerk of the Privy Council and displayed much method and diligence in that office. Between November, 1665 and August 1669, he was twice envoy to Portugal where he negotiated the Treaty of Lisbon. The following ten years, save the brief period of his mission to Brussels, he passed in London. In December, 1679, he resigned his clerkship of the reorganized Privy Council and soon retired to his seat at King's Weston, near Bristol, where he really congratulated himself upon proving no favourite of his neighbours, as he much preferred philosophy before drinking. Letter to Petty, 28 Nov., 1681, Thorpe's Catalogue (1834), no. 710. In spite of this sentiment Smith's Life, Journals ana Correspondence of Pepys, I. 282, makes Southwell declare that his health was worn out by long sitting at the sack bottle! What the poor man wrote was “inck bottle.” Cf. Macray, Annuals of the Bodleian, 2nd ed., 236. After the Revolution he was for a time Secretary of State for Ireland. He died at King's Weston, 11 September, 1702. The condition of Southwell's papers now in the British Museum, as well as the orderly letter-books of the Royal Society during the period of his presidency (1690–1695) give sufficient evidence of his methodical habits.
Fitzmaurice, 175, 283–284.
Pp. 237–238 post.
Southwell to Petty, Aug. or Sept., 1677, Thorpe, loc. cit.
Cf. pp. xxix, and 438, post.
Perhaps Dr Nathaniel Hodges (1629–1688) the physician who remained in London during the great plague.
Same to Same, 11 Sept., 1682, Thorpe, loc. cit., cf. Fitzmaurice, 292.
Same to Same, Nov., 1686, Fitzmaurice, 292.
Fifteenth Rept. Hist. MSS Comm., pt. II. p. 181.
Catalogue of a very Important and Highly intereseting Collection of MSS., State Papers and Autograph Letters, received by Sir Robert Southwell while Clerk of the Privy Council [etc.], the Property of Lord De Clifford deceased. Sold by Messrs Christie, Feby. 11, 1834. The principal papers by Petty are entered as lots 261, 290–304, 597–600.
State Papers: Catalogus Librorum MSS. Bibliotheca Southwelliana now on sale by Thomas Thorpe, 1834, pp. 399–409. A few of Petty's letters were bought by the British Museum, and 32 of them, dated from January to September, 1686, fell to a Mr Cockran of London. At the sale of Mr Austin Cooper's library at Dublin in 1831, the same Mr Cockran, apparently, bought a number of Petty's papers relating to the Down Survey. Notes and Queries, 2nd series, viii. 130. I have not been able to find any further trace of these papers.
Cf. pp. 4, 238.
E.g. on pp. 103, 136–138, 142, 188, 259, 273, 277, etc.
Bibliography, no. 5.
Op. cit. end of the contents.
Their history is traced in detail on pp. 123–124, 236–237, 547–548.
Cf. p. 100.
Cf. p. 212.
Aubrey, II. 144.
Cf. pp. 240, 237–238.
Pp. 503, 524.
See Pp. 122–123.
Dr Bevan supports this view with energy, Petty, 87–92, and it is also held by Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice, Life of Petty, 16, 186, 188, 236.
Aubrey, I. 365–368.
Fitzmaurice, 302–304. The De Cive is not, as Dr Bevan asserts “the only English book mentioned.” The instructions for Henry, the younger son, direct him to read “The English Chronicle” and “Bacon's Collections.”
Pp. 285–290, 302, 563 ff.
Cf. p. 23, note.
Pp. 71, 72, 262, 263. On the other hand his attitude towards clerics of all sorts is uniformly contemptuous, pp. 72, 73, 79, 158, 199, 218, 223, 263, etc.
For his own part, Petty regarded the non-essentials of religion with indifference. But there is a note of sincerity very characteristic of the man in the confession of faith with which he closed his will: “As for religion, I dye in the profession of that faith, and in the practice of such worship, as I find established by the Law of my country, not being able to believe what I myself please, nor to worship God better than by doing as I would be done unto, and observing the Laws of my country, and expressing my love and honour to Almighty God by such signes and tokens as are understood to be such by the people with whom I live, God knowing my heart even without any at all.”
On Petty's connection with the Royal Society, see pp. xxi-xxiii. For evidence, if any be required, that the founding of the Society was due to the impulse given by Bacon to the study of experimental science, and that the more eminent men among its earliest members were deeply imbued with the spirit of his teachings, see Novum Organum, edited by Fowler, 111–116.
In his writings Petty twice invokes Bacon's authority, once in the Political Anatomy, 129, post, and once in the Advice to Hartlib, Harl. Misc. VI. 14, where he refers to the Advancement of Learning to justify his proposed History of Trades. If we consider him the author of the epistles dedictory of Graunt's Observations, as seems not unreasonable, he is to be credited with a third appeal to Bacon, p. 322, post.
Birch, IV. 193.
P. 244. Cf. ch. II. of the Treatise of Ireland, pp. 558–560, and Petty's praise of Graunt's Observations on p. 481. The question of their respective contributions to the development of statistics is discussed on pp. lxxi, lxxv.
Brief Relation, I. 485.
On Petty's probable share in it, see p. lii.
Cf. pp. 451, 485, 490, 532.
E.g. on pp. 49, 51, 53, 104, 115, 129, 170, 180, 245, 270, 476, 485. Cf. also pp. 396, 397 in Graunt's Observations.
Pp. 459–460, 528.
Cf. pp. 332, 393. Graunt's solution of the same problem for London is on pp. 383–386.
Pp. 527, 534.
Cf. p. 461, note, where it appears that the agreement between Petty's estimate and the bishops’ survey is not strikingly close.
P. 149. Cf. the more elaborate calculation of the same problem on pp. 608, 609. Other striking examples may be found on pp. 175, 311, 462–469, 566–567.
Cf. p. 454, note.
Pp. 45, 145, 253, 308, 457, 459, 463, 483, 517, 518, 526, 533, 535, 536.
Pp. 136, 137, 146, 147, 459, 484, 536, 585, 588, 608.
Cf. pp. 528 and 533 with 506.
Aubrey MS. in Bodleian, quoted by Bevan, p. 51.
Unless, that is, Ireland be considered foreign to England in commercial matters. Cf. pp. 159–160.
The application of the Treatise of Taxes to the condition and affairs of Ireland is an obvious afterthought, intended to relieve the author from all imputation of criticising domestic matters.
Pp. 27, 45.
Cf. p. 91.
Cf. Giffen, Growth of Capital, I. 74–91.
Pp. 377–378, note.
See pp. xvi–xix.
P. 181, cf. pp. 44–45. This expression, by the way, is very near to being “Political Economy;” and on p. 60 Petty speaks of “politics and oeconomicks” in quite the modern way.
Petty once avails himself (p. 512, where read Algier for Argier) of the price of slaves, but only to support a result arrived at by other means.
See Bibliography. It was lost at sea.
E.g., pp. 26, 95, 261–267.
Cf. Temple's Works, I. 58–60, 210–222.
Pp. 74, 83.
E.g., p. 299.
Measured by expenditure, to which he assumes income at least equal.
Though in varying proportion, according as some special honour, pleasure or privilege attaches to the possession of certain lands intrinsically like others, p. 46. Cf. p. 286.
Pp. 42–45 and 48–49.
De Cive, ch. XXIV. Opera omma, III. 185. It was certainly adopted, without credit, by Benjamin Franklin, whose cast of mind generally was curiously like Petty's. Cf. Franklin's Works, I. 371.
Cf. p. 249.
Cf. Commons, Distribution of Wealth, 27–29.
Cf. R. Jones, Essay on the Distribution of Wealth, 260–268. Petty is not mentioned by Jones.
Pp. 48, 304.
P. 48. This is similar to a remark of Turgot's, whom Böhm-Bawerk pronounces “the first who tried to give a scientific explanation of natural interest on capital.” Petty is, of course, open to the same criticism of reasoning in a circle which Bohm-Bawerk passes on Turgot. Capital and Interest, 61–66.
On p. 387. I have there suggested a reason for suspecting that Petty may have concocted the table.
Cf. pp. 355 § 12, 357 § 21.
P. 352. “Die Lehre von der sogenannten Gesetzmassigkeit der scheinbar freiwilligen Handlungen ist schon von Condorcet [!] ausgesprochen.” Meitzen, Geschichte, Theorie und Tecknik der Statistik, 118.
Physico-theology; or a Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God from his Works of Creation. 1713. I cite the “new edition” of 1798.
Ibid., I., 267.
Geschichte der Nationalókonomik in Deutschland, 421.
The title of Süssmilch's book shows plainly that, like Derham, he was interested primarily in the theological implications of vital statistics. It runs: Die góttliche Ordnung in den Veränderungen des menschlichen Geschlechts aus der Geburt, dem Tode und der Fortpflanzung desselben erwiesen…worin die Regeln der Ordnung bewiesen werden, welche Gottes Weisheit und Güte in dem Lauf der Natur zur Erhaltung, Vermehrung und Verdopplung des menschlichen Geschlechts festgesetzt hat,… Berlin, J. C. Spener, 1741. I cite the pirated ed. published at Berlin by Gahls in 1742. See W. F. Willcox and F. S. Crum, A trial bibliography of the writings of Sussmilch, Publ. Amer. Statistical Assn, V. 310–314.
P. 398, note.
To Southwell, 9 July, 1687, Fitzmaurice, 306, 307. Charles was Petty's eldest son.
Creighton, History of Epidemics, I. 532.
See p. 426.
London's Remembrancer: or A true Accompt of every particular Weeks christnings and mortality In all the Years of pestilence Within the Cognizance of the Bills of Mortality. London: Printed and are to be sold by E. Cotes, Printer to the Company of Parish Clerks, 1665. 4to. unpaged.
Hist. MSS. Com., X. pt. 4, p. 447; Creighton, I. 290, 294, note.
Brit. Mus. Egerton MSS. 2603, fol. 4; transcribed by Creighton, I. 295–296.
Record Office, State Papers, Henry VIII., 4633.
Marrilac to Montmorency, 6 July, 1540, Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, XV. 419. The inference seems to be confirmed by J. G. Nichols's note to Machyn's Diary, 319, and by Caius's Councill against the Sweat (1552), as reprinted by Hecker, Epidemics of the Middle Ages, third ed., p. 330.
Creighton, I. 304. It seems, however, that reports were made for a few weeks during the sweat of 1551. Ibid., 261.
Stow's memoranda in Three Fifteenth Century Chronicles, edited by Gairdner (Camden Soc., n. p. 28) 123–125, 144–147.
Holinshed's Chronicle, IV. 325.
Creighton, I. 341–343; the original figures are at Hatfield House.
Graunt, p. 335, post. Bell above.
Bodleian Library, Ashmole MS., 824, ff. 196–199; printed pp. 433–435, post.
Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, IX. no. 151, 279, 341, 451.
Christie, Some Account of the Parish Clerks, 133–135. The bills of 1603, concerning which Graunt and Bell disagree, are admitted to be the Clerks’ work.
In the table at p. 426.
See p. 366.
In “Political Tracts, 1680, PP.” There are also other reasons for believing Graunt correct, see pp. 426–428, post.
In the table at p. 426.
Cf. p. 426–427.
Confirmed on 24 February, 1636, State Papers, Dom., Charles I., Docquet.
Inquiry into the Trustworthiness of the old Bills of Mortality, in Jour. Stat. Soc., LV. 437–460
See p. 336, note also p. 426.
Ogle, Inquiry, 437 n., citing Stow's Annals (ed. 1631), 657.
Maitland, II. 737.
The number 109 is confirmed by the abstracts of weekly bills for 1597–1600 in the Bodleian Library, Ashmole MS., 824, f. 196. See pp. 433–436.
This church was consecrated 2 January, 1622, and in the first year of Charles I. it was, after a dispute with St Katharine Creechurch, judicially declared a parish church. Seymour, Survey, I. 313. Bell says the parish was not included in the bills until 1626. It appears, however, in the weekly bill of 4–11 August, 1625 (Brit. Mus. 1298 m. II.).
See below p. lxxxvi.
The Act erecting this parish passed the House of Commons 7 January, 1645. Commons’ Journal, IV. 398.
In the weekly bill of 14–21 April, see p. 344–345 and table at p. 426.
Chapter IX. pp. 378–381 post.
In 1683–86, p. 457.
Graunt, p. 380.
St Clement Danes, St Paul, Covent Garden. St Martin-in-the-Fields, and St Mary, Savoy.
Erected by Private Act of 22 Charles II. 27. Taken out of Stepney.
Erected by Private Act 22, 23 Charles II. 12, an Act for making the Manor of Paris Garden a Parish. Seymour, Survey, II. 816.
In the weekly bill 14–21 July 1685. The Act, 1 James II. is the last in the table of statutes printed for 1685.
In the weekly bill 30 March–6 April, 1686. Private Act, 30 Charles II. 7.
See p. 457 note.
Ogle's Inquiry has an appendix on “Successive Changes in the Area covered by the Bills.” Jour. Stat. Soc., IV. 453–455.
Creighton, I. 341, citing the MS. at Hatfield House.
Maitland says he saw a general bill for 1563 in the library of Sir Hans Sloane. Hist. of London, II. 736. Sloane's library has passed to the British Museum, but the general bill for 1563 appears not to be there.
It seems probable that the causes of death other than the plague were made public before 1629. Thus Dr Mead, writing to Sutteville, gives the weekly deaths of smallpox in May and June, 1628. [Birch's] Court and Times of Charles I. Vol. I. p. 359, cited by Creighton, II. 435.
Much interest appears to have been taken in the form of bills by Lord Mayor Chamberlain (1607) and his successors, and several changes were made, particulars of which cannot now be recovered. Christie, 138–140; cf. note, p. 336, post. So considerable were the disagreements, especially with some of the out-parishes, that in 1611 the Company of Parish Clerks were reincorporated and their powers more precisely defined. State Papers, Dom., James I. Vol. XLVII. Docquet, 31 December, 1611.
Graunt, P. 347.
State Papers, Elizabeth, Vol. XLVIII. no. 70, printed by Creighton, 1. 319. The date of the order “heretofore provided” regarding searches cannot be determined, but they are mentioned at Shrewsbury as early as 1539. Ibid., 1. 320.
Pp. 356, 357.
P. 491; the London bills in Graunt's day distinguished no less than 81 causes of death. Cf. the table facing page 406.
Bell says, “Searchers are generally ancient women, and I think are therefore most fit for their office. But sure I am they are chosen by some of the eminentest men of the Parish to which they stand related; and if any of their Choosers should speak against their abilities they would much disparage their own judgements. And after such choice they are examined touching their sufficiency, and sworn to that office by the Dean of Arches, or some Justice of the Peace, as the cause shall require.” This seventeenth century English demonstration of official competence, which, mutatis mutandis, sounds strangely familiar to nineteenth century American ears, Bell clinches by adding “I presume there cannot be a stricter obligation than an oath to bind any person.” London's Remembrancer (not paged).
History of London, II. 740, seq.
Probably Dr Heberden. See Bibliography, no. 17.
Penny Cyclopædia (1835), Vol. IV. pp. 407, 408, s.v. Bills of Mortality.
Maitland, Hist. of London, II. 740–743; Ogle, loc. cit. 446; Short, New Observations, p. x. Petty says (p. 511) that in 1685 there were buried from St Bartholomew's and St Thomas's alone 451 persons, which is over two per cent. of the 23,222 burials returned in the annual bill for that year (p. 517 note). In 1729, when the bills returned 29,722 deaths, Maitland finds that 3038 were omitted.
Collection of Yearly Bills, 5; Maitland, II. 742; Ogle, 447–448.