Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. X.: Of the Inequality of Parishes. - The Economic Writings of Sir William Petty, vol. 2
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CHAP. X.: Of the Inequality of Parishes. - Sir William Petty, The Economic Writings of Sir William Petty, vol. 2 
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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Of the Inequality of Parishes.
1. BEfore we pass from hence, we shall offer to consideration the Inequality of Parishes in and about London, evident in the proportion of their respective Burials; for in the same year were Buried in Cripple-gate-Parish 1191, that but twelve died in Trinity-Minories, Saint Saviour's Southwark, and Botolph's Bishops-gate, being of the middle size, as burying five and 600 per Annum: so that Cripple-gate is an hundred times as big as the Minories, and 200 times as big as Saint John the Evangelist's, Mary-Coal-Church, Bennet's-Grace-Church, Matthew-Friday-street, ‖ and some others within the City.
2. Hence may arise this Question, Wherefore should this Inequality be continued? If it be Answered, Because that Pastours of all sorts, and sizes of Abilities, may have Benefices, each man according to his merit: we Answer, That a two hundredth part of the best Parson's learning is scarce enough for a Sexton. But besides, there seems no reason of any difference at all, it being as much Science to save one single Soul, as one thousand.
3. We incline therefore to think the Parishes should be equal1 , or near, because, in the Reformed Religions, the principal use of Churches is to Preach in: now the bigness of such a Church ought to be no greater, than that unto which the voice of a Preacher of middling Lungs will easily extend; I say easily, because they speak an hour or more together.
4. The use of such large Churches, as Paul's, is now wholly lost, we having no need of saying perhaps fifty Masses all at one time; nor of making those grand Processions frequent in the Romish Church; nor is the shape of our Cathedral proper at all for our Preaching Auditories, but rather the Figure of an Amphi-Theater with Galleries, gradually over-looking ‖ each other: for unto this Condition the Parish-Churches of London are driving apace, as appears by the many Galleries every day built in them.
5. Moreover, if Parishes were brought to the size of Coalman-street, Alhallows-Barking, Christ-Church, Black-Friers, &c. in each whereof die between 100 and 150 per Annum, then an hundred Parishes would be a fit and equal Division of this great charge, and all the Ministers (some whereof have now scarce fourty pounds per Annum) might obtain a subsistence.
6. And lastly, The Church-Wardens and Over-seers of the Poor might find it possible to discharge their Duties, whereas now in the greater Out-Parishes many of the poorer Parishioners through neglect do perish, and many vicious persons get liberty to live as they please, for want of some heedful Eye to overlook them. ‖
On the inconvenience arising, after the Restoration, from the excessive size of certain parishes, see Eden, State of the Poor, 1. 175–177 n. and cf. 14 Charles II. c. 12, 21. See also Petty's Treatise of Taxes, p. 5, note, and his Polit. Arith. p. 301.