Front Page Titles (by Subject) FIVE ESSAYS IN Political Arithmetick, VIZ. - The Economic Writings of Sir William Petty, vol. 2
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FIVE ESSAYS IN Political Arithmetick, VIZ. - 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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Observations on the said 8 Cities.
|1. That the People of Paris being||488|
|2. That the People of Rome being||125|
|3. That the People of Rouen being||66|
|do make in all but||679|
thousand, or 17 thousand less than the 696 thousand of London alone.
2. That the People of the 2 English Cities and Emporiums, viz. of London 696 thousand, and Bristol 48 thousand, do make 744 thousand, or more than
|Being in all||741 ‖|
3. That the same 2 English Cities seem equivalent
|To Paris, which hath||488 thous. Souls.|
If there be any Errour in these Conjectures concerning these Cities of France, we hope they will be mended by those whom we hear to be now at work upon that matter1 . ‖
4. That the King of England's 3 Cities, viz.
5. That of the 4 great Emporiums, London, Amsterdam, Venice and Rouen, London alone is near double to the other 3, viz. above 7 to 4.
6. That London (for ought appears) is the greatest and most considerable City of the World, but manifestly the greatest Emporium.
When these Assertions have past the Examen of the Critiques, we shall make another Essay, shewing how to apply those Truths to the Honour and Profit of the King and Kingdom of England2 . ‖
The FIFTH ESSAY.
Concerning Holland and the rest of the United Provinces.
SInce the close of this Paper, it hath been objected from Holland, That what hath been said of the number of Houses and People in London is not like to be true; for that if it were, then London would be the ⅔ of the whole Province of Holland. To which is answered, That London is the ⅔ of all Holland and more, that Province having not a Million and 44 thousand Inhabitants (whereof 696 m. is the ⅔) nor above 800 ‖ thousand, as we have credibly and often heard; for suppose Amsterdam hath, as we have elsewhere noted1 187 thousand, the seven next great Cities at 30 thousand each one with another 210 thousand, the 10 next at 15 thousand each 150 thousand, the 10 smallest at 6 thousand each 60 thousand, in all the 28 walled Cities and Towns of Holland 607 thousand, in the Dorps and Villages 193 thousand, which is about one Head for every 4 Acres of Land; whereas in England there is 8 Acres for every Head, without the Cities and Market Towns.
Now, suppose London having 116 thousand Families, should have 7 Heads in each, the medium between Monsr. Auzout and Grant's ‖ reckonings, the total of the People would be 812 thousand, or if we reckon that there dies one out of 34 (the Medium between 30 and 37 above mentioned2 ) the total of the People would be 34 times 23212, viz. 789208, the Medium between which number, and the above 812 thousand is 800604, somewhat exceeding 800 thousand, the supposed number of Holland1 .
Farthermore, I say that upon former searches into the Peopling of the World, I never found that in any Countrey (not in China it self) there was more than one Man to every English Acre of Land (many Territories passing for well peopled, where there is but one Man for ten ‖ such acres) I found by measuring Holland and West-Frizia, alias North-Holland, upon the best Maps, that it contained but as many such Acres as London doth of People, viz. about 696 thousand Acres; I therefore venture to pronounce (till better informed) That the People of London are as many as those of Holland, or at least above ⅔ of the same; which is enough to disable the Objection above mentioned; nor is there any need to strain up London from 696 thousand to 800 thousand, though competent reasons have been given to that purpose, and though the Authour of the excellent Map of London, set forth Anno 1682, reckoned the People thereof (as by the said Map2 appears) to be 1200 ‖ thousand, even when he thought the Houses of the same to be but 85 thousand.
The worthy person who makes this objection in the same Letter also saith,
1. That the Province of Holland, hath as many People as the other 6 United Provinces together, and as the whole Kingdom of England, and double to the City of Paris and its Suburbs; that is to say, 2 millions of Souls1 . 2. He says that in London and Amsterdam, and other trading Cities, there are 10 Heads to every Family, and that in Amsterdam there are not 22 thousand Families. 3. He excepteth against the Register alledged by Monsr. Auzout, which ‖ makes 23223 Houses and above 80 thousand Families to be in Paris, as also against the Register alledged by Petty, making 105315 Houses to be in London, with a tenth part of the same to be of Families more than Houses, and probably will except against the Register of 11632 Houses to be in all England, that number giving at 6⅓ Heads to each Family, about 7 millions of People, upon all which we remark as followeth, viz.
1. That if Paris doth contain but 488 thousand Souls, that then all Holland containeth but the double of that number, or 976 thousand, wherefore London containing 696 thousand Souls, hath above ⅔ of all Holland by 46 thousand. ‖
2. If Paris containeth half as many People as there are in all England, it must contain 3 millions and a half of Souls, or above 7 times 488 thousand, and because there do not die 20 thousand per an. out of Paris, there must die but one out of 175, whereas Monsr. Auzout thinks that there dies one out of 25, and there must live 149 Heads in every House of Paris mentioned in the Register, but there must be scarce 2 Heads in every House of England, all which we think fit to be reconsidered.
I must as an English Man take notice of one point more, which is, ‖ that these Assertions do reflect upon the Empire of England, for that it is said, that England hath but 2 millions of Inhabitants, and it might as well have been added, that Scotland and Ireland, with the Islands of Man, Jearsey and Gearnsey have but ⅖ of the same number, or 800 thousand more, or that all the King of England's Subjects in Europe are but 2 millions and 800 thousand Souls, whereas he saith, that the Subjects of the 7 United Provinces are 4 Millions. To which we answer, That the Subjects of the said 7 Provinces, are by this Objectour's own shewing, but the Quadruple of Paris, or 1932 thousand1 Souls, Paris containing but 488000, as afore hath been prov'd, and we do here affirm that England ‖ hath 7 millions of People, and that Scotland, Ireland, with the Islands of Man, Fearsey and Gearnsey, hath ⅖ of the said number, or 2 millions 800 thousand more, in all 9 millions 800 thousand; whereas by the Objectour's doctrine, if the 7 Provinces have 1932 thousand People, the King of England's Territories should have but of the same number, viz. 1351 thousand whereas we say 9800 thousand, as aforesaid, which difference is so gross as that it deserves to be thus reflected upon.
To conclude, we expect from the concerned Critiques of the World, that they would prove, ‖
1. That Holland and West-Frizia, and the 28 Towns and Cities thereof, hath more People than London alone.
2. That any 3 the best Cities of France, any 2 of all Christendom, or any one of the World, hath the same, or better Housing, and more foreign Trade than London, even in the year that King James the Second came to the Empire thereof.
The Two Essays were licensed the 26 August, 1686, the Five Essays the 18 February, 1687.
The fact that the Two Essays were published in French and that an “extract” of them appeared in the Philosophical Transactions may have contributed something, perhaps, to the attention which they attracted on the continent; their subject, however, doubtless had more to do with it. Pierre Bayle reviewed them in his Nouvelles de la République des Lettres for October, 1686 (p. 1144 ff.; also in his Ocuvres diverses, pp. 661–662), and the Leipzig Acta eruditorum for October, 1687, summarized his review in connection with its notice of Petty's Further Assertion. Bayle concludes, “On attend quelques autres Pieces considerables de M. le Chevalier Petty, qui apparemment se verra critiqué bientôt par quelque Savant de Paris.” It seems that Bayle's conjecture must have been verified, for the 3rd November Justel communicated to the Royal Society that there was an answer published in France to Petty's essay on the comparison between London and Paris, and in the same month Petty was told by the King that his Essays were answering in France, and by several others that the mightiest hammers there were battering his poor anvil. Birch, IV. 500, Fitzmaurice, 285 I have found no trace of these replies, nor anything to indicate that they ever came into Petty's hands. (See “The Eighth Objection” in the Treatise of Ireland, post). Bayle's criticism, on the contrary, doubtless reached Petty in November, as the previous number of the Nouvelles, September, 1686, was received at the Royal Society 27 October, 1686. Birch, IV. 498.
1686, ‘the Nouvelles de la Rèpublique.’
Bayle, commenting on Petty's assertion that London was the largest city in the world, asks, “Mais que seroit-ce en comparaison de Rey, si tout ce que les Historiens de Perse en disent étoit véritable?” He then refers to his review of The Travels of Sir John Chardin into Persia and the East Indies (London: Moses Pitt, 1686, f°), in the same number of the Nouvelles. The passage of Chardin (p. 387), which Bayle translates, runs thus: “Opposite to this [Ech-mouil] are to be seen some footsteps of that famous City of Rey, the biggest city in Asia.… The Persian Histories report, that in the time of Calife Medybilla-abou-Mohamed. Darvanich, who liv'd in the ninth Age of Christianism the City of Rey was divided into 96 Quarters, of which every one contained 46 streets, and every Street 400 Houses and ten Mosques.… Arabian writers affirm in like manner, that in the third Age of Muhametism, which is exactly at the same time, that Rey was the best peopl'd City in Asia.” This refers obviously to the ninth century, but Bayle summarizes “elle [la Geographic Persane] porte qu'au 6. siècle du Christianisme la Ville de Rey étoit divisée,” etc. And it is exclusively against this chronological blunder, perhaps caused by a misprint, that Petty directs his answer to Bayle.
1686, ‘An. 550, it had.’
1686: ‘The next is the excellent Monsicur Auzout from Rome, who is content that London, Westminster, and Southwark with the contigous Housing may have,’ etc. The French version of 1687 has, ‘Ensuite je repons aux lettres que l'excellent Mr. Auzout écrit de Londres., In the 1699 edition “Londres” is altered to “Rome.”
Adrien Auzout, astronomer, was born at Rouen early in the seventeenth century. He was one of the first members of the Académie des Sciences, but lost his seat through an intrigue and went to Italy, dying at Rome in 1691. Auzout was a frequent correspondent of the Royal Society. Birch, IV. 162, 301; Philos. Trans. no. 1, p. 3, no. 2, p. 18, no. 3, p. 36, no. 4, pp. 55, 56, 63, 68, 69, 74, no. 7, p. 120, no. 12, p. 203, no. 21, p. 373. His letter or letters here referred to are not preserved at the Royal Society, nor do I find any allusion to his letter of 19 November in Justel's letters. He may have addressed himself to Petty directly.
See p. 423.
1686, ‘his main, if not only Objections.’
1686, ‘to have been, since.’
1686, ‘formerly distant.’
1686, ‘and so long custom.’ ‘Of 50 years’ was added in 1687.
1686, ‘Upon sight of Monsieur Auzouts large Letter, I made Remarques.’
1686, ‘against one with.’
1686, 's weeter.’
Petty previously allowed eight heads to the tenanted house (p. 459) and later (p. 534), he assumed eight, ten or five according to social position.
1686, ‘to M. Auzout's opinion.’
1686, ‘was allowed by.’
1686, ‘and that.’
1686, ‘Number, the neat.’
488,055 should be 489,555; this mistake, continued through the subsequent calculations, gives rise to errors that are mentioned in the notes. But accepting Petty's mistaken “medium of the said two Paris accounts,” his calculations are correct.
“Really” apparently refers to Petty's previous use (p. 506) of 22,337 as the medium of London burials. He gets this new and higher medium by taking the years 1684 and 1685 only, instead of 1683–85, as in the Two Essays.
1686, ‘part or 10531.’ The ‘10,331’ of the 1687 edition is a misprint for 10,531.
115,840 is a misprint for 115,846.
1686 omits 's o as.’
1686, ‘the above-said Account.’
‘488,055 's hould be 489,555.
‘693,055’ should be 694,555.
1686 omits ‘in a former letter,’ which may imply that a second letter, making the first ‘former,’ was received from Auzout between the publication of this essay in the Philos. Trans. and its issue in book form.
‘2663’ should be 1163.
‘114,284’ should be 112,784.
1686, ‘without them, hath.’
1686 omits the last paragraph ‘Which… contains,’ and concludes with the 's everal other estimates’ printed on p. 537.
On the basis of one kitchen for each of Auzout's families and one street door for each of his 23,233 houses, see p. 527.
Probably an allusion to Petty's plan ‘Of Lessening ye Plagues of London.’ See Verbum Sap., p. 109, note.
Petty's use of Chevreau's estimate argues no knowledge of the Histoire du Monde (Paris, 1686, 2 v. 4°) beyond what he might have drawn from Bayle's words, “Il s étend beaucoup sur la magnificence de Rome… Il croit qu'il s'y est trouvé prés de quatre millions d'habitans, & il reporte que les trois cens mille personnes quiry moururent de peste en une Automne sous le regne de Neron, ne firent pas remarquer que le nombre des habitans fῦt devenu moindre. République des Letters, Nov., 1686, Oeuvres, I. 680.
Petty twice refers to a map of London “set forth in the year 1682” (see also p. 542), but no such map can be found at the British Museum. Mr C. H. Coote, of the Department of Maps, thinks it probable that the map which Petty used was Ogilby and Morgan's. This map was published with the title: A large and accurate map of the city of London Ichnographically Describing all the Streets, Lanes, Alleys, Courts, Yards, Churches, Halls and Houses, &c. Actually Surveyed and Delineated By John Ogilby Esq.… dedicated and presented by… William Morgan, and was accompanied by a descriptive text entitled London Survey'd: or, an explanation of the large map of London. Giving a Particular Account Of the Streets and Lanes, in the City and Liberties. By John Ogilby & William Morgan, His Majesty's Cosmographers. London, Printed and Sold at the Authors House In White Fryers, 1677. So far as I can discover, neither the map nor the text makes any calculation of the population or of the houses of London.
Page 82 of the fifth ed., p. 385 of this reprint.
In some calculation now probably lost.
Cf. p. 506, where, by averaging more years, Petty gets a smaller population.
Page 82 of the fifth ed., p. 385 of this reprint. Graunt says that 3 died out of 11 families and guesses that the families have, one with another, 8 members.
Graunt makes no such assertion. Petty's proposition appears to be a guess which may find some slight support on pp. 386–387 of Graunt.
Graunt does not say this.
In 1665 there died in all 97,306, whereof 68,596 of the plague. On this basis, Petty's method would give a population of about 460,000 in 1686, agreeing ill enough with the other two computations above mentioned.
This essay is outlined in the “Several other Estimates” which Petty appended to the earliest publication of the First Essay (p. 512) viz.
- I. That London alone is equal to Paris, Roven, and Rome, as aforesaid.
- II. That London, Bristol, and Dublin are equal to Paris, Amsterdam, and Venice.
- III. That London alone is to Amsterdam, Venice, and Roven as 7 to 4.
- IV. That London and Bristol are equal to any four Cities of France.
- V. That Dublin is probably equal to the second best City, of any Kingdom or State in Christendome.
- VI. That London, for ought appears, is the greatest City of the World, but manifestly the greatest Emporium.
In the Commonplace book of Petty's friend Dr Ent at the Royal Society (MSS. vol. 83) is a memorandum (pp. 78–79) of the number of inhabitants of Venice. The classes enumerated are noblemen, merchants, servants, artificers, beggars, friars, nuns, priests, poor in hospitals, Jews. In most cases they are distinguished as male and female, and the number of their children, male and female, is also given. The total is 134,801. If Petty's authority be, as seems not improbable, the same as that used by Ent, the chronology is confused. He was writing in 1686 or 1687. Candia surrendered nearly 20 years before, the special account is said by Ent to have been taken more than 20 years before the surrender, and Yriarte appears to assign it to the year 1582. La vte d'un patricien de Venise, p. 72. Unfortunately I have no present access to such authoritative books as might determine the question. The Present State of Venice, by J. Gailhard (1669) says that the city contains above 300,000 souls.
See p. 529, and note 5.
See p. 525, note.
Failing health and interest in his Treatise of Ireland, printed in this volume, probably prevented Petty from writing the promised essay.
See p. 538.
See pp. 535–536.
The Aanwysing der heilsame politike Gronden en Maximen van de Republike van Holland en West-Vriesland, Leyden, 1669, frequently attributed to De Witt, but written chiefly by Pieter de la Court, gives the return of a “very strict and severe” poll tax in 1662. There were then found but 481,934 persons in South Holland, and supposing West Friesland might yield a fourth part as many, the total population would have been 602,417. “But because possibly none but intelligent Readers, and such as have travelled, will believe, what we see is customary in all Places, that the number of people in all Populous Countries is excessively magnified, and that the Common Readers will think, that since many would be willing to evade the Poll Tax, there was an extraordinary Fraud in the Number given in: I shall therefore follow the common Opinion, and conclude, that the Number of People was indeed much greater, and that these Countries are since that time much improved in the Number of Inhabitants; and accordingly I shall give a guess as by vulgar Report, that the whole Number, without excluding any Inhabitants whatsoever, may amount to two Millions and four hundred thousand People.” P. 40–41 of the Engl. Transl., The True Interest of Holland, 1702.
See p. 533, note.
Van Beuningen (1622–1693), Dutch ambassador in London, was in the habit of asserting that all England had not more than two million inhabitants, and that the Netherlands were equally populous. De Leti, Del teatro britannico, 75.
‘1,163’ is a misprint for 1,163,000; the French version speaks of “leregistre de 1163 m. maisons en toute l'Angleterre.”