Front Page Titles (by Subject) The FIRST ESSAY. - The Economic Writings of Sir William Petty, vol. 2
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The FIRST ESSAY. - 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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The FIRST ESSAY.
IT could not be expected that an assertion of London's being bigger than Paris and Rouen, or than Paris and Rome put together, and bigger than any City of the World, should scape uncontradicted1 ; and 'tis also expected, that I (if continuing in the2 same persuasion) should make some reply to those contradictions. In order whereunto,
I begin with the ingenious Authour of the3Republiq des Lettres4 , who saith that Rey in Persia is far bigger than London, for that ‖ in the sixth Century of Christianity (I suppose, An. 550 the middle of that Century) it had1 15000, or rather 44000 Moschees, or Mahometan Temples; to which I reply, that I hope this Objector is but in jest, for that Mahomet was not born till about the year 570, and had no Moschees till about 50 years after.
2 In the next place I reply to the excellent Monsr. Auzout3 Letters from Rome, who is content that London, Westminster and Southwark, may have as many people as Paris and its Suburbs; and but faintly denieth, that all the Housing within the Bills, may have almost as many people as Paris and ‖ Rouen, but saith that several Parishes inserted into these Bills, are distant from, and not contiguous with London, and that Grant so understood it4 .
To which (as his main if not his onely objection)1 we answer: 1. That the London Bills appear in Grant's Book, to have been always since2 the year 1636, as they now are. 2. That about 50 years since, 3 or 4 Parishes, formerly some what distant3 were joyned by interposed Buildings, to the Bulk of the City, and therefore then inserted into the Bills. 3. That since 50 years, the whole ‖ buildings being more than double; have perfected that Union, so as there is no House within the said Bills, from which one may not call to some other House. 4. All this is confirmed by Authority of the King and City, and the Custome of 50 years4 . 5. That there are but 3 Parishes under any colour of this Exception, which are scarce part of the whole.
Upon the whole matter, upon sight of Monsr. Auzout's large Letter, dated the 19th of November, from Rome, I made Remarques5 upon every Paragraph therof; but suppressing it(because it lookt like a War against a worth Person ‖ with6 whom I intended none, whereas in truth it was but a reconciling explication of some doubts) I have chosen the shorter and softer7 way of answering Monsieur Auzout as followeth, viz. ‖
Concerning the number of People in London, as also in Paris, Rouen and Rome, Viz.
9 Which number of 114,284 is probably more People than any other City of France contains. ‖
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.