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sion of the laws of mortality and population: and I propose hereafter to offer some special remarks upon it.
I had intended to have presented with what has gone before some comparisons illustrating the influence of the means and cost of subsistence upon mortality; but I found upon nearer inquiry that such comparisons were not to be made short of an inspection, for the express purpose, of the weekly markets for the last quarter of a century-a labor for which I had not the leisure. Nor would the result, if I had taken the pains to arrive at it, have been proportionate to those pains ; for it is admitted in general that sickness and death always occur in greater degree as provisions become more scarce and dear. I am not aware of the ratio between the two having ever been numerically ascertained; though there is no doubt of its existence.
Equally undoubted is the influence of morality upon population. And this, not only because vice tends to shorten the life of its devotees themselves; but that the children of vicious parents are born with enfeebled constitutions and with the proclivity to disease. They thus take up and carry on the curve of decreasing stability of life; and numerical observations would enable us to calculate when, of two commu. nities originally equal in population but with different indexes of the developement of crime, the populations respectively will bear to each other any given ratio. It is to be regretted that we have not here the data for expressing the occurrence of crimes in our population; it would be desirable that some of the functionaries of the City Court and of the Mayor's Office would charge themselves with the record of the physical circumstances, age, sex, season of the year, &c. which attend the trials, convictions or examinations at the several tribunals. There appears good reason for believing, upon observations made elsewhere, that the inclination to crime follows strictly (but inversely) the law of mortality, as far as that is influenced by age. When the vital powers are the strongest and most active, then the tendency to crime is the most manifested. The character and enormity of the crimes committed also follow the epochs of age more regularly and even minutely and with less reference to what may be termed opportunity, than a superficial observer might be inclined to conclude. Thus in the distinction between crimes against property and those against persons, the first find their greatest developement (in tendency, though not in success) about the age of puberty, when the probable duration of life is the greatest; the laiter exercise their sway at a later period, when the physical system is in greater vigor and the passions more violent. These considerations point to the proper remedy, viz. the establishment of a House of Refuge for juvenile offenders who are but following the impulse of a general law and bearing the fruit which such seed as was sown might be expected to yield. For them the jails and penitentiaries--receptacles for adults, hardened or abandoned are too austere; the defensive implements of society, they overshadow individual charity and contribute nothing to social amendment: the young offender, obeying in so far the evil law of his existence, needs an asylum where he can be instructed, and if possible, reformed. By instruction here, I do not mean in the elements of reading and writing; which seem to close the scope of
divers well-meant and philanthropic endeavors; but which, in proportion as the mass of the population does not improve in morality, become only stimulants and aids to crime. Farther, on this point: the establishment of such a House would be followed, in the next twenty years, by a visible decrease in the relative mortality of our city; which is the only connection that suggested a reference to it here.
Finally, I present a resumé of the principal conclusions which have been numerically sustained in the course of this research; together with a suggestion of points for which new or additional data are desirable. It appears then, that
10. In an increasing population, the ratio of increase is geometrical (i. e. a progression by quotients); and during long periods, such ratio varies but slightly. Thus, taking the whole United States—a country, the rapidity of whose peopling has been more remarkable than that of any other—the difference between the greatest and least decennial ratio, for a half century, is less than $ of one per cent. per annum. In Bal. timore this difference is } of one per cent; which serves among other things to shew that the greater the area and the larger the population, the nearer also is the uniformity of progressive increase.
20. On the other hand, the variation of ratio has always been, both in the U. S. and in Baltimore, in the sense of diminution; serving to shew the tendency of population to become stationary. It perhaps shews more than this; which however is the condition upon which the theory of population most conveniently reposes, and which accords the most thoroughly with our ideas of the ultimate uniformity (however phasing itself in vast, revolving cycles) of the laws of nature.
30. This cyclical property manifests itself in a recurrence, after certain periods, of the same or nearly the same factor of relative annual mortality in communities; and these periods correspond also with marked crises in individual mortality. The circulating period, in Baltimore, appears to be 15 years. This therefore is the shortest term for observations upon which any reliable induction can be established.
40. Restricting ourselves to this particular locality, the mortality of Baltimore corresponds with what might be anticipated from its position on the globe, in that particular (latitude) which most affects climate.
5o. The influence of the seasons is very manifest and accordant with the mean climate. The nearer the condition of the atmosphere in density, temperature and moisture, is to its normal state, the less is the mortality. For the electric changes in the atmosphere, there are as yet no data; but they may be supposed generally involved in the other indications mentioned. The maximum of mortality occurs here in July-August, the minimum in April-May, with considerable regularity.
60. In regard to the two races constituting the population of Baltimore, the whites may be said to have 16 per cent. greater stability of life (other things being equal) than the blacks.
70. Considering only sex, the females dying in any given time are but three-fourths of the number of males.
8o. In respect to age, (taking both races together) the probable life in Baltimore, ai the moment after birth, is 6} years nearly; being the double of what it is in London; and nearly three times the average probable life at the same epoch in Berlin, Stockholm and Vienna.
90. The probability of life before birth, estimated upon the proportion of still-born infants, is but seven-tenths of what it is in the average of the principal European cities, and one-half of what it is in London.
100. The probability of longevily here, is diminishing in the last quarter century.
11°. So also the probability of life before puberty, is lessened in the same period.
12°. Conversely, the probability of life at mature age is increased. These conditions, so far as political economy is concerned, are advantageous; for that community is the most favorable to developement and prosperity, where the chance of lise is the greatest for the period of activity and usefulness. This is manifestly a more important practical index than others that have been hitherto resorted to; as, for instance, the probable life” of Halley or the mean life” of Bernouilli.
To complete an accurate and satisfactory research into this subject it would be necessary to alter and add to our Health-returns in the following chief particulars :
1. Distinction should be made in the number of deaths according to ages between the sexes ; between the white and black; and between the free and slave blacks. We should thus have (what we require and what would imply but little additional labor in the Health-department) the color, caste, sex and age of each individual who dies.
2. The enumeration at 21 years is merely an accidental circumstance in our polity. It has nothing to do with the law of mortality; further than to complicate and incommode the numerical relations of the series whose symmetry it breaks into. For it, the term of 20 years would be advantageously substituted.
3. A new epoch, that of 15 years, should if possible be introduced in the discrimination of the ages at which the mortality is recorded. This epoch, corresponding very nearly with the moment when the average stability of individual life is the greatest, constitutes a limit of great interest to be observed; and as its period, too, fits in with that of an apparent cycle in the relative mortality of our own community, it is invested with a fresh importance.
It would be matter of interest to have other additions also made among our municipal returns—such as, for instance, the statistics of crime with reference to the color, sex and age of the culprit, and particulars which have been already indicated more at length. But changes of this sort are hardly to be expected, except from the research or industry of individuals, until the progress of knowledge shall have made their importance more manifest. To like sources (whose scope of usefulness in this respect is daily increasing in the formation of Societies for one purpose or another,) we must look for the results of observations on other physical points (average stature, weight, rate of respiration, rapidity of arterial circulation, nervous irritability, muscular strength, &c. &c.) which not only belong to the vast physiological field of the study of Man as an organized creature, but are important elements also in this part of it which we have just been surveying—his Reproductiveness and Mortality.
ON THE PRODUCTION OF GOLD AND SILVER AND
BY BAROX ALEXANDER VOX HUMBOLDT.
Translated for the Bankers' Magazine, from the Journal des Economistes; March,
April, May, 1848. According to Herodotus (üi. 106) the richest productions have been assigned to the ends of the earth, in the unequal distribution of the wealth and treasures of the soil. This assertion is made not only upon that mournful sentiment, belonging to the human race, of happiness being always at a distance; but it expresses the fact that the Greeks, inhabiling a temperate zone, received in their commerce with other people, gold and spices, amber and tin, from countries far remote. In proportion as the commerce of the Phenicians, of the Edomites on the gulf of Akaba (Ezion-geber“) and of the Egyptians under the Ptolemies and the Romans, lifted slowly the veil which had so long hung over the coasts of Southern Asia, were received at first hand the products of the torrid zone; and men's lively and active imagination continually carried farther and farther east, the deposites of the metallic treasures of the earth. Twice, at epochs so important to commerce, (that of the Lagides and of the Cesars) as well as at the close of the 15th century, during the Portuguese discoveries, the same people, the Arabs, showed to the West the route to India. At this moment, Ophir (the El-Dorado for Solomon) was pushed to the east of the Ganges. There, was imagined to be that Chrysos, sought so long by the travellers of the middle ages and regarded, now as an island, now as a district of the Golden Chersonese. The quantity of gold which Borneo and Sumatra still put in circulation, according to John Crawford, accounts for the ancient fame of this region. Close by Chrysos, country of gold and aim of Indian adventurers, must be found, by necessary relation and a sort of symmetry, according to the then ideas of systematic geography, a country of silver, an island, Argyros; as if to blend the two precious metals—the riches of Ophir and of Iberian Tartessus (Tarshish.] The geographical myths of classic antiquity are reflected, but with varying phases, in the geography of the middle ages. In the system of the Arab Edrisi and Bakoui, we find at the extremity of the Indian Ocean, an island Sahabet with sands of gold; and beside it, Saila (which must not be confounded with Ceylon or Serendib) where the dogs and monkeys wear golden collars.
To this idea of remoteness, was joined another, as a characteristic sign of the veritable country of gold and of all the precious products of the earth, viz. that of tropical heut. “Until your Excellency shall have
“ been finding men who are black," writes in 1495, a Catalan lapidary, Jaime Ferrer, to the admiral Christopher Columbus, “ you need not expect any great things nor veritable treasures, such as spices, diamonds or gold." This letter has been recently found in a book printed at
• Passages and words in brackets are the Translator's.
Barcelona, in 1815, bearing this singular title: Sentencias Catholicas del divi poela Dunt. (Catholic Maxims of the divine poet, Dante.] The richness of the gold mines of the Ural, which extend in the northern basin of the Volga up to where the ground hardly thaws in the summer months; the diamonds which have been discovered, near 600 N. latitude, on the European slope of the Ural, by two of my companions in the Expedition, which I made in 1829 by order of the Emperor Nicholas," do not, to be sure, exactly support the hypothesis that would connect the existence of gold and diamonds on the one hand, with the heat of the tropics and colored races on the other. Christopher Columbus, who attached a moral and religious value to gold, since, (says he,) " the possessor of it attains every thing in this world and even can open” (no doubt, by paying for masses,) " the gate of paradise to many a soul,"t Christopher Columbus, I say, was altogether a partisan of the system of the lapidary Ferrer. He looked for Zipangou (Japan) ) which then was passing for the golden island Chrysos; and when on 14 November 1492, he was coasting along the island of Cuba, which he considered a part of the continent of Eastern Asia (Cathay), he wrote in his journal : “ Judging by the great heat which I am suffering, the country must be rich in gold.” It was thus that false analogies made men forget what classical antiquity had told us of the treasures in metal of the Massagetæ and the Arismaspi in the extreme north of Europe; I say, of Europe, f for the flat and desert country of Northern Asia, the Siberia of modern times, passed then with its forests of pine, for a monotonous continuation of the low countries of Belgium, along the Baliic and of Sarmatia.
If we glance at once over the whole history of the commercial relations of Europe, we see that antiquity seeks in Asia for the richest sources of gold; while the middle ages and the three centuries since, place them in the New continent. But in fact, and since the commencement of the 19th century, it is once more in Asia, but only in a different zone, that these richest sources spring. This change in the direction of the current, this compensation which accidental discoveries in the north afford, when in the south the extraction of this metal seemed suddenly lo fall off, calls for a grave and deep research founded upon numerical data; for in political economy, as well as in the study of physical phenomena, numbers are always the most decisive element; they become judges, without appeal and inflexible, of the causes so variously reasoned by political economists.
We learn from the profound researches of Boeckh| how, when the Persian wars and the expedition of Alexander to India, had broken down the barriers of the East, gold accumulated by degrees among the
* Reise nach dem Ural, etc. (Journey to the Ural, the Altaï and the Caspian Sea; by A. v. Humboldt, G. Rose and G. Ehrenberg,] t. i. p. 352—373.
| Eloro, (writes Columbus to Queen Isabella,) es excellentissimo, con el se hace tesoro y con el tesoro quien lo tiene, hace quanto quiere con el mundo y llega a que hecha las animas a paraiso. See upon this gold-eulogy my Examen Critique, etc. [Critical Review of the History of Geography and the Progress of Nautical Astronomy during the 15th and 16th centuries, in fol.) pp. 38 and 131.
Herodotus, iii. 116.