« PrejšnjaNaprej »
service, patient good will, are powers which never fail. If through fault of ours, however remotely or indirectly, by commission or omission, they are outcasts, let us now begin and try to bring them back to what once they were. The memory of their childhood is not dead within them: if it be only as a gleam of innocence longlost, it is also a throb of a higher life not yet extinct for ever.
HENRY EDWARD, Card. Archbishop.
THE SWARMING OF MEN.
READERS of Sartor Resartus will remember a great passage in which is pictured forth the march of men across the theatre of the world. The passage is famous. It has been quoted again and again as an expression of the highest genius of the writer. Those who have not been moved and carried away by it must needs be regarded as dead to Mr. Carlyle's power—as incapable of being fired by his inspiration. It is not needful to quote the pages anew. A phrase or two will recall them to those who have once felt their influence. By them, as the words are uttered, the vision will be seen. Generation after generation will again take to itself the form of a body and appear. Once more we emerge from the Inane, haste stormfully across the astonished earth, and plunge again into the Inane. I go
I go back upon these well-known sentences, because through them the reader may be led to take the standpoint I would ask bim to assume. The idealist shall help my prose. We too may try to survey, if in a different mood and for a different
pomp, the procession of life. Without straining our eyes unduly, we may assist at another and yet not wholly foreign review. We may see myriads of men rush into being; thronging, pressing, spreading wherever a point seems vacant of life, and then again passing out of being whilst new myriads swarm upon their traces before they have well disappeared. How this cloud of being comes and goes; why this spot is darkened with the thickening mass, whilst that other is covered with a thinner and ever thinner veil; in what way the moving particles of the stream of humanity contribute to shape its course and volume—these are the speculations one would fain pursue. The enterprise is ambitious, but the task is as fine as it is difficult, and however little may be accomplished, that little ought not to be without some value.
But first let me narrow the scope of the inquiry. In the historie retrospect of the inovement of men we are continually presented with the spectacle of some new breed bursting in upon fields already occupied by fellow-creatures possessing feebler powers of resistance than they of onslaught; with the result that the new breed subjugates and enslaves their forerunners, or, as in some cases, pushes them wholly out of existence. The process may be repeated again and again, so that traces may be discovered of layer after layer of victorious invaders; and those who were most successful and most thorough in the displacement of their predecessors are sometimes found clamouring against the displacement that visits them in turn, as though they were the aboriginal and exclusive occupants of the lands they inhabit. About these great migrations of force, which have descended so often torrent-like upon the wide Indian peninsula, and have more than once swept Europe from end to end, I have little or nothing to say. They run through history; they stretch back through prehistoric generations; they afford endless scope for most alluring and, what appears to my ignorance, most uncertain speculation ; but, except as illustrations of the strength and energy of what may be called new tides of existence, I do not refer to them. They deserve to be remembered as such illustrations. The same passion of dominant being that worked its way in the past through the enforced servitude thus imposed upon others, may be driving its possessors to-day by more legitimate means to victory in the struggle for existence; but it is in this light only that we can regard such movements. My restricted inquiry, and it will be wide enough, must be limited to a survey of such migrations as have been, and are witnessed in our own times, and mainly among our own people and kinsfolk. Even in our own narrow isle we may see a pushing and crowding, a thickening and thinning of the mass of life, the swelling floods of being rising in strength, and the ebbing tide leaving shores vacant that were once overflowing; and if we turn to the continents, whither the English-speaking stream has been carried, we may see in yet more striking shape the movement of men. We need not concern ourselves with the march of military marauders. Though we may not venture to say that such a phenomenon of the past cannot recur, yet it is so foreign to our experience that it is enough for the present to follow the growth and outgrowth of a free industrial population. So also may we abstain from entering upon that speculation which has occupied so many minds of the analogy between the lives of nations and the lives of men. be that for the former as for the latter there is a term fixed. It may be that the energy of character of a breed must wear itself out. Perhaps the time must come when all the attributes of vitality of a national stock must dwindle. This has happened so often that, struggle against it as we may, the suspicion may be just, that there is a necessity compelling this conclusion; but we do not enter upon the inquiry here. It is of intensest interest, but must be left unattempted.
Let us tum then our eyes homeward, and see how our thronging population has grown and spread. England and Wales contained something less than nine millions in 1801. Then for the first time was there an accurate count. Proposals had been made before, and a Bill was brought into Parliament in 1753, for taking a census of the
kingdom, but the project was denounced and defeated as an insult to God and man. An attempt to number the people was a manifest impiety, and it was almost as clearly seen that it covered some iniquitous design of taxing anew a harassed nation. So the plan failed till in 1801 our forefathers were counted, and it was found that 8,892,536 persons were living in England and Wales. Less than nine millions then, it is certain that there are more than three times as many now. At the last counting there were close upon twentysix millions (25,974,439), and that was made six years and threequarters since. The present estimate is 281 millions. We have more than trebled during this century-a very small breadth in the life of a people. If we look back beyond 1801 we must trust to conjectures; but there was a rough calculation made just three centuries since, when England was threatened by the Spanish Armada, and the best estimate of the population of that time put it at about 5,500,000. People did not jostle one another much in the spacious times of great Elizabeth'; but indeed there was room enough to move about in 1801. The increase in 220 years was not much more than half, just 60 upon 100, whilst in the subsequent years two have been added to every one that existed before. In view of this disparity of increase, it is a natural question to ask whether the growth has been uniformly maintained since 1801, or whether our numbers are continually increasing at a faster ratio? The answer may be unexpected: We grew most at the beginning of the century. The first decade was a period of practically continuous war, but yet the numbers added exceeded 14 to the 100. The second half of the next ten years was a time of peace, and the numbers swelled so that more than 18 were added to every 100 counted at the beginning of this decade. But that proved to be the top of the tide. Although the addition in the next ten years was nearly 16 per cent. there was a decline, and every successive period showed a less and less rate of increase till 1851-61, when it fell below 12 per cent., and then, taking a turn, it ran to 13:19 per cent. in 1861-71, and to 14:36 in the years 1871-81. The maximum was 1811-21, the minimum 1851-61, from which it has been rising to another maximum not yet ascertained, although indeed it may be overpast. The mass has always been growing, but not with the same intensity ; the rate fell away, it recovered, and there may be some reason to think it has again declined. But has the increase all come from within ? Is this triplication of numbers wholly due to the growth of the English people, or is it in any, and, if so, in what, measure borrowed from immigration from many lands, or at least from other portions of the United Kingdom? The hospitality of our shores is great-we sometimes hear it muttered nowadays that it is too free; and De Foe proved long ago that the true-born Englishman was a mongrel product of many breeds. Do our numbers come from such importations? We are not VOL. XXIII.-No. 133.
without the means of answering the question. Although we number the population only once in ten years, we are day by day numbering domestic additions and subtractions—the births and deaths, the difference between which is the first great element affecting the total. Adding to the population at the beginning of a decade the births in that interval, and subtracting from the sum the recorded deaths, we might expect to find a result not far different from the population at the end. In truth this result is always greater than the population we do ascertain by counting. Some have disappeared. It might be thought they had died without their deaths being recorded, but this is not a probable explanation. Error is easier and more likely in the omission to register births than to register deaths, and we fall back on a second explanation that there has been a balance of emigration from the kingdom. And this we know to be the fact. Records are kept, though necessarily not perfectly, of those who leave and arrive at our ports; and they show a continuous outpouring of life. This rate also has not been uniform. It has risen and fallen ; but the flow, though varying in volume, maintains the same direction. There is yet another light in which this can be tested. We know the number of persons found living in England and Wales on the census-day of 1881 who were not born within the frontier (1,118,617); we know the number of English found on the same day in the other parts of the United Kingdom (178,191); we know the number of English and Welsh in the United States at their census in 1880 (745,978), and similarly in Canada in 1881 (169,504) and in the Australian Colonies in the same year ( 499,922); and a comparison of these figures, in which the European Continent, Asia, and Africa are wholly disregarded, shows that far more English-born people are found out of England than out-born people are found within it. The difference would be much more startling if we extended the comparison to the immigrants and emigrants of the United Kingdom, but, remembering that we are speaking at present of England and Wales only, it must be repeated that, while within the narrow limits the quantity of human life has been multiplied threefold, our overplus has flowed over and beyond them to the uttermost parts of the earth.
I turn to another question. This multiplication of men has proceeded at varying rates of increase, but always producing an increase, till we have three nations where we had one. Every one knows that this increase has not been uniformly spread over England and Wales. There has been the greatest possible range of variation in the lifegrowth of different divisions of the ancient kingdom ; and it may be asked whether any method can be discovered amid these differences. Let us turn to the differences between town and country, and especially between our biggest town and the rest of the country. There is some advantage in looking at London first, because, whilst its boundaries have varied from census to census, they have been fairly