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and the state of that city. In the opening paragraph, he says:—“The observations on the London Bills of Mortality have been a new light to the world, and the like observations on those of Dublin may serve as a snuffers to make the same candle burn clearer.” It would be beside our purpose to enter too minutely into detail in noticing the manner in which this Census was carried out." The Report which accompanies the voluminous tables describes the mode in which the required information was collected, which was far more copious, more comprehensive, and better expressed than in any previous statistical ublication which had appeared in Ireand, and procured for it, on high au. thority, the eulogium of being a model of a Census. For every county in Ireland a general table was prepared, which at one view showed the number of persons, the number of houses, the number of families, classified according to their pursuits and means; , their occupations classified as ministering to either physical or moral wants; and the state of education, indicating the number under rudimentary instruction, so far as reading and writing, of persons from five years old and upwards. Then followed more detailed tables—of ages, education, marriage, house accommodation, and occupations. The amount of emigration, home, coIonial, and foreign, is also elaborately shown, while the important head of rural economy is exemplified in tables, showing the division of land, the extent of woods and plantations, and the amount of farm and live stock. The vital statistics of the preceding decade,
Population of 1831, according to the Census -
Deduct the army in Ireland in 1831 . -
Computed population of 1831 Or that of 1841, as above .
Computed increase between 1831 and 1841 .
embracing the several subjects of births, marriages, ages, and deaths, are also ably collected, and supply, in the absence of a general registry, much practical information. Accompanying the table of deaths, there is a voluminous Report by Mr. Wilde to the Census Commissioners, which gives a most interesting account of the history of the revailing sources of mortality in Ireand. There are also attached to the general Report four maps of Ireland, which indicate, by comparative shading and explanatory figures, the density of the population, the extent of each class of house accommodation, the state of education, and the amount of property in live stock. In addition to these maps there are curves, representing the number of persons living, at every year of age, in the several provinces, the city of Dublin, the rural district of Mayo, and in the whole of Ireland. The appendix to the Report contains other interesting tables, devoted chiefly to the vital statistics of the Census. The total population returned in the Census for 1841 was 8, 175,124, being an increase of but 54 per cent. as compared with 1831; while the addition to the numbers from 1821 to 1831 was 144 per cent. This small amount of increase in the decade, from 1831 to 1841, is attributed by the Commissioners to various local as well as general causes—emigration, decrease in the annual addi. tion to the resident population, recruits raised, and also the omission of the enumeration of the army serving in Ireland. The actual increase, tak. ing these elements into consideration, is thus tabulated by the Commissioners:
* In 1827 a very able work was published on the past and present statistical state of Ireland, exhibited in a series of tables, by Caesar Moreau, Esq., F.R.S. Mr. Wakefield's work on Ireland contains some highly interesting remarks in
reference to Population.
f Before the publication of the Census of 1841, Captain Larcom, with the permission of the Lord Lieutenant, read a valuable and elaborate §. before the
Statistical Section of the British Association, at the meeting in
. . . . 7,854,317
ork, in the year
1833.-Proceedings of the London Statistical Society, vol. vi.
their estates to the mismanagement of careless or dishonest agents, having previously swept off everything that could be turned into money, for the purposes of their rash and reckless expedition.
Such was “merrie England" during the regime of the “ ancient faith." Passing from this sad picture, which is drawn with no common power, let us turn to the portrait of Thomas à Becket, the Prior of the Convent of Severnstoke, as he ambles forth on his mule upon one of his earlier diplomatic errands:
have passed away since those strange and eventful times, is this story with out a moral, which may be applied with irresistible force to recent transactions. In sketching the career of Thomas à Becket, in describing the upward course of that unscrupulous and daring adventurer, much of the secret history of the machinations of the Church of which he was the ostensible representative in these realms, must necessarily be laid before the public eye. Truth is stranger than fiction ; but the fiction which is found. ed upon historical truth has not only a double charm, but an intrinsic importance, of which it is impossible to overestimate the value.
The career of the ambitious churchman is interwoven, however, with that of a being of a far different nature. The story of the sorrows of the Fair Rosamond, over whose short life Becket exercised so important an influence, forms an interesting contrast. The two pictures lang side by side in the dim old gallery of past traditions. Here they are, touched by the band of genius, invested once more in the hues of life and reality, breathing from the canvass.
The story opens with a picturesque description of the external aspect and social condition of England at that period when monachism flourished in the country. We learn the startling fact that there were, in the twelfth century, more than a hundred thousand human beings immured within the walls of convents throughout the land. The architectural taste of the Normans was everywhere visible in the innumerable castles, churches, and abbeys; in the immediate vicinity of which was to be found the only luxuriantand flourishing cultivation which the country had to show. Elsewhere ruin and desolation only were visible, whole districts lay uncultivated, farm. ming was neglected. The predatory incursions of the Welsh tribes, and the insatiable avarice of the Church, had paralysed the exertions of the labour. ing classes : no man cared to sow that which it was only too probable would be reaped by some other; industry had ceased to exist. The minds of men, enslaved by bigotry, could be moved by the influence of superstition alone. The crusades had drawn away the greater number of the principal landed proprietors, who abandoned
“His light and active figure was admirably adapted for exercise and toil, and he sat his uncouth steed with a grace not the less remarkable that his great height made it a matter of some difficulty. His splendid and well-proportioned figure was not to be concealed by the long robe of brown cloth girded round his waist, while the hood, which constantly fell back, gave to view a countenance not only regularly handsome, but striking and picturesque. His forehead was singularly high and broad, with masses of rich black hair curling closely around it; the crown of the head alone being shaven. His eyes were very long, large, and dark, but always seemed half closed, perhaps from the constant habit of looking down. wards. It was only in speaking that the velvet softness of their eastern hue could be perceived; but when excited they flashed out with a brilliancy not to be surpassed. His nose was high and straight, and his mouth and chin well cut and defined, and expressive of great firmness. The foreign appearance of father Thomas might, in some degree, be accounted for by the fact of his mother having been born in the east, but he himself was a tative of England. Much care was already written upon that brow, although the prior was still a young man ; but ambition is a wearing passion, and no gown of serge or shirt of hair ever covered a breast more madly heaving with ambitious hope than did that which enveloped the tall and supple form of the Prior of Severnstoke. None could behold in him the mere ordinary mortal, nor could his boly garb thoroughly endue him with the meek and lowly air befitted to his calling.
“There was in him more of the soldier than of the priest, more of the statesman than the book-worm ; and perhaps yet more than either, of the gay and chivals rous character of the Norman knight, though tempered down to strict outward decorum, for very careful was the holy fa
ther of his earthly reputation. Through it he had attained his present position, but he had still much to gain. To rise to the highest honours is the natural wish of every aspiring nature, the dream of every ambitious mind; but with him it was more than a desire, more than a dream, it was a determination. He felt that the destiny of man lies mainly in the will of man, and to work out the dictates of that resolute will he devoted every energy of his soul. His strong and comprehensive mind never wavered; he anticipated the success he was resolved to attain, and the confidence this sentiment inspired was a first step towards his end."
The career of Becket is traced, step by step, from its commencement up to the close, with great minuteness. He had arisen from the humble grade of a benedictine friar to be the prior of a monastery of considerable importance. While occupying this comparatively humble position he took care to recom. mend himself to the favourable notice of his superiors, by a rigid and scrupu. lous attention to the routine of his daily duties, and at length acquired such a reputation for sanctity, discretion, and intelligence, that he was selected as a negotiator to superintend the arrangement of differences which had broken out with the Welsh, and by means of which the whole kingdom was at that time distracted. The Archbishopric of Canterbury was conferred upon him, and by a sedulous study of the charac. ter of the king, with a complete subservience to his will upon all occasions, he at length obtained so complete a mastery over the mind of Henry as to become the real ruler of England. The danger by which the realm was then threatened from the turbulent and am. bitious spirit of the Church of Rome is thus powerfully described :
“ At the bottom of the king's heart lay a desire even more ardent than the others, namely, in some measure to control and humble the power of the Church. The task was difficult, to an ordinary mind it might seem impossible; but the spirit and determination of the king did not quail before the gigantic undertaking. The authority of the Church was almost unlimited; her riches were enormous, and her dependants innumerable. The legate of the Pope had, in fact, more power than the king; and the sagacity of Henry soon showed him that openly to defy a body which could answer that defiance by an ap
peal to Rome to hurl her thunders at his head, was not the way to establish his authority. So long as this power of appeal existed, and the clergy had their separate laws, by which alone they would consent to be governed, he felt that he was not secure in his own kingdom. The abuses of the power of the Church had risen to an intolerable height; the rapacity of the priests, only equalled by their tyranny, was incredi. ble; and the darkness of the age encouraged the superstition of the masses, aud daily added to the ecclesiastical despotism. The people were kept in profound ignorance; the nobles were too much addicted to pleasure and to war to have leisure to learn ; therefore, the only cultivation of intellect existed amongst the priests, which gave them complete dominion over the minds of men. All this was perfectly understood by Henry, whose powerful mind, far in advance of the times in which he lived, not only discovered the evil, but likewise the remedy. To proceed with caution was his first object; to lead wbere he could not controul, his design. It was for this reason he had applied to Theobald to send him, from among the sons of the Clergy, one in whom he could confide, and with whom he could live on terms of intimacy; and it was precisely for the contrary reason, to consolidate that power which Henry was bent on undermining, that the wily churchman had chosen the prior of Severnstoke, as a man whose great and varied abilities, deep subtlety, and daring courage, marked him out as a powerful defender of his order, and a worthy opponent of an intellect so elevated as that with which Henry II. was gifted."
The hold which this wily minister contrived to secure over his master was soon employed in furthering to the very utmost the designs of the Pope; but in carrying out his master's interest, he never, for a single instant, appears to have lost sight of his own. Pensions, emoluments, and honours of all kinds were heaped upon him, until he rose at last to a pitch of grandeur and magnificence to which royalty itself seemed to hold only a subordinate place. Then it was that, backed by the authority of the Church, he boldly threw of all allegiance to the king. Availing himself of the first pretext that offered the prospect of an open rupture, he defied the royal authority, in the very presence of the ministers of state, and declared openly that the Roman Pontiff' was the only king and master whose authority he acknow
1831 and 1841 is 15.1%; and 16; in Munster and Connaught 23.1%, and 20.
The comparative safety with which the
north passed through the ordeal, may be accounted for by the superior social condition of the people, induced, in an agricultural point of view, by the large average size of their arable farms, proving the greater skill and industry of the population, and also by the existence of manufactures, whereby remunerative employment is provided for both sexes. On the other hand, in the remote and backward parts of the west and south, the average size of the farms is very small, and a large Woo. of the soil is uncultivated. When, therefore, the staple and almost exclusive food of the inhabitants came under the influence of a destructive blight, they were unprepared to meet the calamity, had no resource to turn to, and decimation of the population ensued. Besides they had been going on increasing their numbers at a ratio which, as compared with their means of subsistence, left them in comparative poverty and distress; and when Government relief, as well as private charity, ceased to be administered, the ruined and broken-hearted peasants left their wretched homes in the counties to swell the numbers of the adjoining cities and towns. . It is no proof of the prosperity of the town of Galway to have thus added to its population 7,422 in ten years; neither can the increase which has taken place in the cities of Cork, Limerick, and Waterford, be looked upon as evidence of their commercial improvement or prosperity. In the counties of Antrim and Down there has been a small increase, while Belfast reckons 24,352 more people than dwelt there in 1841. This increase must be attributed to causes very different from those which have operated in the other cities and towns, for the northern capital had resources within itself not only to absorb this addition to its numbers, but to provide the means of an independent livelihood for the incomers. In Dublin, both county and city, there has been an increase; in the former 22,124, in the latter 7,459; and in this combined respect thus present an exception to the rest of Ireland. This may be reasonably accounted for from the fact, that disastrous times reduced the incomes of the gentry to such an extent as to prevent them residing in their country mansions; and being thus com
pelled to economise in smaller establishments, they came to reside in the metropolis and its county environs. So far, them, as regards the enumeration of persons, we believe these to be the leading features of the census of 1851, as expressed in the abstract of the returns, in figures contained in one sheet of paper. They tell us, alas! of a decline of human life, of which there is no such record to be found in the page of history. Revolutions, wars, famines, plagues, and fires have done their worst elsewhere, but where, in so small a geographical space, is there to be found an example of so vast and so rapid a decrease in a population which, at the common rate of progress, should have now amounted to nearly nine millions? The Census Commissioners of 1851 have yet much to tell us. We can ascertain, as we have already stated, with accuracy, the amount of annual emigration; and so far we shall be enabled to account for a portion of the great decrease; but will the authori. ties be enabled to show what became of the rest of the population ? The Commissioners of 1841 felt, that in inquiring into the several subjects of births, deaths, and marriages, they were only giving information from sources upon which they could afford but a “tolerable approach to accuracy,” and in their Report stated, that “whilst the ages of the living were those of the whole community, as enumerated in 1841, the births, marriages, and deaths were in various degrees short of the total amount of those which had occurred during the previous ten years, as they had, of course, no account of those events in families which had left the country, or had become extinct from natural causes, during that period.” If this difficulty existed in 1841, how much more have the Census Commissioners of 1851 to contend with ? But from such materials as are before them, we have no doubt we shall have all the facts well digested. There are other points of inquiry, however, which do not present the same obstacles in arriving at the truth, and an opportunity is now presented, of collecting a mass of statistics, the practical value of which cannot be over-estimated. The act for taking an account of the population of Ireland in 1851, named the 31st of March as the day for the enumeration, thus decreasing the decennial period by sixty-eight days, This alteration, which was recommended, we believe, by Captain Larcom, was also adopted in the Census Act of Great Britain. In Ireland it has the advantage of securing the enumeration of the harvest labourers who yearly emigrate to England between the months of May and August, and also by finding the agricultural portion of the population employed in the several |...}. it ensures their more correct topographical distribution. The number of harvest labourers who temporarily emigrated in 1841, that is previous to the 6th of June, amounted only to 5,481, a number which had no very great disturbing influence in arriving at a true estimate of the population.
g: The English act directs the Census to be taken by the registrar-general of births, deaths, and marriages, subject to the supervising authority of the Home Secretary. In Ireland the act simply requires that the Census shall be taken by the police, and that the returns shall be reduced into order by such lo. as the Lord Lieutenant should appoint. We un: derstand it was originally intended that Captain Larcom was to have been the chief Commissioner. His health, however, having given way under the pressure of arduous duties in the Board of Public Works, he was reluctantly compelled, by his medical advisers, to resign the appointment. . Upon his resignation it was deemed advisable, with the view of assimilating the executive of the Irish Census to that of the English, to appoint W. Donnelly, Esq., LL.D., the registral-general of marriages, to the principal Commissionership. With him were associated Mr. Wilde as assistant Commissioner, and Mr. Singleton as Secretary. The public mind was well prepared for affording the required information, and the press of all political and religious persuasions, with one exception, most materially aided the authorities in explaining, in the clearest possible manner, the object of the Census. . In addition to the subjects of former inquiry, there was instruction to specify the deaf, dumb, and blind. More exact information was given as to the mode of filling up the forms left at each house; and a kindly appeal was made to the country, asking, as a favour, to be supplied with that which they were entitled by the statute to demand as a right. Letters were also addressed to
the clergy of every denomination, as well as to professional and other classes of the community, enlisting their cooperation and support. The forms supplied to the public institutions reTool more detailed information than those issued in any previous Census. In fact the greatest possible care appears to have been taken to acquire the most accurate and minute knowledge of the condition of the country. We may here state that the agricultural survey of the present year has been entrusted to the present Commissioners, and will form, on its completion, a volume of its proceedings. The occuo of the people will be not the east important part of the inquiry, and we shall, no doubt, have them classified in such a way as will enable us to ascertain whether there has been an increase or decrease in the number of our producers, manufacturers, and traders, as well as in those occupied in professional pursuits, and in the cultivation of the arts and sciences. It has occurred to us that a very interesting statistic, in reference to occupations, would be afforded by an examination of the money orders of the Post-office, which, if we recollect rightly, requires the sender of the money to state his profession or occupation. It would be valuable to ascertain the class of persons who avail themselves of this medium of transmitting money. Under the several heads of emigration, rural economy, education, and vital statistics, there is a wide scope for inquiry; and from the nature of some of the new forms which have been issued, we shall be supplied with important statistics, particularly as regards the extent of our shipping trade, foreign and coastwise, with interesting details on the number of our fishing boats. All these matters will form the subject for future examination. Our preparatory object has been now effected. We have endeavoured to show how the population of Ireland has been computed from the earliest times, and we have briefly called attention to the present inquiry, the materials of which, when collected and reduced to order, will supply us with a knowledge of the condition we were in at a very important epoch in our history, and show, we trust, by comparison, when ten more years shall have rolled over, the great advance which, with God's blessing, will be observable in the prosperity of the country,