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The World

it was then, and that Nature inclines ftill more and more
to augment the Stock: So that, though we fhould not
the World a Being from all Eternity, but only fup-
pofe it was four or five thousand Years before the Mo-
faical Account; Mankind by this Time would have been
perfectly wedged together, we fhould have fwarmed eve-
ry where with nothing but Men, moft other Species
would in all Probability have been eaten up for Food,
and Men themselves would have lived, like Fishes, by
fnapping up one another.

Phil. By your good Leave, Sir, I cannot be brought to believe all this. For Nature does in a very prudent Manner provide against the exceffive Stock of Mankind, by cutting off the exuberant Increase by Wars, Famines, and efpecially Plagues, and for ought I know, by Deluges, fuch as they tell us of Deucalian and Noah. So that tho' Mankind does for fome Years feem to increafe, yet it is always brought to the Level again, by fome fuch mighty Devaftation. For a great Plague or a Famine might deftroy as much in one Year, as the World had increased in five thousand. And 'tis my Opinion, that the Eter¬ nity of the World is kept up by these fucceffive Increafes and Defolations, And there is very good Reafon for this Opinion; because this gives a fair Account of the Ufe of Plagues and Famines in the World; for fuch prodigious Corruptions in the Air do not feem to be the pure Errors and Blunders of Nature; but to be wifely contrived to obviate the Inconveniencies, which would arife from an over-grown Stock; befides fuch Methods of Nature would feem cruel and unmerciful, unlefs fhe had a Defign to ferve, which was fo very neceffary, which Imputation is fairly taken away by this Hypothefis,

Cred. But then your Hypothefis ought to be groundnever depo-ed upon fome Reafon or Experience, before you advance pulated by it, but it is fo far from being founded on them, that it Plagues. is contrary to the Reafon and Experience of all Mankind, We have very good Hiftory of what has happened for


three thousand Years laft, and yet we never heard of any Devastation like this. The great Plague of Athens, that unparallelled one in the fixth Century, which raged fo all over the Roman Empire, for the Space of fifty Years, and that which happened in our City of London thirty Years ago, were indeed very fevere Judgments of God, and made great Defolation among Men; but they were fo far from making any fuch epidemical Devastation, as is here fuppofed, that they did not fo much as overpoife the gradual Increase of one Generation. The anci ent Hiftories are not fo very punctual, to let us make a demonstrative Proof of this; but yet from thefe we may gather Arguments enough, to convince you of the Unreasonableness of this your Suppofition. For what fignified that great Plague in one City, and a few neighbouring Territories, to the mighty Increase of People, from Cadmus's Time? We find by Thucydides's Hiftory, that the Athenians carried on the Peloponnesian War Remarks vigorously, for all that; that they were far more annoy- up the ed by the yearly Incurfions of the Spartans into Attica; most re. and probably had as many Men loft, as by the Plague, Peftilences, which lafted but a fhort Time; but their War continued feven and twenty Years. We have no particular Account, what Number died of that Plague, or what Proportion of the People it fwept away. It is probable, the Army fuffered moft when it was infected; because of their hard Fare and Lodging, and Lack of Attendance and Conveniencies. And Thucydides gives us a particular Account, what Proportion of that died by the Infection. For the Army under Agnan and Theopompus, which took Infection at the Siege of Potidan was in all four thousand three hundred; whereof one thoufand five hundred died of the Plague, which is but about a third Part; and we cannot fuppofe, that of the Citizens, who had better Care taken of them, there died half fo many. So that a Plague fo rare as this was, and fo re

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markable to all Ages, cutting off no greater a Number of Men, in fo fmall a Circuit, could tend little to our univerfal Devastation. Indeed the Plague in the fixth Century, which was called the Lues Inguinaria, or the Swelling in the Groin, was more epidemical and of longer Continuance; for it lafted fifty Years, and fwept away Multitudes of People, all over the Roman Empire; and yet Mankind was very inconfiderably leffened by it, as appears by the fwarming Incurfions of Huns, Lombards, Saxons, Saracens, &c. in diverfe Parts of the World, about that Time. As for our late Plague in London, we are able to make more particular Remarks upon that. There died in that dreadful Vifitation according to the weekly Accounts of the Plague, in the Years 1665 and 1666, 70,544. Now the number of Inhabitants at that Time were about $10,000; for the common Bills of Mortality, at that Time, were yearly 17000 (fince, by the Increase of the City, they are come to three or four and twenty thousand) which multiplied by thirty Years, the middle Computation of Life, gives the forefaid 510,000, of which the 70,544 which died, are about an eighth Part. Now London has been a Place, that has been mightily fubject to Plagues; and if we confult our Hiftories, we fhall find one there once in about five and twenty Years, tho' perhaps none fo prodigioufly fweeping as this laft, but granting them all like this to take away the eighth Part of the Inhabitants, once in twenty-five Years; let us fee what this will do, towards hindring the Incrcafe of Mankind. Sir William Petytt, has very handfomly proved, that Mankind doubles it felf once in three hundred and fixty Years. Now twenty-five being found fourteen Times in 360, the City of London muft every five and twenty Years (the Period of the Plague) inc cafe a fourteenth Part; but then the Plague cuts off an eighth Part, which is a deal more than it gains; but then that fourteenth Part helps very great

Evangr. Hift. Eccl. + Eflay of the Multiplication of Mankind.


confiderably to make up the Lofs. But when on the other Side, we confider the whole Country of England to contain ten Times as many People as the City, the Increase of the whole Nation, in five and twenty Years, will be a fourteenth Part complete (as being free from thofe Plagues) and in three hundred and fixty Years will abfolutely double; fo that here will be this prodigious Increafe of ten Parts of the Nation, and the inconfiderable Decrease of but one, which is fupplied by all the reft. So that the whole Nation lacks but of

(which is not a twentieth Part) of doubling in the three hundred and fixty Years. And pray now, Sir, what are the Plagues of London, to this Augmentation? What is this inconfiderable Lofs of one Part, to the Gainof all the reft? I am fure, Sir, if you were a Trader, you would look upon this as confiderable Improvement, to have your Gains twenty, and your Loffes but one.

Phil. I am afraid, Sir, that the Defenders of your Faith, will not thank you, for this fine Arithmetical Argument; for if once you come to this, we Infidels fhall be too many for you. For fettle the Increase of Mankind how you will, make the Period of doubling as large or as narrow as you please, you will find your Mofaical Account will ftand miferably loofe, upon that Bottom. Pray, Sir, for once, let me ask you a Question. How many Men do you probably conjecture, may there be now in the World? Guefs how you will, more or lefs, and then you shall hear what I have to reply upon you.

in the

Cred. The ingenious Gentleman I before-mentioned, The proba reckons two hundred and thirty Millions; upon what ble NumGrounds I know not, for he does not mention them; but I ber of Men compute there are three Times as many, and I think upon World. pretty good Grounds. The yearly Bills of Mortality, now at London, are about four and twenty thoufand, which multiplied by thirty, the middle Term of Life, gives feven hundred and twenty thousand, the Number of the Inhabitants of the City; now London being by common Computation the eleventh Part of the Nation,


that feven hundred and twenty thousand, multiplied by.

eleven, gives 7,920,000, for

the Inhabitants of the whole Lond.

Nation, which is nigh eight
Millions. Now I reckon mo-
derately, that Scotland and Ire-
Land, with all our adjacent Ifles, Eng.
are equal to England, fo as to
make in all about fixteen Mil-
lions. The Inhabitants of our

Ifles may by a moderate Com

Brit. Ifles


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putation be about a fixtieth Part The World 960,000,000. of the World; but Sir William

Petty's Computation makes them a twentieth, which is monftrously unproportionable, as will appear to any one, that thinks but upon China and Tartary, and the Empire of the Mogul; and I am afraid my Number is fomething of the leaft. Now multiply the former fixteen Millions by 60, and the Inhabitants of the World will be nine hundred and fixty Millions; which is just three Times as much as Sir William Pettyt's three hundred and twenty


Phil. Indeed, Sir, I think your Computation may be pretty exact; and now be pleafed to fee, what horrible Work this Computation and your doubling Period will make together. Suppofe you go backwards nine of your Periods of three hundred and fixty Years, reckoning this Year to be in the World nine hundred and fixty Millions; three hundred and fixty Years before this, viz. A. D. 1335, four hundred and eighty Millions; three hundred and fixty Years before that, A. D. 975, two hundred and forty Millions, &c. the ninth Period will fall upon the Year of the World one thousand four hundred and four, not long before the Return of the Children of Ifrael from Egypt; and then there were in the World according to this Computation, three Millions feven hundred and fifty thoufand, which does but very agree with your Book of Numbers. For



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