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by near 1200 a year, that therefore Berlin must be a very unwholesome place, and greatly prejudicial to the increase of the human fpecies; and that because in some country places the births always exceed the deaths in a great proportion, these muft be proportionally favourable to it. But from this fact confidered alone, it might have been quite the reverse. The town might perhaps be far more wholesome than the country.
Berlin, notwithstanding this amazing mortality, has been found to increase in population during the period above named. Hence our political calculators have justly inferred, that this augmentation must have been occafioned by an influx of inhabitants from fome other part of the world. But here they have ftopt. They had only to advance a fingle ftep farther; and then they must have seen, that of all those inhabitants who have come to Berlin from other parts, no one of their births could enter into the registers of that place, though all their deaths must be there recorded. Now, if 1200 people flocked to that town annually, and there took up their abode, it muft of neceffity happen, that on an average the deaths must exceed the births by that num ber, let the place be as favourable for the human race as you can fuppofe. In like manner, if these 1200 went from the country into the town, all their births must have appeared in the registers there, and none of their deaths; fo that it would appear by these registers that the country was as furprisingly favourable, as the town was unfavourable for the human race. This, it is plain, is a mere fallacy; an argument that may tend to mislead, because the error is not extremely obvious, but which never ought to be employed by any one who pretends to philofophic precifion.
The fact is, that in every fituation, whether favourable for the human race, or the reverfe, where the influx of strangers from other places is confiderable, the deaths must be more numerous in proportion to the births, if the regifters be accurate, than they would
have been, if no fuch influx had happened; and the greater that influx is, the greater must be that disproportion.
Hence it must neceffarily happen, that if we are to judge of the increase or decrease of population from the bill of mortality only, our conclufion will be always exactly the reverfe of what it would be, if we take an actual enumeration: For wherever, from an actual enumeration, we find that the population is augmenting in a very rapid manner, we would conclude from the bills of mortality, that they were decreafing very faft.
In like manner, if people are emigrating fast from any country, could we obtain an accurate lift of the births and the deaths, we fhould fay that the births fo far exceeded the deaths, as to afford the clearest proof of a rapid increafing population; whereas, were we to take an actual enumeration, we would be forced to draw a conclufion directly the reverfe.
These few obfervations may serve to fhew how little reliance is to be had on those general and vague declamations that have been often repeated with fo much confidence on this fubject. Many other fources of fallacy respecting this fubject, might be pointed out; but this might tend to perplex fome. It is enough at this time to have developed this fingle particular, as it may ferve to infpire those with a fmall degree of diffidence, who begin to fpeculate upon fuch matters.
I fhall only add, that it is not here intended to infinuate that the occupations of a country life are not more favourable to the augmentation of the human fpecies, than thofe of large towns; but merely that the proof of this fact arifing from a comparative view of the bills of mortality is entirely fallacious. Much false reasoning, and many erroneous conclufions have been founded on thefe data by political writers, within the prefent century.
To the Editor of the Bee.
HAVING an opportunity of sending you a letter, I offer you a little morfel for your Bee. 'Tis an Arabian tale I never faw in print; at least it has not been hackneyed about in periodical publications.
Three Arabs, brethren of a noble family, who "were travelling together for the improvement of their "minds, were accidentally met by a camel driver, who "asked them, if they had not seen a camel, which had strayed from him in the night. • Was not the ca"mel blind of an eye?' faid the eldeft. 'Yes,' faid 'It had a tooth out before,' said the se"cond. It is very true,' he replied. Was it not 66 little lame?' added the third. 6 Why really it was, "returned the owner. Taking it for granted then, "that they had feen his beaft, he befought them to "tell him which way it went. Follow us, friend,' "faid they. He did fo, and had not gone far, till he happened to fay, that the camel was loaden with 66 corn. And it had, continued the Arabians, a veffel "of oil on one fide, and a veffel of honey on the other. "It had fo, faid the driver; therefore let me conjure 66 you to tell me where you met it. Met it! cried the "eldest of the brethren, why we never faw your ca"mel at all. The man lofing patience at this, began
to load them with reproaches; and as they were "paffing through a village, he raised the people, and caufed them to be apprehended. The Cadi or
* If this story was a fact, it is not improbable, that from this circumftance arofe that oriental proverb;" If any one afk you, if you "have seen the camel, anfwer no!" i. e. do not, by impertinent converfation, involve yourself in difficulties.
Judge of the town, before whom they were brought, "not being able to determine the cause, sent them to the "prince of the country, who, perceiving by their be"haviour, that they were perfons of diftinction, fet "them at liberty, lodged them in his palace, and treat"ed them with all imaginable respect. After fome days, " he took an occafion of politely requesting, that they "would clear up the mystery of the camel, and explain how they could poffibly hit upon fo many par"ticulars, without ever having feen it. The young men smiled at the importunity of the prince; and af"ter having returned him abundance of thanks for the "civilities they had received, the fenior of the bre"thren thus spoke: We are neither deceivers nor ne66 cromancers; neither did we use any other inftruments "of divination tha our fenfes and reafon : for my part, "I judged it was blind, because, as we went along, I "obferved the grafs eaten up on one fide of the road, "and not on the other. And I, faid the fecond, guessed "it had loft a tooth before, as where the grafs was "cropped clofeft, there was conftantly a little tuft left "behind. And I, added the third, concluded it was "lame, becaufe the prints of three feet were distinct in "the road, whereas the impreffion of the fourth was blur"red; whence I concluded, that the animal bad dragged "it, and did not fet it to the ground. All this I appre"hend, faid the King; but how in the name of won"der, could you difcover that oil and honey made a "part of its loading? Why, rejoined the travellers; "This, upon finding our first furmife was right, we "afterwards conjectured, from remembering we had "feen, on one fide of the path, little troops of ants "ferreting the grafs; and on the other, the flies"affembled here and there in groups, infomuch that "few or none were on the wing."
Whether, Sir, this eaftern anecdote be true or false, matters not much, fince, in either cafe, it exactly reprefents what it was meant to exprefs, the quick
thought and deep penetration of the Arabs. In application, it recommends that close attention which is fo requifite in matters of importance. Without this, genius and judgment are at beft but defective, and this talent hath often led perfons, in other refpects not greatly diftinguished, to make discoveries of confequence in philofophy, agriculture, and other fciences. No where, I prefume, is this faculty more neceffary, than in chymical researches.-In any business, the foolish and the heedlefs are ready to fay, "I did not think;" but the motto of the diligent and attentive will ever be "quid utile ;-Curo et rogo, et omnis in boc fum."
Wishing you all fuccefs in your paper, and hoping the Bee will foon answer the expectation raised by your excellent profpectus, I am,
A detached Thought.
LET us fuppofe a nation, or, if you please, a fpecies of men fo fuperior to us in respect of genius, that the laft among them fhould furpafs, in that respect, the first among us, it is evident, that our best performances would appear to them very indifferent; but I believe alfo, that theirs, and, above all, their finest productions, would afford us very little pleasure. Our critics would, indeed, acknowledge, that their performances discovered genius, but very little tafte. These folks, they would fay, write nothing but enigmas. They know not how to develope their thoughts, nor to make them connect eafily with one another. One does not understand what they would fay; and perhaps they do not well understand it themselves.