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Occupation Abstract

The third volume of our Abstract contains an alphabetical arrangement of all the occupations carried out by the inhabitants of this kingdom, of whatever age or sex, on the 7th of June 1841, from the personal communications of each individual or head of a family. There are separate returns (distinguishing the sex, and whether above or under 20 years of age) for every county in Great Britain and for all the larger towns, and these are afterwards combined for England and Wales, for Scotland, and for Great Britain generally.

The difficulties attendant upon making such an abstract of the people of this kingdom, will not perhaps at first occur to persons who see it arranged in its present easy form of reference for all: when stated, however, they will at once account for the time and labour required for its completion. Upon the only former occasion when a return of occupations was made, certain lists, which were supposed to embrace all the trades then carried on, were furnished to the different overseers, to be by them filled up with the number of males upwards of 20 years old in each parish or place who were employed in retail trade, or in handicraft, as masters, shopmen, journeymen, apprentices, or in any capacity requiring skill in the business, while there was reserved to them the liberty of adding the names of such additional occupations as were not included in their lists. It will be seen that by this mode the tabular arrangement with the proper numbers so engaged was complete for each parish or place at the time these lists were returned by the overseers, and therefore easily arranged or combined so as to exhibit totals for counties or towns.

The objection to this plan, however, was that there was a want of uniformity in the apportionment and designation of occupations not included in those lists, and that as to the correctness of that part of the classification which was left to the discretion of the overseers, no adequate test could be afterwards applied. As the lists of 1831 refer to males only of the age of 20 years and upwards, great care must be observed in using them as a test of the comparative increase of different trades or pursuits in the various localities within the last decennial period. In illustration of the differences of system to which we have alluded we reprint (at p. 27) from the Abstract of 1831 the accounts of the persons engaged in trade and handicraft as applicable to Great Britain generally, and to the assumed limits of the Metropolis at that perion (p. 46), together with our Summary of Occupations for Great Britain, and an account which we have prepared for the Metropolis as existing in 1841 (p. 48), the limits of which, although rather more extensive than those comprised in the account for 1831, will not cause such a variation as materially to affect the comparison. Upon the present occasion, instead of circulating lists to contain by anticipation every existing trade or calling, the enumerator was directed to insert each man's description of himself opposite his name, so that when the enumerators' schedules were returned to us we might arrange the whole upon such forms as should be most easy of reference. The result was, that many occupations were returned that will not be found in the list of 1831, while in the instance of important manufactures minute subdivisions of labour were separately entered in the schedules, showing both the attention with which this part of their duty was performed by the enumerators, and the absolute necessity for after combination upon some uniform system. In the cotton manufacture alone of the county of Lancaster, there were more distinct heads of labour inserted in the enumerators' schedules (some of them identical, some of them merely indications of the immense subdivision that here exists) than the whole number of occupations of every kind that had in 1831 been allotted to that county. The total number of different terms, all of which finally had to be transferred to the head of cotton, amounted originally to 1255, while the whole number of distinct occupations returned for Great Britain in 1831 amounted only to 598.

Some difficulty was found in arriving at the numbers respectively employed in the manufacture of the principal textile fabrics, owing to the immense variety of designations given to the various subdivisions of labour, some of them being common to more than one fabric, such as winder , piecer , &c. This difficulty was met, however, by a careful reference to the prevailing manufacture of the districts in which they were enumerated, and, where necessary, by actual inquiries. We have just stated that the different titles under which the various persons employed in cotton manufacture for Lancashire were returned, amounted to 1255: these, for the convenience of publication, and in order to render them accessible to an ordinary enquirer, we have reduced in the county abstracts to the general heading of "Cotton manufacture, all branches". If we had published the numbers under the different subdivisions returned to us, not only would reference to other matters have been rendered more difficult by the alphabetical list being indefinitely extended, but those who wished to arrive at general results would have been deceived by omitting to notice branches of manufacture with which nothing but a scientific knowledge of details could have made them acquainted.

For the woollen manufacture of the West Riding of Yorkshire, 117 different subdivisions of labour were returned to us, including such general terms as carders , rovers , setters , cleaners , and winders , as well as such technical terms, such as billy-piecers , raisers , shoddy-teazers , stretchers , dryers , &c.

In the cotton manufacture, the designations common to those employed upon other textile fabrics, such as sliverers , slubbers , devillers , sweepers , piecers , &c., were mixed up with those more peculiar to this branch, such as batters , scutchers , scavengers , &c. If these had been returned separately in the alphabetical index, they would have been either overlooked or confounded with the trade or calling from which those subdivisions of labour have borrowed such terms as scavenger , sweeper , &c.

With respect to trades, we should mention that the number opposite to such trades as bakers, butchers, haberdashers, &c., do not represent (as is the case with commercial directories) only the total number of shops of these respective denominations, but also all persons (distinguishing age and sex) who are employed in these particular trades. It is evident, however, that such a mode of return furnishes an exact idea of the relative importance in a social point of view of each trade, and gives more correctly the amount of business in each locality, inasmuch as the number of hands employed is a better test upon these points than could be furnished by a mere statement of the number of shops open.

In some cases the accuracy of returns of this kind has been impugned, in consequence of the small numbers returned as engaged in making or selling articles of very general consumption. Thus, the assertion that any large place contains but one spectacle-maker, two pork-butchers, three coffin-makers, or four hatters, has been quoted as incorrect or ridiculous; whereas it should be borne in mind, that only in places of such importance and commercial activity as to require and support great subdivisions of trades, would any such occupations be separately carried on at all. In many small country towns, the spectacle-maker would merge in the optician, who would perhaps also be the watch-maker, the barometer-seller, and the bell-hanger of his neighbourhood. The coffin-maker would be doing the last offices to his former customers in the cabinet-making line; while the hatter would figure in the list as draper, grocer, bookseller, or shopkeeper, according as he might prefer one name to the other.

With respect to the term "Independent", we should premise that the numbers included under that head are not merely the wealthy, or even those in easy circumstances, but all who support themselves upon their own means without any occupation. It will, therefore, afford not test of the relative amount of wealthy persons in different localities, or throughout Great Britain, as while it includes in the more rural districts many porr widows or aged men living upon their savings, it omits many large capitalists who are returned under their proper heads in the list of "Occupations".

The return "Other Persons" includes many who, there is reason to believe, escaped enumeration upon other occasions, inasmuch as it comprises 22,303 persons ascertained to have been sleeping in barns, tents, pits, and in the open air, on the night of the 6th June, 1841. Of the occupations of these persons it was obviously impossible to procure any account, although we have been able to distribute them under the columns of sex and age. The same may be said of the 5,016 persons enumerated as travelling by night at the time the Census was taken.

The "Residue" of the population whose occupations are entirely unaccounted for amounts to 10,991,382, which would at first appear to be a large proportion. It must however be remembered, that this comprehends both sexes and all ages; and it will be found, upon examination, that of this number only 2½ per cent were males above 20 years of age. The males under 20, and the females above and under 20, make up respectively about 31, 32, and 33 per cent of the remainder. For the large number under 20 of each sex, without any occupation, it is obviously easy to account, comprehending, as it does, infants and children of tender age. The number of women above 20 years of age, without any occupation returned, consists generally of unmarried women living with their parents, and of the wives of professional men or shopkeepers, living upon the earnings but not considered as carrying on the occupations of their husbands. The small number of males above 20 years of age who have been returned by the Enumerators as not pursuing any occupations (nor as being persons of independent means, nor as paupers), amounting to 272,732, in a population of 18,655,981 souls (a proportion of only 1.46 per cent), may be supposed to consist of sons who continue to reside with their parents, and perhaps to assist in their business, without being returned as carrying on the same trades; of husbands supported by the labour and industry of their wives; and of persons temporarily out of employment.

We do not think any further observations will be necessary for the correct comprehension of that portion of these Returns which is comprised in the Alphabetical Lists which form the bulk of this volume.

Before proceeding to explain the reasons and nature of the classification which we have attempted of the Occupations of the people of this Kingdom, we would shortly notice the effect which the increased or diminished preponderance of the two great classes, viz., the Manufacturing and Agricultural, may be supposed to have upon the vital statistics of this kingdom. It must be obvious that there is not any point connected with this important science, whether it be the space or the house accommodation enjoyed by its inhabitants, their mortality or fecundity, the rate of their natural or ascertained increase, nor, indeed, any other question of a similar nature, which is not directly or indirectly affected by the proportion which the Agricultural bears to the other great division of the community. To illustrate this subject, and in order to show the mutual bearing of the information furnished in our present and former returns upon those of the Registrar-General, we have prepared the following Table. The views suggested by each of these publications are so intimately connected, and so curiously illustrate each other, that we thought such a Table would be useful, in whuch the eye could range from one fact to the other, as applicable to each county in England, to North and South Wales, and to England and Wales generally.

Table showing to a given Number of Inhabitants the Number of Acres; the Average Annual Number of Marriages, Births and Deaths; the Number of Persons Alive at certain Ages; the Number of Inhabited Houses; and the Number of Persons born out of the County in which they were enumerated. Also the atual and assumed Increase of Population resulting from two returns, the Proportion of Persons of each Sex Married Annually under 21 Years of Age, the Degree of Education, the Rate of Infant Mortality, and the Proportions of Persons engaged in Agriculture and Trade respectively, for each County in England, and for North and South Wales. - ( Referred to and explained at pp. 9-14).

A few words of explanation as to each column may facilitate the comprehension of the mass of figures embraced by this Table.

Column 1 gives the number of inhabitants to every hundred acres for each county, and exhibits a state of things which alternately results from, or is a cause of, the different facts exhibited by the other columns. In counties where the inhabitants are employed not only in cultivating the natural products of the surface, as in the purely agricultural districts, but in modifying by various manufacturing processes the raw products of other regions, and extracting the treasure that lies concealed beneath the surface of our own, the number of inhabitants within a given space must be expected to be greater: thus it will be seen that while Hereford would furnish only 20 inhabitants to every 100 acres, Lincolnshire 21, Rutland 22, and the North Riding of Yorkshire but 15, Stafford would show 67, Chester 58, the West Riding of Yorkshire 70, Lancaster 147, and Middlesex 873.

The greater crowding of the inhabitants is by some supposed necessarily to lead to a greater number of marriages, of births, and of deaths.1 Columns 2, 3, and 4, supply particulars on this head, by which the extent or universality of this consequence may be tested. It has, however, and with great appearance of plausibility, been urged, that no excessive mortality can be inferred until due allowance has been made for the excess of infant lives, which must, by a natural consequence, greatly swell the amount of deaths; column 5, therefore, has been added, in order to furnish for each county the proportion under five years of age in every 10,000 inhabitants.

In balancing the number of births against the inhabitants of any given division, a great error is committed unless due reference be had to the proportions there residing of a marriageable age, that is to say, between the years most likely to increase the population. Columns 6, 7, 8, and 9, give therefore the very varying numbers of each sex between 20 and 30, and between 30 and 40 years of age, in each of the counties of England; and in order not to omit the influence which a large preponderance above the usual age of marriage may be supposed to possess, column 10 contains a similar account of those above 50. It will thus be seen, that while Dorset would have, to every 20,000 inhabitants, 3200 of both sexes between 20 and 30 years of age, Monmouth would have 4000, and Middlesex rather more. On the other hand, the North Riding of York would furnish 3400 above 50; while the proportion of that age in Lancashire to the same numbers would not amount to 2200.

Column 11 shows the state of inhabited house-accommodation throughout England, a matter of no slight influence on the comfort, health, and habits of the population, ranging as it does from 2080 down to only 1100 houses to 10,000 inhabitants.

As we are now 'approaching the column which furnishes our account of the actual decennial increase of the population and its local distribution, we have thought it right to precede it by a tabular view, in columns 12, 13, and 14, of the number of persons born out of the. several counties, in order to exhibit correctly the large influence which immigration has upon the account of the actual increase furnished in column 15.

To this we have added, in column 16, from the Registrar-General's Report for 1841, a statement of what would apparently have been the increase, supposing it had been influenced merely by natural causes, viz., by the excess of births over deaths. It will be seen, by comparing these two columns, which are placed side by side, that in counties in which the greatest apparent increase has taken place, according to our return, the real increase from the natural causes to which we have alluded has been very little above that for all England; while in other counties, in which the actual numbers have remained very nearly stationary for 10 years, the births have, in each year, far exceeded the deaths, and the surplus population has been apparently drained off to other localities by immigration.

It will not fail to be remarked, that the result of this comparison for all England is, that while the ascertained increase is nearly 14½ per cent., the natural increase at the present rate would appear to be not quite 10 per cent, in ten years. As this difference can, of course, in no way be accounted for by immigration from county to county, there appear to be only three modes of resolving the difficulty, each of which, or all combined in various degrees, may be adopted for that purpose. 1st. The immigration into England from Ireland and Scotland may be greater than the emigration from England to the colonies. In support of this it may be remarked, that, the ascertained increase for Scotland is much less than that for England; and that this is still more the case with the Returns for Ireland, although there is no reason to suppose that the natural increase is in the same ratio less, &emdash; a point upon which no certain decision can be formed for want of a civil registry of births, deaths, and marriages in those parts of the United Kingdom similar to that in force for England and Wales. 2nd. The difference shown by the result of this table may be caused by the registry of births being, more defective than that of deaths. Many reasons may be suggested why this should be the case,¿¿the most obvious being that of illegitimate births, where numerous motives concur for avoiding registration if possible, while the registrar is less likely to be able to detect the omission. Indeed it is so well known that the registry of births was very greatly deficient in 1838, that on this account that year has not been brought into calculation in this table, as far as regards the births. The third reason that may be assigned why the excess of births over deaths, as shown in the last four years, should not, when spread over 10 years, furnish the increase exhibited by the Census Returns, is, that the increase might have gone on at a greater rate during the former than it did in the latter portion of the decennial period. There is no doubt that the period immediately preceding that at which the Census was taken, was one of considerable depression in almost every branch of industry, and that the distress thereby engendered may have unduly increased the mortality, and therefore lowered the rate of natural increase, cannot be denied.

Columns 17, 18, and 19, furnish for both sexes an account of the comparative prevalence of early marriages for every county of England, and will perhaps cause some surprise from its not exhibiting that excess of imprudence upon this point, in the busy seats of commercial activity, that might have been expected. Indeed, with one or two exceptions, the agricultural counties take the lead in this particular.

Columns 20, 21, and 22, while they profess to give merely the number of persons of both sexes who signed the marriage register with marks, may be considered to present a fair criterion of the state of education in every county, of England, inasmuch as those signing the marriage register would embrace all ranks and classes from the age at which education (at least elementary education) is generally completed.

Columns 23 and 24 are intended to illustrate, the statistics of infant mortality in different localities. A mere account of the proportionate number of infant deaths to the total population must necessarily be deceptive and lead to incorrect conclusions, if made a test of the comparative prevalence or extent of infant mortality¿¿inasmuch as where there are more infants born to the total population, even supposing the rate of infant mortality were equal, there must necessarily be also more infant deaths. A mere statement of the total number of deaths must also be deceptive as an index of the general mortality, if no reference be made to the excess of infant mortality. These two columns are intended to test the extent of both these influences, and to guard against either of these errors. The former contrasts the total number of registered infant deaths within a year, with the births registered within the same period. The second shows the proportion which the infant deaths bear to the general mortality.

The next three columns (25, 26, and 27) show the same facts as are exhibited in 2, 3, and 4, but in a different form, and it was considered convenient to append them here for the sake of more easy comparison with the columns immediately preceding them.

We have throughout this table given the results in proportions and per centages, and not in absolute numbers, because the limits of the counties referred to in the Census Returns and in the Registration Abstracts are not identical. This want of identity will not however be of so great importance where comparative proportions merely are noticed. Still it is evident, that as we often find neighbouring counties varying very much in the mortality attributable to each, the transfer of large numbers from one to another must to a certain degree affect these variances.

Lastly, in columns 28 and 29 are given proportional tables of the two great classes of occupations, viz., Agricultural, and Commercial (or Trade and Manufactures). In the former are included all farmers, graziers, nurserymen, &c., together with the whole number of persons returned as agricultural labourers; in the latter, all shopkeepers and manufacturers, with those working under them; while from both classes are excluded those returned as domestic servants or general labourers, together with all professional persons. It will be seen, that for all England trade and manufacture includes rather more than double the numbers included under the head of agriculture. The agricultural class forms not quite 8 per cent, of the whole population, while trade and manufacture employ 16¿¿ per cent. The proportions of course vary very much in the different counties; and it may be a curious study to view these variations in connexion with the facts exhibited by the preceding columns, in each of which the effects of those variations may be more or less traced. The greatest difference occurs in Lancashire and Middlesex, in which the manufacturing and trading column includes respectively 28 and 20 per cent, of the whole population, and the agricultural only 3 and 1 per cent, respectively. The difference between the two classes is least in the counties of' Bedford, Dorset, Hertford, Norfolk, Northampton, Salop, and Southampton, in all of which the division is very nearly equal. The only counties in which the percentage engaged in agriculture greatly exceeds that employed in trade and commerce, are the counties of Essex, Hereford, Huntingdon, Lincoln, and Rutland; and in none of these does the difference amount to 6¿¿ per cent.; while the excess in the columns of trade and manufactures ranges from 10 per cent, up to 25 per cent, in the counties of Chester, Derby, Lancaster, Leicester, Middlesex, Nottingham, Stafford, Warwick, and the West Riding of York.

The altered proportion which the agricultural bears to the commercial classes for Great Britain generally, will at first perhaps excite surprise. The proportions which the agricultural, the commercial, and the miscellaneous classes bore to each other, were, in

  Agricultural Commercial Miscellaneous
1811 35 44 21
1821 33 46 21
1831 28 42 30
while they were respectively in
1841 22 46 32

It should be noticed that these comparative statements refer in the three first decennial periods to families, but upon the present occasion to individuals. The latter mode gives a more accurate view of the amount of employment afforded in each division of labour; but inasmuch as there are rather more of the younger branches of a family employed in trade and manufactures than in agriculture, it may have slightly augmented the difference here exhibited. The other facts shown by these returns are however so much in accordance with these results as to confirm their accuracy. The increase of the population generally in the agricultural counties is very small, while in the. Manufacturing and mining seats of industry it far exceeds that of England generally.

It is also obvious, that while the natural limits of the extent of land in cultivation must restrict the numbers returned as cultivating it, the unlimited nature of the supplies afforded of the produce of other countries must make the extent of demand the only measure of the number of hands that may be employed commercially in converting the raw material into the articles required for clothing or luxury, and in disposing of them, when converted, among home and foreign customers. So also the extent of surface is no test of the depth to which the labours of the enterprising miner may be directed; and it is a curious fact that in some counties there are more labourers employed in bringing up and rendering available the hidden treasures concealed below, than can be profitably employed in cultivating the surface.2

The total number of agricultural labourers in Great Britain, of both sexes, amounts (as will be seen in the Classification) to 1,138,563, being the largest number returned under any one head, except domestic servants, who amount to 1,165,233.3 It is a curious fact, that the total number of both sexes included under these two heads is, in localities varying much as to other circumstances, pretty nearly the same. It must be matter for congratulation that so large a number of females as 908,825 should be comprehended in a class in which habits of steady industry, of economy, and of attention to the maintenance of good character are so necessary as that of domestic service. Of tradesmen and handicraftsmen, by far the largest number are included under the head of boot and shoemakers, amounting in the whole to 214,780 or nearly one-third more than the butchers, bakers, buttermen, milkmen, grocers, and greengrocers put together.

1 It may be worth noticing that it is in the maritime counties that we find the least comparative mortality, the North Riding of "Yorkshire showing in every 10,000 inhabitants only 192 deaths; Kent 202; Sussex 183; Cornwall 180; Devon 179; Southampton 189; the average of England being 221. May it not be inferred from this that the comparatively large exposure to sea-air of this island may have contributed with other causes to lower its average rate of mortality as compared with other countries.

2 In the county of Durham, the number of miners is nearly double that of the labourers employed in the cultivation of the surface.

3 We have reason to believe that, in some instances, servants kept in farm-houses, and employed generally about the premises, have been returned as domestic servants, whereas in 1831 such persons were included as agricultural labourers. Our directions were very precise on this point, as all farm-servants were to be returned as agricultural labourers; still, we believe, that a want of proper attention to this direction has, in the agricultural counties, increased the return of domestic servants and diminished that of agricultural labourers. The cause here alluded to will account for there being on the face of the returns a slight decrease in the number of persons engaged in agriculture as compared with 1831, whereas we believe the fact to be (after making due allowance for the circumstance above stated) that there has been a small increase.

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