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20,000; that is, all New England, 75,000 souls; New York, not less than 20,000; New Jersey, half as many; Pennsylvania and Delaware, perhaps 12,000; Maryland, 25,000; Virginia, 50,000, or more; and the two Carolinas, which then included the soil of Georgia, probably not less than 8,000 souls."
In 1700, " at the close of the first hundred years after the earliest permanent English settlement in America, and when all the original States except Georgia had been founded,” as stated by Mr. De Bow, (a) "the whole population in the country was estimated at only 262,000,” of which each colony was said to contain the following numbers: Massachusetts.. 70,000 | Pennsylvania
20,000 Connecticut.. 30,000 Maryland ..
25,000 Rhode Island 10,000 Virginia
40,000 New Hampshire.. 10,000 | North Carolina
5,000 New York 30,000 South Carolina
7,000 New Jersey
15, 000 From 1700 to 1750, two estimates are given by Mr. Dexter, (b) as follows: “A round half million appears to have been reached about 1721, with the middle colonies showing again the largest percentage of growth, and New England the least. A million followed in twentytwo years more, or 1743, this figure being doubled in turn in twentyfour years later, or in 1767, the latter reduplication being delayed a little, doubtless by the effect of intervening wars."
Other estimates of the population in the middle of the century, derived from various data, differ more or less as to the population of the several colonies, but purport to show an aggregate of about 1,000,000 (presumably white persons) in the then 13 colonies.
This estimate is substantially confirmed by Mr. Bancroft, who states that, in 1754, “the 13 American colonies, of which the union was projected, contained, at that day, about 1,165,000 white inhabitants and 263,000 negroes; in all, 1,428,000 souls. The board of trade reckoned a few thousand more, and revisers of their judgment less." (c) The population of each colony in 1754, according to Mr. Bancroft's estimate, was approximately as follows:
a De Bow's Industrial Resources, III, 404.
In connection with the foregoing estimate of the probable population, white and colored, of the several colonies, which, as stated in a footnote, “rests on the consideration of many details and opinions of that day, private journals and letters, reports to the board of trade, and official papers of the provincial government,” Mr. Bancroft cites estimates of the board of trade and individuals, and then says that “from many returns and computations the annexed table is deduced, as some approximation to exactness :”
He also gives the estimates, according to Chalmers, of the board of trade in 1714, on the accession of George I; in 1727, on that of George II, and in 1754, as follows:
For the intermediate period between 1770 and 1780 an estimated white population of 2,250,000 is given by Mr. De Bow, (a) who says: “In 1775, when Congress was desirous of apportioning the continental money among the States to be redeemed by them, the number of
population ascertained was 2,243,000, an increase of over 100 per cent in twenty-five years, despite of the troubles of the times, which could not but have checked immigration and promoted emigration. The estimated slave population of the South was then about 500,000, swelling the whole to 2,750,000."
The distribution of the white population in 1775 was as follows: New Hampshire... 102,000 | Delaware.
37,000 Massachusetts. 352, 000 Maryland
174, 000 Rhode Island 58,000 Virginia
300,000 Connecticut. 202, 000 North Carolina.
181,000 New York 238,000 South Carolina
93, 000 New Jersey 138,000 Georgia ...,
341,000 This estimate formed the basis of a table used in the convention of 1787, which framed the present Constitution of the United States, for
a De Bow's Industrial Resources, III, 404.
the purpose of determining provisionally the representation of each State in Congress pending an actual enumeration, (a) as follows: New Hampshire..
102,000 Massachusetts (6)
360,000 Rhode Island
202, 000 New York (6)
238,000 New Jersey ..
138, 000 Pennsylvania
360, 000 Delaware
37,000 Maryland, including three-fifths of 80,000 negroes.
218,000 Virginia, (b) including three-fifths of 280,000 negroes
420,000 North Carolina, (b) including three-fifths of 60,000 negroes.
200,000 South Carolina, including three-fifths of 80,000 negroes.
150,000 Georgia, including three-fifths of 20,000 negroes.
2,573, 000 Add for negroes omitted ...
208,000 Total estimated population.....
2,781, 000 This table included, for purposes of apportioning representation, all the whites in the various colonies and three-fifths of the negroes in Maryland, Virginia, the two Carolinas, and Georgia, or 2,573,000 in all; but by adding to this total 208,000 negroes omitted, a total estimated population is secured of 2,781,000.
It is not claimed, of course, that these statements of population were based in any case upon a systematic canvass of the entire body of the people, in the sense of an actual enumeration, as now understood, because all the conditions prevailing at that time precluded the taking of an accurate census. These estimates are chiefly valuable, therefore, because they afford the only means of determining, approximately at least, the population of the colonies at various periods prior to the adoption of the Constitution.
The causes which led to the establishment, in 1790, of the regular periodical enumeration or census had their origin in the desire of the colonists to find some equitable plan for the distribution of the burdens of the war, which proved to be one of the most perplexing questions which entered into the deliberations of the Continental Congress. These causes are quite fully considered in the admirable report on the ninth census (c) made by General Garfield January 18, 1870, and need not be repeated here at length. It is sufficient for the purposes of this article to trace briefly the origin of the principle which found final
a Harper's First Century of the Republic, chap. vii.
b Massachusetts, it will be remembered, then comprised the territory which in 1820 became the State of Maine; New York that which in 1791 became the State of Vermont; Virginia that which in 1792 became the State of Kentucky; North Carolina that which in 1796 became the State of Tennessee.
cHouse Reports, Forty-first Congress, second session, Vol. I, No. 3.
expression in the constitutional provision for the apportionment of Representatives and direct taxes.
The general proposition to use the number of inhabitants as the basis of apportionment for certain purposes was canvassed as early as 1775, when it was proposed to apportion the bills of credit levied to meet the expenses of the war, for the redemption of which the thirteen colonies were pledged, according to the number of inhabitants of all ages, including negroes and mulattoes. The results of this provision were not uniform, and the attempts to conform to it only demonstrated the necessity of providing a central directing authority, if anything like an accurate enumeration was to be had. In seeking to secure this provision of authority in the proposed Articles of Confederation, the basis of apportionment according to population was maintained in the original draft, but the articles as finally agreed upon by Congress provided instead that the charges of war and other expenses incurred for the common defense and general welfare should be defrayed out of a common treasury, to be supplied by the several States in proportion to the value of all land within each State, and that requisitions for the quota of land forces to be furnished by each State should be made in proportion to the number of its white inhabitants.
Without considering the efficacy of these provisions for accomplishing the results intended, it is sufficient to state that in 1783 an attempt was made to amend the articles so that, in lieu of the apportionment according to the valuation of land, the burden of the war and other expenses incurred for the common defense and general welfare should be borne by the several States “in proportion to the whole number of white and other free citizens and inhabitants of every age, sex, and condition, including those bound to servitude for a term of years, and three-tifths of all other persons not comprehended in the foregoing description, except Indians not paying taxes, in each State.” This proposed enumeration was to be made triennially and be transmitted to Congress in such manner as they should direct, but the amendment did not prevail, and the Articles of Confederation remained intact until superseded by the Constitution in 1787. It will be noticed, however, that the main features of the proposed amendment to the Articles of Confederation were afterwards embodied in the Constitution in the familiar clause prescribing the manner of apportioning Representatives and direct taxes, out of which came eventually the American census.
HISTORICAL REVIEW OF THE FEDERAL CENSUS.
THE FIRST CENSUS: 1790.
The constitutional requirement under which the Federal census is taken is contained in Article I, section 2, and provides that,
Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons. The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct.
This provision was embodied in the Constitution for political reasons wholly, and with no thought of providing for any systematic collection of statistical data beyond the political necessities of the Government, as above indicated. (a) It is true, nevertheless, that under this constitutional requirement the United States was the first country to provide for a regular periodical enumeration of its inhabitants; but in the modern sense of the term it can not truthfully be called a census, and, as a matter of fact, the word “ census” does not form a part of the organic act providing for the first enumeration, passed at the second session of the First Congress.
By this act, which was approved March 1, 1790, the marshals of the several judicial districts of the United States were required to cause the number of the inhabitants within their respective districts to be taken, omitting Indians not taxed, and distinguishing free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, from all others. This separation in itself was sufficient to meet all the constitutional requirements of the enumeration, but the act also required the marshals to distinguish the sex and color of free persons and free males of 16 years and upward from those under that age; in the latter case, undoubtedly, for the purpose of ascertaining the military and industrial strength of the country.
For the purposes of this enumeration, which was to commence on the first Monday in August, 1790, and close within nine calendar months thereafter, the marshals were empowered to appoint as many assistants within their respective districts as they deemed necessary, and to assign to each assistant a certain division, consisting of one or more counties, cities, towns, townships, hundreds, or parishes, or of a
a It was evidently contemplated by the framers of the Constitution that the twofold purpose of the enumeration would insure a reasonably accurate return of population on the part of the individual States, the temptation to exaggerate for purposes of representation in Congress being offset by the fact that, in such cases, the apportionment of direct taxes would be correspondingly increased. On this point the Federalist (No. LIV, p. 344) says:
In one respect, the establishment of a common measure for representation and taxation will have a very salutary effect. As the accuracy of the census to be obtained by the Congress will necessarily depend, in a considerable degree, on the disposition, if not on the cooperation, of the States, it is of great importance that the States should feel as little bias as possible to swell or to reduce the amount of their numbers. Were their share of representation alone to be governed by this rule, they would have an interest in exaggerating their inhabitants. Were the rule to decide their share of taxation alone, a contrary temptation would prevail. By extending the rule to both objects the States will have opposite interests, which will control and balance each other and produce the requisite impartiality.