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THE NEW FEDERALIST January 16, 1995 Page 8

American Almanac

How the Malthusians Depopulated Ireland


by Paul Gallagher

Prints and Photographs Division/Library of Congress

The second William Petty, Earl of Shelburne, whose agent Thomas Malthus
popularized the idea that the earth has a finite "carrying capacity." The first
William Petty pioneered population studies as a cover for British imperial
policies in the seventeenth century.

The worst evils against human dignity and national sovereignty cover
themselves as "population policies" and "expert population studies." Such
"population studies," by bodies like the US National Security Council, have

justified mass sterilizations, forced abortions, and even wars against Third
World nations. The UN's ongoing series of world government conferences
including the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development, wanted to reduce the human population by half in 100 years.
Where did this diabolical "field of expertise" come from?
Encyclopedias and histories of the so-called "science of demography," agree
that it was primarily the invention of Sir William Petty (1622-1687). The
Galton Laboratory in London, world center since the 1920s of the notorious
eugenics movementfor "scientific improvement of populations"
emphatically asserted in 1931 published lectures, that Petty founded
"population studies" along with his friends Sir John Graunt, lord mayor of
London, and Sir Edmund Halley. This was at the time of the chartering of
the British Royal Society, of which all three were charter members. Its
founding was based on a plan by Petty, and it immediately became the
European center of "population statistics" from the 1660s onward.
In fact, Sir William Petty's and the Royal Society's founding of this "science
of population statistics" rested on a "study" both evil and completely unscientific: genocide and "ethnic cleansing" against the Irish people, in which
Petty was instrumentalthe founding genocide of the British Empire, so to
speak. This genocide over the years from 1649 into the 1690s, which Petty
himself measured and made a subject of his "statistical tracts," was also the
pretext for his invention of an obscene eugenics theory.
The Royal Society, besides promoting Sir Isaac Newton against Gottfried
Leibniz, also filled up with "population statisticians" in its first decades,
many of them also Crown officials for collection of taxes or duties, per head
or by commodity. Many were trying to apply Newton's ersatz calculus (his
"fluxions") to calculate various population groups' life expectancies for the
life insurance pools of London. Royal Society members promoted Sir
William Petty's Treatise of Taxes and Contributions as "the true foundation
of economic theory."
But though Petty was obsessed with the collection of the maximum
regressive tax, and with calculating insurance annuities, his clear overall
"scientific purpose" was British imperial expansion: the "cleansing" of
Ireland; its repopulation by Englishmen of "superior breed"; the plantation
of British slave colonies in the West Indies; keeping the American colonies

sparsely populated; above all, the defeat of Louis XIV and Colbert's France
by an alliance of Britain and Holland. In Ireland, a Catholic people allied to
France, the British imperialists lashed out against a defenseless population,
essentially as a surrogate for their adversaries in France and the
Vatican.From these purposes came what a Galton Laboratory eugenics
lecturer in 1931 called "the first steps to a population science" by Sir
William Petty. This began in the 1650s as Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell's
armies "cleansed" Ireland, for English repopulation.

Prints and Photographs Division/Library of Congress

Queen Elizabeth I of England, whose chief ministers began the mass


expropriation of Irish lands.

The Roots of Malthus


The "theory of overpopulation" had been spread into England in the previous
century from Veniceby networks of Elizabeth I's most powerful minister,
Sir Francis Walsingham, an agent of Venetian finance. In the 1580s, suddenly, as if from many sides, came the "idea" that all the Irish should be
completely exterminated to allow the "excess English population" lebensraum. Colonies in the Americas were a secondary feature of this concept of
such hardcore "Malthusians" as Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Edmund Spenser,
and Sir Francis Walsingham.

Later, in the eighteenth century, the Venetian monk Giammaria Ortes (17131790) invented the dogma that the Earth had a fixed "carrying capacity" for
human beings, because food production per person could not be increased.
This fraud"Malthusianism"was copied from Ortes by Thomas Malthus
and by many other agents of Sir William Petty's great-grandson (also named
William Petty), the second Earl of Shelburne (1737-1805), English Prime
Minister from 1782 to 1783 under George III. However, Malthus, in his
correspondence, said that the primary early source upon whom he relied was
the earlier William Petty.
Sir William Petty, in the 1670s, claimed to have based his population
doctrines on actual statistics and to be the Newton of population "science":
"To make no intellectual arguments, but to rely upon measure; and to use
only arguments of sense." Petty was trained in the Paris salon of another
Venetian agent of influence, the mathematician Abb Mersenne (15881648). Petty's numerous collaborators, and later imitators, in the British
Royal Society attempted to get birth and death records from many cities and
parishes in Europe to support the following theory of carrying capacity
(given by Petty's admirer Sir John Derham in 1708 lectures to the Royal
Society, which they published in 1713):
The whole surface of our globe can afford room and support only to
such a number of all sorts of creatures, and by their doubling, trebling or any other multiplication of their kind, they must starve or
devour one another. The world is now well-peopled . . . neither too
full nor too empty and if too many the length of life will be reduced. . . . The balance is nearly even, and life and death keep an
equal pace. If here births somewhat exceed deaths, this but fills up
for losses of plagues and wars elsewhere. We may say that sometimes these extraordinary expenses of mankind [plague and war]
may be, not only a just punishment of the sins of men, but also a
wise means to keep the balance of mankind even.
Petty and Ireland
Speaking of "plagues and war elsewhere," let us consider what was happening at the time on Ireland's portion of "the whole surface of our globe."
William Petty, a wealthy merchant and sometime surgeon, accompanied
Oliver Cromwell's army to Ireland on its second invasion in 1652, with the

task of conducting a survey of lands which had been and were to be confiscated by force from their Irish owners.

Prints and Photographs Division/Library of Congress

England's Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell. His parliament passed an Act of


Settlement to forcibly evict the entire Irish population from Ireland's mostsettled counties.

By conservative estimates, 20,000 Irish subjects were slaughtered by


Cromwell's armies directly in massacres of three cities; 40,000 Irishmen
("Catholic soldiers") were exiled to Spain or France; 10-20,000 young
Irishmen and women were shipped as slaves to the recently conquered
sugar-slave colonies of Jamaica and Barbados. Parliament in London then
passed an Act of Settlement to forcibly evict the entire Irish population from
the most-settled central and southern counties, over the Shannon River "to
Hell or Connacht," as the saying arose. Later, this was repeated with the
Ulster counties, resettled with Scottish settlers.

Without noting that Petty was on the scene, surveying these emptied lands,
one historian says that "Sir William Petty, the most reliable contemporary
population expert, estimated that . . . more than half the population of Ireland
died, mostly of starvation or disease." In fact, both Petty's calculation of the
total Irish population before 1650, 1,400,000, and his estimate of the deaths
from this genocidal policy, were unreliable, like most of Petty's population
statistics. But his survey "caused all the subsequent stages in the completion
of the settlement of Ireland to be practically entrusted to his supervision. . . .
[He] was the practical head of the committees which successively distributed
the lands. . . . an almost unlimited rapacity distinguished him."
Ireland's population density fell to 7-8 persons per kilometer squared. The
Irish historian John Prendergast wrote: "The bodies of many wandering
orphans whose fathers had embarked for Spain and whose mothers had died
of famine, were preyed upon by wolves. In the years 1652 and 1653 a man
might travel twenty or thirty miles and not see a living creature."
William Petty returned from his first stay in Ireland with two things. He had
produced "The Down Survey of Irish Lands," the first British imperial
survey of an entire conquered nation. For this survey, Petty was given great
credit as a pioneer by the Royal Society and by later "scholarship." But in
the 1650s, Petty was charged with fraud in the survey, by several members
of Parliamentillustrating that this survey involved fortunes for speculators
and creditors of the Cromwell government. Thus, Petty's second triumph:
by 1658, when Cromwell died, Petty owned so much Irish land that he
essentially owned county Kerry.
In Ireland as a whole, between 1580 and 1708 the incredible total of 80
percent of all arable Irish land was forcibly confiscated by English or
Scottish landlords12 million out of 15 million acres. By the early 1800s,
4 million acres, or 25 percent of the arable land, was unused for any purpose
a virtual "wildlife preserve," although its forests had been cut down by the
British landlords!
Shortly after the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1660, Charles II
appointed the now Sir William Petty surveyor-general of Ireland. Petty
made recommendations on how to raise the largest tax and greatest military
support for the British Crown from the devastated nation, and how to "repeople" it or "replant" it with English. All these were published in the
Treatise of Taxes and Contributions (1671), and praised as the foundationstone of economic theory by its Royal Society admirers. Its tax and military

Prints and Photographs Division/Library of Congress

Starving Irish farmers demand bread during the Potato Famine of the 1840s,
brought on by more than a century of the looting policies perfected by Petty.

recommendations, and in part the population policy linked to them, became


British Crown policy over the period through the 1688 installation of the
House of Orange on the British throne.
Petty proposed: (1) continuous immigration and "replanting" of English
gentlemen in Ireland "until it should have 5 million inhabitants," with further
emigration to America deemed undesirable (except for slave-owning cadre
required in Jamaica and Barbados and Carolina) while Ireland was being
"repeopled"; (2) a new poll-tax in corn and flax throughout Ireland; (3) a
poll-tax in herring on all Scots, and in linen on all English and Welsh; and
(4) each nation be required to raise a militia.
'A Perfect Poll-Money'
Petty's poll-tax proposals reflected his obsessive claimsrepeated in dozens
of his "statistical tracts"that he could use his population statistics (inaccurate as they usually were) to enable the collection of a maximum tax revenue
for the Crown at minimum cost. His policy, which, by the end of that century, was becoming British policy, was to eliminate the duties on trade and

monopolies which the Tudor kings had relied uponto eliminate any tax
which inconvenienced the East and West India Companies and replace
them with regressive poll-taxes (head taxes) which would raise more money
for British military power. Petty's "Proposal for a Perfect Poll-Money"
(Statistical Tract No. 54), for example, was to be supported by "the five
books of statistics of the people and lands," and was to be paid by all, even
children under seven; such that the Crown could collect the tax "at half the
charge, and be ready to enlarge the same, if necessary." Petty's three major
"population studies"Political Arithmetick, the Treatise on Taxes and The
Anatomy of Irelandwere all ordered to be published again by King
William of Orange in 1690 and 1691, after Petty's death.
Petty claimed that rent on land, plus the surplus produced by agricultural
workers over their own incomes or wages, constituted the sum of national
wealth, except for that earned in international trade. He claimed that he
could calculate populations from birth, death, and tax records; use these
population figures plus crude "value-added" and interest-on-land calculations to compute the average value (in pounds-Sterling) of each person; and
therefrom compute "perfect" poll-taxes. His rule was that "it must be agreed
that the soundest basis for a tax is the common and more numerous kind of
the people."
Petty's poll-tax in corn and flax had the following effect on the remaining
Irish population, according to Radcliffe Salamon's well-known book, The
History and Social Influence of the Potato. Ireland's shipping and trade with
France and Spain, developed in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, had been wiped out; its mines and iron works closed or destroyed;
its previously widespread cattle-raising had been devastated; and by 1690,
the Penal Laws officially prohibited cattle-raising and Catholic priests.
Thus, the poll-tax in corn and flax took away the only remaining agroindustrial activity, aside fromthe potato. Salamon repeats Petty's estimate
that 50 percent of the Irish died in the Cromwellian Settlement. He quotes
Petty's Anatomy of Ireland: "Their food is bread and potatoes from August
till May; they seldom eat beef, even having killed a cow they cannot
preserve it for the lack of salt." And he quotes another English gentleman
who arrived with Cromwell, Sir Warham St. Leger: "This country [County
Cork] is so ruined, as it has become well near unpeopled." Industrial
workers left the towns and went back to the villages, but the total value of
houses dropped by 80 percent in the 1650s, and secure tenure in land was
barred for Catholics. Again Petty: "And why should they desire to fare

better, when they are taught that this way of living is more like the Patriarchs
and Saints? . . . And why should they breed more Cattel, since 'tis Penal to
import them into England?"
Salamon, writing his book in the 1950s, still calls Sir William Petty "the
foremost European expert on population of the time."
'Replantation'
Yet Petty thought that the population of England and Wales might be falling.
Indeed, the whole host of British Royal Society "population experts," from
Petty, Graunt, and Halley in 1670 until Dr. Richard Price, who wrote on
population matters for the Second Earl of Shelburne in the 1770s and 1780s,
were unable to determine whether the population of England and Wales was
increasing or decreasing. And the Crown and Royal Society never took a
census until 1801, long after other European nations, and after the new
American Constitution had mandated a decennial census.
Only in Britain, in the absence of real census figures, could "population
science" really thrive.
This "scientific" tradition is continued by the UN Fund for Population
Activities today. The UNFPA, and all its dependencies, have insisted for the
past five years that the world's population was growing by 93 million souls
per year, and the rate of growth was rising, until US Bureau of Census
figures forced them to acknowledge the truthit's only 80 million per year,
and the rate of growth is falling rapidly.
The second basis, then, of Petty's "foundation of scientific population
studies" was developed in his Statistical Tracts No. 91-95: "Concerning
Marriages"; "Marriages"; "California Marriages"; "Further on the Same";
and "On Doubling the People"the English people.1 These all date from
about 1670, when Petty was surveyor-general of Ireland. Here he discovered that "God's first command is to increase and multiply." Ireland, the
West Indian slave colonies, and Scotland must have Englishmen for masters
though "the colonies in America are only a burden."
Therefore, Petty proposed replacing sanctified marriage with a system of
six-month "covenants for conception," or "liberty for short marriages, to
The Petty Papers: Some Unpublished Writings of Sir William Petty, edited by Henry
William Edmund Petty-FitzMaurice, Marquess of Lansdowne, London: Constable, 1927.
1

remain in effect until such time as Ireland, as well as England, shall have 5
millions of people"Scotland was to have 3 million. These three targets
were the objectives for the increase of the English people and their "replantation" of what was formerly Ireland and Scotland, as well as their "sufficient plantation" of the West Indies and Carolina.
The six-month covenants could be renewed as they proved fertile, but if not
renewed, any resulting children could be brought up with the aid ofa
universal tax on all men 18 to 60 and all women 15 to 45, also to support
"lying-in places" for child-birth.
And not just any "Englishmen." Petty proposed that special marriageshe
called them "California Marriages" to pretend that the precedent already
existed in Spanish Americashould bring together the wealthiest and most
beautiful women with the "heroes" among English men, in order to breed
large numbers of superior children at the fastest rate. Each "Great Rich
Woman" was to be married to five such "heroes," who needed not necessarily be as wealthy. Each "Great Man" would get four beautiful wives. Then
follows a "calculus" of potential combinations of more than one such
marriage to allow cross-breeding among the assigned husbands and wives
with a home for each potential pair. This eugenical system of concubinage
is summed up in "On Doubling the People." This was a calculation (Petty
later disowned it) of the increased wealth in pounds-Sterling to come from
doubling the English population and filling Ireland, etc., with the arithmetic
assumption of absolutely no change in technology of agriculture or manufactures.
It is clear from this "foundation" what Sir John Derham meant in his 1708
Royal Society lectures: If God caused one people to increase for a time, this
was how His Providence supplied some other place which was empty
through plague or war, the total remaining a constant and even pace of birth
and death.
This was and is the true support of the doctrine of a fixed carrying capacity
of the Earth for human beings.
'Malthusianism'
Sir William Petty's third "foundation of population science" anticipated the
Venetian monk Giammaria Ortes and the "Malthusians"and showed the
Venetian influence on the entire British Royal Society at its founding. In
Political Arithmetick, Petty's first chapter heading stated that "small country

and few people, by its situation, trade and policy, may be equivalent or
greater in wealth and strength, to a far greater People and Territory." A century later, the target of the "population theorists" of the Second Earl of
Shelburne, including Malthus, was the United States of America"the land
where population doubled geometrically every 25 years." The target of Sir
William Petty was France. He aimed to prove that England and Holland
together were superior to Colbert's France, whose 25 million population was
more than twice their combined total population.
Again, Petty completely excluded consideration of technological change and
progress. He insisted that Holland's strength and progress "comes completely without such Angelical Wits and Judgements as some attribute to the
Hollanders." He wrote that a nation's strength "comes upon account of
natural and intrinsic advantages only."
He never mentioned, in Political Arithmetick, Holland's very high population
density, nor its formerly swampy and poor soil. Rather, Petty said that only
"better soil" made for more people on the same acreage, who are therefore
cheaper to defend, to tax, to minister to, and to establish courts overthe
functions of government! Navigable waterways were, he said, a "natural
endowment of Holland and somewhat of England."
These were all Malthus arguments 130 years later.
As to the policy for those "small nations with intrinsic advantages," Petty
declared that the highest objective of a nation was to dominate world
shipping trade and the shares in the East and West India Companies.
It was a dogma of Pettyand became dogma of the Royal Society line of
"population studies" ever sincethat urbanization was an evil and that
growth of cities led to population collapse, "devouring" catastrophes. Petty
stated that urbanization raised wages of farm labor and therefore reduced
rent and national wealth; and that it put more manufacturing workers to the
same capital stock, reducing their efficiency (Malthus's theory of marginal
utility). So, with absolutely no technological change, Pettylike the Roman
Emperor Diocletian, whose reforms froze all technological progresssought
"a par between lands and hands" with just enough left for the army, navy,
and priesthood. This was his "positive population policy."

"One Sole Disease"


In the 1740s, Johann Sssmilch, a Prussian follower of Gottfried Wilhelm
Leibniz, appears to have founded the actual science of demographics. He
estimated the world population, the "doubling rate" of Europe's population
since the Golden Renaissance, and made an extraordinary forecast that the
human species would in the future reach 7 billion people. By no accident,
Sssmilch started his own work to criticize, and ultimately to "disprove
Petty," Derham, and the Royal Society line of "population scientists."
But with publication of Giammaria Ortes's 1790 On Population and
Malthus's 1798 Essay on Population, the work of Sssmilch and other
German Leibnizians "disappeared," eventually becoming almost unknown.
The industrial progress of nations, finally even including Ireland, has
completely disproven Petty, the Royal Society, and Malthus. But their evil
"population science" still proliferates, and still seeks to dictate depopulation
to the "Irelands" of Asia, Africa, and Ibero-America.

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