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Adolfus, Guelders' last own Duke, bereft
Of sepulture, and naked, on the floor
Of the Cathedral; where, six days, or more,
He rested, rotting.   What remain'd indeed,
After the rats had had their daily feed,
Of the great Duke, some unknown hand, 'tis said,
In the town cesspool, last, deposited.


ON Sunday, the seventh of April, all the
people of Great Britain are to be counted; and
as much knowledge about us all as can be asked
for with a hope of getting it, will be put in the
power of men who take thought for the condition
of the nation. Every ten years there is
such a numbering, and there is effort to make
each, as to the facts it yields, more useful to the
public than the one before it. Conscientious
exactness in making the returns, is, in this
matter, the duty that every one owes to his
neighbours. The census tells us how many
mouths we have to feed, partly tells what we
can provide for them, makes known what we all
live by, and helps to a knowledge of what must
be done by the State to make it easy for us all to

More than two thousand years ago, Rome had
two magistrates called censors, whose chief duty
was to take an estimatein Latin, Censusof
the goods of the citizens, and to impose upon
each, taxes proportioned to his wealth. They had
also authority to "censure" vice and immorality,
and to expel an offender against public morals,
even from the Senate. The first censors were
created two thousand three hundred years ago,
when the Senate of Rome observed that the
consuls were too busy with foreign war to attend
to home politics, and the high responsibility of
the office then created caused it to be reserved
for men who had passed through the highest
grades of magistracy. It was thought overbold
in Crassus to aspire to be censor when he had
not yet been either consul or prætor. The
Roman census, or estimate of population, had
regard only to taxation and conscription for the
service of the armies. It indicated the number
and the respective stations of all free persons,
their positions as husbands or wives, fathers or
mothers, sons or daughters. The freemen made
returns of slaves, cattle, and other property. It
need not be said that for the keeping of such
a register, the censor had under him an office
full of clerks. The Roman had to present
himself; he was not visited at his own door and
furnished with a census paper to fill up and leave
till called for. Every five years the taxable
Roman, however poor, omitted the duty of
presenting a return of himself, his household, and
goods, at the peril of a higher penalty than any
now enforced in Europe: namely, the confiscation
of himself to slavery. His goods were
sold, and he was sold as the possession of the

Every five years, when the numbering was
done, there was solemn purification, which is, in
Latin, lustrum; and so lustrum came to mean a
period of five years, as it does at this day even
in English. The registers of the population,
when complete, were deposited in the Temple of
the Nymphs.

No speculative use was made of the statistics
obtained in a Roman census. They meant
money and men, but nothing more, and the
defining of property qualification. Men spoke of
the senatorial, and there was the equestrian,
census; in later times, census dominicate and
census duplicate were names of feudal taxes,
and this word "cense," used by old English
writers, has become the "cess" of modern rate-

Long before England had a census in the
modern sense, the despotisms of the Continent,
for aid to their centralised administration and
police, had many occasional numberings of
districts, provinces, and realms. Of the population
of Great Britain there was only a very
rough guess to be made; and, indeed, of the
population of any part of Europe before the
year eighteen hundred, nothing very accurate
was known.

It was in the first year of the present century
that the first effort was made to take a census
of the people of Great Britain. Ireland was not
included in that census of eighteen hundred and
one. Helped by the zeal of Mr. Rickman, the
assistant clerk of the House of Commons, this
census proved to be no vain attempt to classify
the people roughly as well as to count heads.
There was a division into, first, persons chiefly
employed in agriculture; secondly, persons
chiefly employed in trade; thirdly, persons
employed in neither way. But nobody knew
clearly, how to class the women, children, and
servants; and when in the two next censuses
returns of the occupation of the head of each
family was asked for, it was in very many
instances a question as to who was to be
considered the head of this family or that. Our
second census, that of eighteen hundred and
eleven, made an unsuccessful attempt to include
Ireland in the returns. The third census, in
'twenty-one, obtained the population of
Ireland; ten years later, came the fourth census,
that of 'thirty-one, revised in Ireland three years
later, when it was made the basis of a system of
national education. In the census of 'forty-one,
the use of the Irish constabulary force as a staff
of enumeratorsand, in 'fifty-one, the
additional help of an ordnance survey then nearly
completebrought the statistics of Ireland into
better order. In these two censuses, important
details of the state of Irish agriculture
were secured.

The last of the censuses, that of the year
'fifty-one, was taken on the thirty-first of
March: the return being of the population as
it lay on the preceding night, with note of the
amount and distribution of the church and
chapel attendance on the morning of Sunday the

There is no such thing as exact truth to be
got by the most carefully devised census. Many
returns will be erroneous through stupidity,