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Mortality in early modern Scotland: the life expectancy of advocates

  • Rab Houston (a1)
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1 Houston, R. A., ‘The demographic regime, 1760–1830’, in Devine, T. M. and Mitchison, R. eds., A social history of modern Scotland, Vol. 1 (Edinburgh, 1988), 926Houston, R. A., The population history of Britain and Ireland, 1500–1750 (London, 1992).

2 Flinn, M. W. ed., Scottish population history from the 17th century to the 1930s (Cambridge, 1977), 4551.

3 Mitchison, R., ‘Webster revisited: a re-examination of the 1755 “census” of Scotland’, in Devine, T. M. ed., Improvement and enlightenment (Edinburgh, 1989), 71.

4 Donaldson, G., ‘The legal profession in Scottish society in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries’, Juridical Review (1976), 9.

5 Phillipson, N., ‘Lawyers, landowners, and the civic leadership of post-Union Scotland’, Juridical Review (1976), 104.For the parallel development of the writers to the signet, see A history of the Society of Writers to Her Majesty's Signet with a list of the members of the Society from 1594 to 1890 and an abstract of the minutes (Edinburgh, 1890).

6 Pinkerton, J. M. ed., The minute book of the Faculty of Advocates, Vol. I: 16611712 (Edinburgh, 1976), ix–xMurdoch, A., ‘The advocates, the law and the nation in early modern Scotland’, in Prest, W. ed., Lawyers in early modern Europe and America (London, 1981), 150.

7 Murdoch, , ‘Advocates’, 149.

8 Phillipson, N., ‘The social structure of the Faculty of Advocates in Scotland, 1661–1840’, in Harding, A. ed., Law-making and laiv-makers in British history (London, 1980), 148–9.

9 Grant, F. J. ed., The Faculty of Advocates in Scotland, 1532–1943 (Edinburgh, 1944).

10 Phillipson, , ‘Social structure’, 147.

11 Hatcher, J., ‘Mortality in the fifteenth century: some new evidence’, Economic History Review 39 (1986), 25.

12 Ibid., 29–31.

13 Pinkerton, , Minute book, xiiixiv.

14 This article uses a method adapted by Jim Oeppen from Turnbull, B. W., ‘The empirical distribution function with arbitrarily grouped, censored and truncated data’, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, series B 38 (1976), 290–5. This concerns estimations from incomplete observations. Such a method is necessary because advocates enter observation at different ages, meaning that the data will be truncated. If no allowance was made for truncation, changes in the age at entry would cause apparent but unreal changes in life expectancy. For example, some advocates will enter at 25, others at a much later age. In order to estimate the probability of surviving to a given age, say 65, the mortality of all advocates who lived for some years between, say, age 25 and 65 is used to impute the size of a ‘phantom cohort’ that entered at 25 which would be just big enough to ensure that one person survived to age 65. This is then used to complete the observation of a man who entered the Faculty at, say, 35 and so on for all those who did not enter at 25. The imputation method is based on internal consistency and results in a life table which is most consistent with the complete and ‘incomplete’ observations at every age.

15 Mitchison, , ‘Webster revisited’, 71.Mitchison's figure is for both sexes combined and male e0 and e30 will have been lower than this figure. See Coale, A. J. and Demeny, P., Regional model lfe tables (2nd edn, London, 1983).

16 Tyson, R. E., ‘Contrasting regimes; population growth in Ireland and Scotland during the eighteenth century’, in Houston, R. A. et al. eds., Conflict and identity in the social and economic history of Ireland and Scotland (Edinburgh, 1992). Dr Elspeth Graham, Department of Geography, University of St Andrews, confirms the picture of marked improvements in infant and child mortality in the second half of the eighteenth century while adult mortality improved only slightly – based on her Wellcome project on Fife parish registers during this period.

17 Wrigley, E. A. and Schofield, R. S., ‘English population history from family reconstitution; summary results, 1600–1799’, Population Studies 37 (1983), 177–9.

18 Phillipson, , ‘Social structure’, 150.

19 ibid., 151.

20 Murdoch, , ‘Advocates’, 151.

21 Donaldson, , ‘Legal profession’, 1516.

22 Edinburgh City Archives (hereafter ECA), Edinburgh charity workhouse minutes, Vol. 1, 5/11/1742.

23 Phillipson, , ‘Social structure’, 153.

24 Donaldson, , ‘Legal profession’, 11.

25 Phillipson, , ‘Lawyers’, 107.

26 Murdoch, , ‘Advocates’, 150.

27 Marshall, R., ‘Wetnursing in Scotland, 1500–1800’, Review of Scottish Culture 1(1984), 47–8.

28 Hollingsworth, T. H., ‘The demography of the British peerage’, Population Studies 18, 2(suppl.) (1964), 56, 68.

29 Perrenoud, A., ‘L'inégalité sociale devant Ia mort à Genève au XVIIe siècle’, Population (1975), 223.

30 Pinkerton, , Minute book, xiiPhillipson, , ‘Lawyers’, 101–2.

31 Perrenoud, , ‘L'inégalité sociale’, 239.

32 Galloway, P. R., ‘Differentials in demographic responses to annual price variations in pre-revolutionary France; a comparison of rich and poor areas of Rouen, 1681–1787European Journal of Population 2 (1986), 269305.

33 Schellekens, J., ‘Mortality and socio-economic status in two eighteenth-century Dutch villages’, Population Studies 43, (1989), 394–5.

34 Henry, L., Anciennes familles genevoises. Etude démographique: XVIe–XXe siècles (Paris, 1956). 156, 167–9, 182. The trend for the total population is different; see Note 35.

35 Ibid., 152. For comparison, e20 for the mass of Geneva's population was as follows; 32.9 years 1625–49, 34.6 years 1650–74, 36.4 years 1675–99, 36.0 years 1700–24, 39.3 years 1725–44, 39.3 years 1745–69, 39.6 years 1770–90 (A. Perrenoud, ‘La mortalité à Genève de 1625 à 1825’, Annales de demographic historique (1978), 223).

36 Zanetti, D. E., La demografia del patriziato milanese nei secolo XVII, XVIII, XIX(Pavia, 1972), 214.Zanetti has published an English abstract of his book as ‘The patriziato of Milan from the domination of Spain to the unification of Italy: an outline of the social and demographic history’, Social History 6 (1977), 745–60. Readers should note that the e20s at p. 758 are medians rather than means and comparison with p. 227 of Demografia shows the former to be consistently higher than the mean life expectancies.

37 Houdaille, J., ‘La noblesse française, 1600–1900’, Population 3 (1989), 506.

38 Le Bras, H. and Dinet, D., ‘Mortalité des laïcs et mortalité des religieux: les Bénédictins de St-Maur aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles’, Population 35 (1980), 356,Vandenbroeke, J. P. (‘Survival and expectation of life from the 1400s to the present: a study of the Knighthood Order of the Golden Fleece’, American Journal of Epidemiology 122 (1985), 1007–16) analyses members of the European nobility. Results are presented in a form not easily comparable with other studies. Expectations of life for Knights at age 20 are, very approximately, 33 years for the fifteenth-century, 28 years for the sixteenth century, 31 years for the seventeenth century and 42 for the eighteenth century.

39 Finlay, R. A. P., Population and metropolis: the demography of London, 1580–1650 (Cambridge, 1981), 2150.

40 Rappaport, S., Worlds within worlds: structures of life in sixteenth-century London (Cambridge, 1989), 69.

41 Wrigley, E. A. and schofield, R. S., The population history of England, 1541–1871: a reconstruction (London, 1981), 250.

42 Perrenoud, , ‘L'inégalité sociale’, 222.

43 Eversley, D. E. C., ‘The demography of the Irish Quakers, 1650–1850’, in Goldstrom, J. A. and Clarkson, L. A. eds., Irish population, economy, and society (Oxford, 1981), 5961, 82–5.

44 Landers, J., ‘Age patterns of mortality in London during the “long eighteenth century”: a test of the “high potential” model of metropolitan mortality’, Social History of Medicine 3 (1990), 2760. The ‘mid-range’ estimate in Table 5 may be slightly optimistic because of the nature of the statistical algorithm used to calculate it.

45 Hatcher, ‘Mortality’, 28.

46 Dobson, M. J., ‘Mortality gradients and disease exchanges: comparisons between old England and colonial America’, Social History of Medicine 2 (1989), 259–97; Dobson, M. J., ‘The last hiccup of the old demographic regime’, Continuity and Change 4 (1989), 395428; Walter, J. and Schofield, R. S., ‘Introduction’ in Walter, J. and Schofield, R. S. eds., Famine, disease and the social order in early modern society (Cambridge, 1989); Post, J. D., Food shortage, climatic variability, and epidemic disease in preindustrial Europe. The mortality peak in the early 1740s (Ithaca, 1985).

47 Alter, G., ‘Plague and the Amsterdam annuitant: a new look at life annuities as a source for historical demography’, Population Studies 37 (1983), 38.

48 Ibid., 38; Henry, , Anciennes familIes, 183.

49 Flinn, , Scottish population, 133–49.

50 Slack, P., The impact of plague in Tudor and Stuart England (London, 1985).

51 Alter, , ‘Plague’, 34–5; Schofield, R. S., ‘An anatomy of an epidemic: Colyton, November 1645 to November 1646’, in The plague reconsidered. A new look at its origins and effects in 16th and 17th century England, Local Population Studies supplement (1977), 111, 115Finlay, , Population, 111–32.

52 Schofield, , ‘Anatomy’, 118–19.

53 Henry, , Anciennes families, 183.

54 Alter, , ‘Plague’, 38.

55 Youngson, A. J., The making of classical Edinburgh (Edinburgh, 1966), 14.

56 ECA, Edinburgh charity workhouse minutes, Vol. 2, 183.

57 Porter, R., Disease, medicine and society in England, 1550–1860 (London, 1987).

58 Walter and Schofield, ‘Introduction’, 68; Riley, J. C., The eighteenth-century campaign to avoid disease (London, 1987).

59 Walter, and Schofield, , ‘Introduction’, 68.

60 Flinn, , Scottish population, 115, 158, 163–4.

61 Ibid., 164.

62 Blayo, Y., ‘La mortalité en France de 1740 à 1860’, Population 30 (1975) special number, 123–40.

63 Phillipson, , ‘Lawyers’, 100.

64 Zanetti, , Demografia, 216Henry, , Anciennes families, 153.

65 Anderson, M., Population change in north-western Europe, 1750–1850 (London, 1988), 57; Perrenoud, , ‘Mortalité’, 223–5; Houston, R. A., The population history of Britain and Ireland, 1500–1750 (London, 1992).

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