Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/721

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increase may be approximated is exhibited by the London tables, according to which the estimated population of that city on April 2, 1871, was 3,247,631; while the decennial census completed on the same night gave the number of the inhabitants as 3,251,804—a difference of only about four thousand in three and a quarter millions—one almost inappreciable in the calculation of percentages.

To the casual thinker, statistics of marriage might seem of little consequence. But, in fact, the deductions from a review of marriage-returns are of positive value not only to the moral philosopher, but to the political economist as well. The relations of marriage to various industries—to mining, agriculture, trade, commerce—in a word, to the material prosperity of a people—have been well established by statistics. A decided diminution in the marriage-rate of a community within a given period of time is an unerring indication that war or pestilence, or commercial crisis, or other great disturbing force, has rendered the necessaries of life clear, and occupation difficult to procure. The various forms of marriage—the numbers of bachelors, widowers, spinsters, and widows, united in wedlock; the tendency to early or late marriages among certain classes and peoples; the condition of elementary education as indicated by the proportion of men and women capable of signing their names to marriage-documents; the effect of a demand for skilled labor upon the proportion of early marriages; the relations between waste of life and proportions of marriages and births in towns as contrasted with rural districts; the influence of the marriage-rate on morality; the ratio of marriages to births, and its conformity to density and character of population, and to industrial pursuits—all of these considerations furnish assuredly social problems of deep and constantly increasing importance to civilization.



THE New-World pioneers of the sixteenth century, when they first looked on the sea-worn shores and giant forests of New England, had in reality no compelling reason for believing in the veritable old age of this new-found land. They had no "first order of proof" that the shores were not recently upheaved there for them to land upon, and with the growth of the centuries on them for the trial of the manhood that was soon to reclaim them. But I think those sturdy adventurers, if they stopped at all to consider of scientific doubts, were not long in deciding that the scene before them was conformable to the laws and processes of Nature, and therefore must have been the slow growth of time.