In a comparison of the white and colored increase, the side of color has no offset equivalent to the advantage of immigration for the other side. The only thing in the form of such offset is marrying across the color-line, already referred to. When a white woman marries a colored man, she virtually migrates as a wife and mother, and her children and descendants for ever after count on the colored side. This is taking place to a certain extent—to a very limited extent, it is true; but, as small a matter statistically as it appears to be, the census should put it on record for comparison hereafter. Native children of foreign parentage are designated, and colored children of white mothers should also be designated. The prejudice is at present very strong against such unions; but that prejudice may gradually weaken, and cases of the kind may multiply. This tendency is worthy of note for its significance on the future psychology of the American people. If to the rapid multiplication of the colored population is to be added an accession through white motherhood, the increase of the colored over the white must be accelerated, unless prevented by counteracting influences not at present in existence. And, when in this connection we contemplate the increasingly slow multiplication of the people of highest civilization in our country, the prospect for the future is not an optimistic one.
Very great subjects can only be touched upon, not treated, here. Why is it that the native whites of the North are multiplying so much more slowly, not only than the colored, but even than the Southern whites? Simply because of the possession of greater wealth and culture. It was different early in the century, when the descendants of the Puritans and Dutch stood on a "lower" grade in the struggle of life. Families were larger then. The possession of wealth and education is a surer check on population than the famous "positive checks" of Malthus—"wars, plagues, and famine." They are surer and greater, because they act without intermission. I do not shrink from stating the fact, unpleasant as it may be. I am aware that Knox, Clibborne, Schade, Kapp, and others, refer the slow increase of American natives they do not discriminate between Northern and Southern—to the effects on the European stock of an uncongenial climate. This is an a priori fancy which is entitled to no particular consideration, since it is as wholly without support as that other a priori fancy, that the descendants of Europeans in this country are gradually turning into a sort of red Indians.
There is, perhaps, no law of human history better assured than this: that, with high civilization and the long enjoyment of wealth, culture, and the luxury and dissipation which are sure to accompany them, population increases more slowly, in time to become stationary, and at last decline and succumb to younger and more vigorous peoples, who have been hardened in the conflicts of poverty and rough fare. Roscher, the German economist, states this profound truth: