Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/54

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three epidemics, which were quite limited. The cause of this loss of population can not arise from any external condition or agents, but from some law growing out of and governing the physical system. It is well known that certain diseases, resulting from licentiousness and intemperance, have been brought by foreigners to these islands, causing a physical degeneracy in the people. So powerful and far reaching are the effects of these diseases that neither the family, nor education, nor Christianity, can eradicate them. The law of propagation has been violated to such an extent that it threatens the extinction of that people.

The laws of hereditary descent afford strong evidence in favor of some general law of propagation. The fact that "like begets like," subject to certain variations and conditions, can not be called in question. The union of two agents, possessing similar and dissimilar qualities, constitutes an important condition to which this law of propagation is subject. While it may be difficult to point out, in all cases, the exact results of hereditary influences, still it has been demonstrated on a large scale that, in the aggregate, there was the most unquestionable evidence of such agency, and that it was minute and extensive, and continued for successive generations. Now, the same evidence that proves the existence of hereditary agency, implies that there is somewhere a general law, of which each and every part of this agency is part and parcel; and no one thing will throw so much light upon this whole subject of inheritance as the recognition of a general law of propagation, based upon a perfect standard in nature. Without such acknowledgment, all these hereditary agencies are an enigma. When this branch of physiology becomes thoroughly understood, hereditary influences will more readily be traced back to their primary sources, as well as to the secondary causes which serve at times to change and modify them. In this case, far more intelligent and efficient means will be employed to improve the race.

Again: powerful arguments in favor of this theory of increase may be deduced from woman's organization. It is a settled fact that the primary organism of her nature is the production of children—that by this course her average health is better, and the mean duration of life is longer. Hence there must be one type or standard of organization better adapted for this purpose than all others. We maintain that the perfect structure of her whole body and the harmony of function in every organ constitute this normal standard of increase. The truth of this assertion, we believe, can be demonstrated from four distinct points—all most intimately connected with human increase: 1. In case of pregnancy a woman with this organization suffers the least. It is well known that this change frequently brings on many complaints, and sometimes serious diseases. The more the body or certain organs deviate from the normal standard, the greater the disturbance and suffering. 2. At the time of confinement, or in the process of de-