other pursuits, while the latter has only about one tenth as many employed on the farm as are engaged in other pursuits.
Maine has the largest number of any State engaged in agriculture—about one third of her whole population—and she at the same time possesses the greatest amount of territory to cultivate. New Hampshire has half as many engaged in agriculture as in all other occupations; Connecticut has one fourth, and Rhode Island only one tenth. The whole number in New England engaged in agriculture was 301,765, and in other pursuits, 1,268,116—more than four times as many. In 1870 the proportion was one to three.
A comparison of this table (1880) with that in the census of 1870 shows a far greater increase in the class of professional persons than in that of any other occupation or pursuit. The census of 1870 reports only 145,324, while the census of 1880 reports 349,984 persons. This increase is found in every State, though in some States greater than in others. Whether this great increase of professional persons in ten years is an indication of an improved state of society or not, is a question upon which there might be differences of opinion.
It is well understood that, fifty years ago, farming constituted the principal occupation of New England; but, instead of maintaining its position, with a greatly increased population, it has fallen far behind other pursuits. The great additions made to her people have been absorbed in trade, in manufactures, and mechanical business. In considering this exchange of agriculture for other pursuits, a question of great interest arises: What is to be its effect upon physical organization and the permanent prosperity of a people?
No fact is more firmly established than that agricultural pursuits are the most healthy of all, and that those engaged in them transmit physical development in its best estate. All experience proves that an exclusive city population tends gradually to degenerate physically, and that the stock can not be kept good from generation to generation.
It is well understood that the only conservative power that can prevent this degeneracy in cities is that their population shall be constantly replenished by recruits from the country. But it should be borne in mind that the places in the country made vacant by those removals are soon occupied by a different race of people, and that this foreign element is pretty likely to increase more and more in the farming districts of New England.
Supposing this change should generally take place in the country districts, how is the purely American stock to improve or be kept good? It can be done only by an intermingling of the races, which is even questionable.
Change in Birth-Rate.—There is no one agency so closely connected with the vital interests of a people as the matter of the birthrate. In the history of nations this has always been considered a